Cast & Crew
In a small European principality, the villagers happily prepare for the return of Prince Charles, who was sent away to school when he was a child. As the villagers decorate the town square, a shy young woman named Ella offers to help by cleaning up, but they spurn her, calling her "Cinderella" because of her dirty face and clothes. Dejected, Ella goes home and finds her beautiful but cruel stepsisters, Birdena and Serafina, primping for the prince's arrival. Angered by their taunting, Ella goes to her favorite spot, a secluded dell in the countryside. She is soon joined by a kindly old woman, Mrs. Toquet, who draws her into conversation. Ella confides that on the day of her birth, a fortune teller told her mother that Ella would someday live in a palace. Ella adds that her mother died when she was five, and Mrs. Toquet offers to be her friend. Ella returns home and asks her stepmother, Widow Sonder, about Mrs. Toquet. Widow Sonder replies that Mrs. Toquet was a grand lady before she became addled from reading so many books, and adds that the eccentric old woman is known for stealing things and putting them back later.
Meanwhile, at the palace, Charles' father, the duke, reminds his son that a ball is being thrown in his honor the following evening. Charles goes walking in the countryside with his good friend Kovin, and shares a memory that suddenly comes back to him: Years earlier, Charles was home for the holidays and observed a five-year-old girl weeping as a carriage drove away. Charles tells Kovin he has been haunted ever since by the memory of the girl's tragic face, adding that he has a weakness for women with an air of sadness about them. The two men relax in the sun by the dell, and Ella is annoyed to discover them in her secret place. Realizing that Ella does not know who Charles is, he and Kovin playfully tell her that they work in the palace. When Charles comments on Ella's sad eyes, she angrily pushes him into the water. Intrigued, the prince sends his valet and Kovin into town to inquire about Ella, and the villagers paint an unflattering picture of the unhappy girl.
When Ella later returns to the dell, she again encounters Charles. Still believing him to be the son of the palace cook, Ella apologizes for pushing him into the water, and they experience an immediate rapport. Charles gives Ella an invitation to the ball and teaches her how to dance, then kisses her. That night, Ella happily imagines herself in the palace kitchen with Charles, constructing an enormous wedding cake. The following evening, after Widow Sonder, Birdena and Serafina have left for the ball, Mrs. Toquet comes by and tells Ella she must attend the ball as well. She then gives Ella a gorgeous ball gown and shoes made of Venetian glass. Ella steps outside to find a splendid coach waiting, and Mrs. Toquet tells her she must leave the palace at midnight. Although she merely expects to spend the evening in the kitchen with "the son of the cook," Ella is shown into the ballroom, where her entrance causes every head to turn.
She is immediately surrounded by men wishing to dance with her, and she dances nervously but does not utter a word to any of her partners. Rumors begin to circulate about the mysterious beauty, and before long everyone believes the silent woman to be the Egyptian princess Tehara. When Charles finally approaches Ella, she is stunned to discover that he is the prince. Ella flees just as the clock begins to strike twelve and, in her haste, leaves behind one of her glass slippers. At the last stroke of midnight, the coach tips over, and Ella is left unconscious by the side of the road, next to a pumpkin and several mice. When Ella comes to, she is in her bed and Mrs. Toquet is tending to her. Pocketing a few objects on her way out, Mrs. Toquet assures Ella that the following day will be "interesting."
By morning, a rumor about Charles' plans to marry the "Egyptian princess" has spread throughout the land, and Ella, assuming this rumor to be true, weeps in despair. Gathering her few possessions, including the remaining glass slipper, Ella runs away from home and goes to the dell. She falls asleep, and awakens to find the prince standing over her. Charles slips the glass slipper on Ella's foot, and as they joyfully embrace, the villagers bow before their new princess.
Ballet De Paris
Mary Ellen Clemons
Arthur E. Arling
Daniel B. Cathcart
Edwin H. Knopf
Wesley C. Miller
Edwin B. Willis
The Glass Slipper
In keeping with developing psychological theories of the 1950s, poor little Ella (as explained in off-camera narration by an uncredited Walter Pidgeon) suffers from feelings of rejection that may have a lasting effect upon her psyche unless she soon finds love and acceptance. Eventually providing both, of course, is the suave Prince Charming -- in the unlikely person of Michael Wilding, who was, in real life, then married to MGM’s reigning glamour queen, Elizabeth Taylor. Wilding reportedly disliked having to prance about in white tights, and several critics pointed out that his discomfort was evident on the screen.
The Glass Slipper was the follow-up to the enormously popular Caron vehicle Lili (1953), which had won its star a Best Actress Oscar nomination and boasted the same distinguished list of collaborators: screenwriter Helen Deutsch, producer Edwin Knopf, director Charles Walters and composer Bronislau Kaper. This time choreographer Roland Petit and the Ballet de Paris were added to the mix, allowing Caron to display her impressive gifts as a dancer in such critically praised numbers as the "Kitchen Ballet" and the "Tehara Ballet."
Producer: Edwin Knopf
Director: Charles Walters
Screenplay: Helen Deutsch
Cinematography: Arthur E. Arling
Original Music: Bronislau Kaper
Art Direction: Daniel B. Cathcart, Cedric Gibbons
Editing: Ferris Webster
Costume Design: Walter Plunkett, Helen Rose
Principal Cast: Leslie Caron (Ella), Michael Wilding (Prince Charles), Keenan Wynn (Kovin), Estelle Winwood (Mrs. Toquet), Elsa Lanchester (Widow Sonder), Barry Jones (Duke), Amanda Blake (Birdena), Lisa Daniels (Serafina), Lurene Tuttle (Cousin Loulou), Liliane Montevecchi (Tehara).
by Roger Fristoe
The Glass Slipper
The son of cook in the palace of Dook.- Ella
The film includes intermittent voice-over narration by Walter Pidgeon. The New York Times review commented on the "modern psychological overtones" in the narration, which occasionally shed light on the reasons for the characters' behavior. According to an April 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, Finnish ballerina Taina Elg was to make her film debut as a dancer with Roland Petit's ballet company, but her appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter include Pepe DeChazza and Clive Morgan in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The Glass Slipper marked Estelle Winwood's first screen appearance since the 1937 RKO film Quality Street (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). Leslie Caron was a dancer in Petit's Ballets des Champs Elysées in Paris when she was given her first film role in An American in Paris (see entry above).
According to a July 24, 1967 Daily Variety news item, Daws Butler provided new narration when the film was aired on the ABC anthology television series Off to See the Wizard. The fairy tale "Cinderella" has inspired numerous film, television and stage adaptations. For information on other film versions of the fairy tale, see the entry for the 1950 Disney film Cinderella in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50.
Released in United States Spring April 1955
Released in United States Spring April 1955