Cinderella, Cinderella, Night and Day it's Cinderella
October 27, 2011 9:09 PM   Subscribe

You probably know the Perrault version. And chances are, you haven’t been able to escape the Disney version. Maybe you know the slightly-darker Grimm version, or even the original story of Yeh-Shen. Maybe you’re a fan of musicals, and love Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella or Sondheim’s Into the Woods. But chances are, there’s a bit about this classic story you don’t know yet…

Cinderella is Aarn-Thompson type 510A (previously), which is:
510 -Cinderella and Cap o' Rushes. The Persecuted Heroine. a) The heroine is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and (a1) stays on the hearth or in the ashes and (a2) is dressed in rough clothing b) flees in disguise from her father who wants to marry her, or (c) is cast out by him because she has said that she loved him like salt or (d) is to be killed by a servant. Magic Help. While she is acting as servant she is advised, provided for, and fed (a) by her dead mother, (b) by a tree on the mother's grave, or (c) by a supernatural being or (d) by birds, or (e) by a goat, sheep or cow. (f) When the animal is killed, there springs up from her remains a magic tree. Meeting the Prince. a) She dances in beautiful clothing several times with a prince who seeks in vain to keep her, or she is seen by him in church. (b) She gives hints of the abuse she has endured as servant girl, or (c) she is seen in her beautiful clothing in her room or in the church. Proof of Identity. (a) She is discovered through the slipper-test or (b) through a ring which she throws in to the prince's drink or bakes in his bread. (c) She alone is able to pluck the gold apple desired by the knight. Marriage with the Prince. Value of Salt. Her father is served unsalted food and thus learns the meaning of her earlier answer. 510A - Cinderella The two stepsisters.The stepdaughter at the grave of her mother, who helps her.Three-fold visit to church (dance).Slipper test. 510B - The Dress of Gold, of Silver, and of Stars. (Cap o' Rushes). Present of the father who wants to marry his own daughter. The maiden as servant of the prince, who throws various objects at her.The three-fold visit to the church and the forgotten shoe. Marriage. Or here for even more in-depth.
There are over 345 folk tales that fall under this classification. Various versions include Cenerentola (Italian), The Maiden and the Fish (Portuguese), The Hearth Cat (also Portuguese), the Bulgarian Cinderella, Pepelyouga(Serbian), Papalluga; or, The Golden Slipper (also Serbian),The Wicked Stepmother (Kashmir), The
Story of the Black Cow
(Himalayan), Sodewa Bai (Southern India), The Little Gold Shoe (North Smâland), Conkiajgharuna, the Little Rag Girl (Georgian) , The Wonderful Birch (Russian),The Story of Tam and Cam(Vietnam), Katie Woodencloak (Norwegian) Fair, Brown, and Trembling (Irish), The Sharp Grey Sheep (Gaelic), RushenCoatie (English), Rashin-Coatie (Scottish),The Girl Clad in Mouse-Skin (Danish),The Green Knight (also Danish),or the Micmacor indigenous Canadian version. Some people see King Lear as a Cinderella variant.

And then there’s the modern retellings.There have been plenty of stories retelling the Cinderella myth. Louisa May Alcott (of Little Women fame) had A Modern Cinderella:or, The Little Old Shoe: How it was Lost. Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie wrote the creatively-named “Cinderella.” Or how about Tanith Lee’s evil Cinderella (she also did an epistolary short story entitled “The Reason For Not Going To The Ball (A Letter To Cinderella From Her Stepmother)”) Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted (brief
discussion of her inspiration
) was popular enough to spawn a movie version (trailer).Mercedes Lackey has done a couple of versions (excerpts available at links). Or Jim Hines’ The Stepsister Scheme (preview).Gregory Maguire of Wicked fame did his own
take, with book and movie; Phillip Pullman had hisown book and television series, whimsically entitled I Was a Rat!Chick-lit is an obvious direction to take the Cinderella story, such as Jane Heller’s Princess Charming. Napoli’s Boundis a bit more serious take on the Chinese version of the tale.

If poetry is more your thing, there’s: Anne Sexton’s poem “Cinderella” , Jane Yolen’s “Fat is not a Fairy Tale,” Barbara Hamby’s “"Achtung My Princess, Good Night"Estha Weiner’s "Transfiguration Begins at Home", Ingrid Wendt’s "Cinderella Dream at Ten", Russell Edson’s "Cinderella's Life at the Castle" (scroll down), Margarita Engle’s “A Cuban Cinderella”, Enid Dame’s “Cinderella," (mildly nsfw), Olga Broumas' "Cinderella," Emma Bull’s “The Stepsister’s Story,” Denise Duhamel’s "The Ugly Stepsister" (also has a clip of the author reading), Guy Wetmore Carryl’s “How Fair Cinderella Disposed of Her Shoe,” Barbara Crooker’s “Masquerade” with, for some reason, piano and soprano, Caroline Hazard’s “Cinderella,” Henry Lawson’s “Cinderella,” Vachel Lindsay's “Parvenu,” Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt's “Questions of the Hour,” Sarah Helen Whitman’s “Cinderella,” the always popular children’s poets Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein had “Cinderella” and “In Search of Cinderella” respectively, Miroslav Holub’s “Cinderella,” Randall Jarrell’s “Cinderella” Yusef Komunyakaa’s "Cinderella at Big Sur" (google books), Ellen Kushner’s “Sonata: For Two Friends in Different Times of the Same Trouble,” Stephen Mitchell’s “Cinderella,” Sylvia Plath’s “Cinderella,” Tennessee Reed’s “Disney’s Cinderella” (google books), Elizabeth Maddox Robert’s “Cinderella’s Song” and Judith Viorst’s “And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella's Foot.”

Of course, the version most people are familiar with wasn't written down—it was animated. But it’s hardly the only animated take on old Cindy. There's the old Betty Boop cartoon or maybe a Popeye short. Tex Avery’s “Swing Shift Cinderella” (video) You can get hooked on phonics with Cinderelephant. Or, for those of a more Christian bent, Adventures in the Book of Virtues. Rocky and Bullwinkle did a fractured fairy tale version in Episode 15 of Season 1, though unfortunately no link. Technically not animated, but there's the lesser known muppet classic Hey Cinderella!

If live action movies are more your métier, there's plenty to choose from there as well. The earliest I could find was the 1899 “Cinderella” by Georges Melies. Or perhaps the 1912 Cendrillon ou la Pantoufle merveilleuse , based on the 1879 play by Henry Monnier (Wikipedia). Then there was Cinder-Elfred in 1914 (for which there is almost zero information), followed in 1917 by The Cigarette Girl (not to be confused with the 2009 Cigarette Girl, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Cinderella.) Then there's Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette film Aschenputtel (UK only film here) (more about the amazing Lotte Reiniger and some of her other films here); 1937, Pierre Caron1. The 1952 April in Paris (trailer) starring Doris Day has its Cinderella moments2. The Bogart/Gardner The Barefoot Contessa continues the foot-fetish-fun with a meta kind of twist (clip) (the Food Network star took her name from the movie, but her show has nothing to do with Cinderella). The 1983 Bristlelip is a bit of a reverse-Cinderella based on the Grimms’ King Thrushbeard, and the 1984 Bearskin by the same director combines elements of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the lesser known Donkeyskin by Perrault. Ever After, with Da Vinci as an unconventional fairy god-father, remains popular, as does the television miniseries The 10th Kingdom (trailer). Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray do the teen movie version.For a more Appalachian bent, try Ashpet. Or maybe you prefer a New Zealand bush setting. Or perhaps a Celtic Dance (part B, C, and D)? Then there’s the Russian Zulushka, directed by Nadezhda Kosheverova, and Mikhail Shapiro (clip), or the Czech Three Nuts for Cinderella. Or maybe you’re a huge fan of 50s “educational” videos, in which case “Cindy Goes to a Party” might scratch that highly-specific itch.

Some Cinderella stories are harder to spot, especially when they decide to make everything go wrong. Some people (google books) see Stephen King’s Carrie as a dark version of Cinderella: “With the exception of the glass slipper, King has retained the essential elements of the classic fairy tale in his version of ‘Cinderella’: familial discord, peer pressure, and sexuality with its bloody connotations.”

Or how about Opera? Michael William Balfe’s The Bohemian Girl ( libretto; photos) is loosely based on the Cinderella story. It has gone through many incarnations, including a Laurel and Hardy film in 1936 (TCM Article; NYTimes Review). The most famous song from The Bohemian Girl is “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls,” which, to go down the literary rabbit hole even further, was used by James Joyce in “Eveline” and “Maria” in Dubliners. Or there's the Italian Opera by Rossini, La Cenerentola (Italian libretto; story and audio clip; video preview). There’s also a film version of the opera. Cenerentola ’80, despite the name, is not based on the opera, but does have some interesting music of its own. If you prefer your musical theater without singing, you could always go for the ballet Cinderella or a clip of the Moscow Festival Ballet.

And then there’s advertisements. The Disney Princesses, of course, but there have been some other, shall we say, less obvious uses of the Cinderella story to sell people stuff. Chevrolet, for example, had the 1936 advertising classic “A Coach for Cinderella.” Shoes are an obvious choice, for all that the shoes in question aren’t actually in the ad. I suppose pantyhose is also a somewhat logical choice for this 1980’s ad (youtube). Or hair products (though Rapunzel was even more logical). Or maybe what every princess wants to eat. A bizzare Cinderella themed advert for paint (youtube). Cinderella advertises for advertising. Fancy cappuccino, for when one princess isn’t enough. If not cappuccino, Cinderella is just a little naughty for fat free chocolate drink. Or then there's whatever they’re trying to sell here. Or hey, just go the NSFW route to sell… jewelry, I guess?

Of course, not everyone loves the prominence of the Cinderella story in our collective psyches. There have been plenty (video) of feminist critiques (pdf) (and more (doc) and more (pdf) here (pdf) and here (also previously)) some with a particular slant, such as Laura Miller’s analysis of how Cinderella affects the Japanese beauty industry. Or, if you prefer the scholarly “critical” as opposed to the “I don’t like this” critical, there's a wealth of analysis. Fransisco Vaz de Silva analyzes the similarity between the Cinderella story and Irish folktales of dragon slaying (pdf) and also elaborates on “symbolic themes in the European Cinderella cycle”. Wayne Schelp explores the Cinderella motif in Tibetian folklore (pdf).

If that isn't enough for you, have an obligatory tvtropes link, or Russell Peck's exhaustively in-depth Cinderella Biography

To finish up, enjoy some clips of small children enjoying Cinderella.

1. His next film was entitled The Buttock.
2. Not entirely relatedly, the title April in Paris is itself an homage to the classic Jazz song “April in Paris” which has had renditions done by such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Mel Torme, Ahmad Jamal, Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Frank Sinatra, Mary Kaye Trio, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, Glenn Miller, Doris Day, Alex Chilton, Tommy Dorsey, Blossom Dearie, Wynton Marsalis, Sal Viviano, and Dawn Upshaw. and Erroll Garner.
posted by kittenmarlowe (46 comments total) 176 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. Just simply wow.

Bravo. Brilliant post.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always wanted to read a story about how Cinderella's mother managed to secure her a Faerie godmother before her untimely demise.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I want to give you so many prizes and boons
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

son of a bitch DOAPE POAST
posted by beefetish at 9:17 PM on October 27, 2011

I love this. Fantastic. Now do Snow White! ;)
posted by gemmy at 9:17 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

On second reading, the fact that you haven't actually linked to performances of April In Paris by each person listed in your second footnote completely ruins the post. Mods, delete please!
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on October 27, 2011

Meh. I was expecting more links.

Just kidding. This is awesome. Very impressive work.
posted by hot_monster at 9:25 PM on October 27, 2011

Don't forget Jerry Lewis's Cinderfella.

On second thought, go ahead and forget it.
posted by eye of newt at 9:26 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

My God, it's full of links...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:26 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]

Great post, I can't wait to peruse the links. I was just thinking about older, darker, and weirder versions of fairy tales yesterday, and wondering where I could look some up.
posted by annsunny at 9:26 PM on October 27, 2011

Good Lord. Here I am, sittin' here mindin' me own business, and the thought hits me... "Hey." sez I, "I ain't checked MeFi for at least forty-five minutes... now lessee, m-e-t-a hmmm dot whut?" and what should I find myself starin' at but this veritable textbook?
Amazing. Thank you- I've got my readin' lined up fer several days, I guess!
posted by drhydro at 9:29 PM on October 27, 2011

Wow. Amazing post. Thank you so much.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:30 PM on October 27, 2011

You can't forget Robin McKinley's Deerskin
posted by jcrbuzz at 9:35 PM on October 27, 2011

posted by slackdog at 9:39 PM on October 27, 2011

The post contest is in December.
posted by benzenedream at 9:44 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Luckily, I have a day off Friday and can investigate some of these links...but, while teaching Sexton's poem a few days ago, I was surprised to learn that many teenagers are aware that the Disney versions (and even the versions I learned 50 years ago) have been sanitized from their gruesome originals. I'm assuming they learned this from the Internet, not books in the library.
posted by kozad at 9:59 PM on October 27, 2011

As well as Massenet (Video, Ruth Welting, 1979). And the obscure Viardot, notable not only as a chamber opera, but for being composed by a woman (Video, Student Recital). And the even more rarely performed Isouard (Excerpt from a 1957 German radio broadcast.) And La Cenicienta, a 1966 version meant to be performed entirely by children.
posted by jayb3369 at 10:02 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I were the OP's step-sister, I'd start running about now...
posted by pompomtom at 10:15 PM on October 27, 2011

Now drhydro, don't lie, we all know that it's impossible to go longer than 28 minutes without checking MeFi and around 17 seconds without thinking about checking.

Being serious though, my wife took a class on children's literature and has had a reason to look at fairy tales every year she was in a classroom for an extended period of time. It's amazing how those things just keep popping up year after year in something "new" and how little difference there is in each country/societal group's traditional version of the story.
posted by theichibun at 10:28 PM on October 27, 2011

Holy moley.
posted by mhoye at 10:38 PM on October 27, 2011

Woah, kittenmarlowe made the bread post as well.

That's... what... 150 links this week?
posted by UrbanEye at 12:25 AM on October 28, 2011

If I don't leap off the roof before the last part of January, I'll have then been coming here for five years. In that time, I do not think that I've seen a better organized post than this one, and few if any that have even close to the amount of information linked. And not just linked, but good links, using descriptive words to link them, no mystery meat links, a pet peeve here...

A spectacular post. I don't much give a damn about Cinderella but it caught my interest -- who'd have guessed there'd be so much behind it, who'd have guessed that it's more myth than fairy tale, in that it crossed all boundaries. Or maybe fairy tales are just myths in their work-a-day clothes, not dressed up in their finery as myths would be when they'd have been when out chatting it up with J. Campbell.

If I had my way, this one gets honorary December post consideration.

Great show, kittenmarlowe.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:58 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Great post!
posted by JHarris at 1:30 AM on October 28, 2011

My God, it's full of links...

damn you, beat me to it. ;)
posted by usagizero at 2:11 AM on October 28, 2011

This person seems to give a fuck.
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:57 AM on October 28, 2011

Ashpet is a very interesting take on it. I had first seen that broadcast in the middle of the night on a nosebleed cable station. They ran a whole series of reinterpreted Grimm fairy tales as part of a film school series from Davenport Films.
posted by plinth at 5:55 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

You had me at the fairy tale classification scheme, you know. Holy awesome overachiever, Batman.
posted by maudlin at 6:04 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

kittenmarlowe it has been at least a month since I have clicked on a metafilter userid page.

When I was five years old I had an evil step mother and my favorite fairy tale of all time is Cinderella. Noticing the differences Disney to Grimm was the the first comparative literature exercise of my life.
posted by bukvich at 6:29 AM on October 28, 2011

What a marvellous post. Great stuff. You missed my favourite Cinderella Story (Bill Murray in Caddyshack), but I think we can forgive you for that.

For the fans of Prokofiev's ballet, this Matthew Bourne adaptation, set in London during the Blitz, was great and formed the main attraction last Christmas at Sadler's Wells. Cinderella's Waltz from the original score is a great piece of music.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:47 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Every time I catch a whiff of some kind of old legend about an ancient lady who lives in a hollowed out apple in the woods and captures passers-by mixing milk with ground up teeth (or anytime I read an issue of Hellboy) I wish I had some kind of huge tome of messed up folklore that i could just study and study and study, so this post was work it just for the Aarn-Thompson and other folklore links alone. THANKS.
posted by SharkParty at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2011

Well now, I know what I'm doing this weekend.

I mean, all weekend.

*stocks provisions and flexes clicking and scrolling digits*

And, thank you - this is going to be a wonderful indulgence.
posted by peagood at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2011

kittenmarlowe, you are writing them faster than I can read them! I should say "slow down" but instead I'll say "keep it up".
posted by benito.strauss at 7:52 AM on October 28, 2011

First of all, incredible post.

As for my favorite Cinderalla, and favorite picture book of all time, it's Hilary Knight's version with deeply detailed illustrations and the most beautiful ball gown of all.
posted by CheeseLouise at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not so much a post as a page. Thanks for gathering together what looks like a fantastic collection of links.
posted by Mom at 8:59 AM on October 28, 2011

I can't believe no one's mentioned the old school hip-hop classic "Cinderfella" by Dana Dane yet:

I also can't believe there's no video for that song. Hello? Major missed opportunity there, 80's hip hop producers!
posted by lord_wolf at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2011

Whoa. Thank you for loving Metafilter.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2011

Glad someone mentioned ballet versions. You also forgot my favorite version, in the category of webcomics!
posted by eviemath at 11:05 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't forget Pratchett's Emberella...
posted by ironjelly at 11:20 AM on October 28, 2011

Blown. Away. Thank you.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:05 PM on October 28, 2011

S-so many links. What a great post, thanks!
posted by clavier at 1:42 PM on October 28, 2011

You can't forget Robin McKinley's Deerskin

Technically Deerskin wouldn't be included here, since it's a retelling of Donkeyskin (also!) which falls under the Aarne-Thompson category 510B (which Wikipedia claims includes Cap O'Rushes from 510A as well, but I'm fairly sure this is in error, since I don't recall that story involving any Unnatural Love).

Excuse me while I am filled with shame at my pedantry.
posted by clavier at 2:22 PM on October 28, 2011

Man, I was really hoping that Katie Woodencloak was going to end with an unexpected rejection of the prince (are there any versions of the story that do that?) Because seriously, when your happy ending is spending the rest of your life with this guy once he finally realizes you look pretty in a nice dress?

Out came the prince, and when he saw it was Katie, he tore the towel out of her hand, and threw it into her face.

"Pack yourself off, you ugly troll," he cried; "do you think I'd have a towel which you have touched with your smutty fingers?"

posted by EmilyClimbs at 5:37 PM on October 28, 2011

Thanks for a fantastic post.

One more Cinderella poem: Glass, Blood, and Ash by Catherynne Valente.
posted by creepygirl at 8:15 PM on October 28, 2011

Sorry if I missed it in your many wonderful links, but I also like Strabo's "Egyptian Cinderella," Rhodopis.
posted by rai at 8:40 PM on October 28, 2011

This post is amazing, and takes me right back to my undergraduate thesis, which was basically a marxist-feminist discussion about how the reversals of post-1950s American Cinderella movies (and Cinderella-story movies, like Pretty Woman and Maid in Manhattan) are not in fact reversals at all, and all about the rightful recognition of the heroine's innate nobility at the expense of her grasping, arriviste stepfamily (or Jason Alexander). Something something bourgeois something something antifeminist. This post is a lot more fun. Thanks, kittenmarlowe!
posted by kickingthecrap at 11:27 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wrote a term paper about Cinderella in my junior or senior year of high school, and didn't have half this much information. I am SO excited to see this post and all the excellent links. Awesome work.
posted by kellygrape at 7:29 AM on October 30, 2011

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