Making movies. Enjoying movies. Remembering movies.
William & Alexandria Kallay
"Cinderella" was Walt Disney's return to extraordinary feature-length animation. Released in 1950, the film became a much-needed hit to put the Disney name back on the film world's map. During World War II, the studio made a number of propaganda films for the U.S. Government in order to survive. Disney's earlier efforts, "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" (both 1940) and "Bambi" (1942), didn't perform as hoped for at the box office. Though the studio still produced a number of animated shorts and animated anthologies, most were not of the same quality as Disney's best efforts. But it was "Cinderella" that returned the studio to prominence. It was also the start of a fruitful decade of success which saw the launch of Walt Disney onto our television screens, the construction of Disneyland, and the release of classics like "Peter Pan" and "Sleeping Beauty," just to name a few.
Fifty-five years later, the film has been restored and will run at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood September 15-25, 2005.
On the first night of this special engagement, Disney invited some of the "Cinderella" cast and Disney animators, plus the film's restoration heads, to a Q & A panel before the film began.
Ilene Woods (Cinderella), Lucille Bliss (Anastasia), June Foray (Lucifer), John Lowry (DTS Digital Images), Dave Bossert (Walt Disney Animation Special Projects), Andreas Deja (animator), Ollie Johnston (the Wicked Stepsisters) and local television host Ross King (KTLA) graced the stage. Each of the actors related stories of being cast in "Cinderella," and also held Walt Disney in high regard. Deja showed the audience pencil drawings of the original concept of how Cinderella looked in the early stages of production, and he also asked Johnston about his involvement in the film. Johnston is the sole survivor of Disney's original "Nine Old Men," masters of the studio's glory years of animation.
Undertaken by Disney and DTS Digital Images, under the supervision of Dave Bossert and John Lowry, the film has been restored for both 35mm film and digital presentation. The frame-by-frame (at 4K resolution) process of cleaning and color restoration took the team over 10,000 "man hours" to complete, and the end-result is spectacular. The digital presentation at the El Capitan shows color, shadow detail and resolution not seen before on this film. The soundtrack has been re-mixed for 5.1 digital surround sound and sounds very good. Disney, especially on its animated features during the 1930s-1950s, recorded and mixed remarkably clean monophonic soundtracks.
Despite the "re-premiere" being a smaller affair than usual for the folks at Disney (this time, Hollywood Blvd. was not closed down to two lanes), the hospitality of the Disney staff was excellent. I thank my intrepid cub reporter, Alexandria, again for joining me.
The audience responded to each and every memorable scene with delight, surprise and cheering as if this was the film's original premiere. "Cinderella" still holds an audience captive, both young and old.
The 2-Disc Special Platinum Edition DVD will be released October 4, 2005. Stay tuned for a review.
Special Thanks To Mac McLean, Jeff Kaplan and Alexandria Kallay
All photos © 2005 William Kallay. All rights reserved
Copyright 2005 From Script To DVD. All rights reserved.
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