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Now at the end of part 1 we saw that the mice and birds during their “Work Song” had made a beautiful dress for Cinderella to wear to the ball. Now the moment to leave has arrived and Cinderella believes Lady Tremaine is going to stick to her promise of letting her go to the ball. What follows is my least favorite scene in all of Disney (because I can imagine all too well what it would feel like to be Cinderella as her mother’s dress is ripped to shreds.) I’m including it though because it’s a direct lead-in to one of the cutest Disney songs ever written.
Cinderella “The Dress Tearing Scene”
Poor Cinderella has finally reached her breaking point and just when she is on the verge of giving up all hope, *POOF* here is her Fairy Godmother! And with the power of magic, Cinderella will be able to go to the ball after all! Listening to this song brings back all the good memories of childhood. The melody practically bounces from one note to the next, this is because the primary melody is a string of triplets (groups of three notes, see the number three under or above each group, that signifies a triplet.) Also, it’s really fun to try and say the nonsense words!
Of course, with any bit of magic, there is always a catch: the spell that created her carriage, her dress and everything else, will break at the last stroke of midnight “and all will be as it was before.” Essentially, the Fairy Godmother is giving Cinderella her one chance to make her dreams come true, so she needs to make the most of it.
In her new carriage, Cinderella finally arrives at the castle where the ball is already underway. The Prince stands at the head of a receiving line where every single maiden is being presented to him. Cinderella (in her sparkling Christian Dior-inspired dress, no seriously!!) arrives and attracts the attention of everyone, particularly the Prince, who brushes right by Cinderella’s stepsisters and asks her for a dance. This leads to “So This is Love” also known as “The Cinderella Waltz.” Unlike Snow White’s songs, Cinderella isn’t exactly singing while she dances, the words reflect her thoughts as she dances with the man of her dreams. While this love scene goes on, several things happen at once. The King orders the Grand Duke to give the couple some privacy (as he is desperate to see his son married) and Lady Tremaine becomes suspicious about who this mysterious young lady is. But before she can get a closer look, the Grand Duke shuts the curtain and doesn’t let her get any closer to the pair.
Cinderella “So this is Love” (1950)
In terms of tone (and placement in the film), “So This is Love” is Cinderella’s equivalent to “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Both are waltzes, and both come not long before the climax of the story. The song ends and the couple is clearly in love, but just as things are getting interesting, the clock begins to strike midnight! This is the part that always confused me. If they are truly in love (and the Prince may marry any eligible maiden he chooses), what does it matter if the spell breaks and Cinderella’s dress goes away? Nevertheless, all films must have that dramatic moment so as the clock chimes Cinderella flees in her coach, closely pursued by the palace guards.
But just as she reaches the house, the clock chimes midnight, the carriage breaks apart, and Cinderella is left in rags once more, but she still retains a single glass slipper (the other was left behind on the palace steps). This leads the King to instigate a kingdom-wide search: the maiden whose foot can wear the glass slipper will be the Prince’s bride. Back at the Tremaine house, Cinderella is still half in dream-land over her night with the Prince, but her step-family doesn’t suspect that she was there (not yet anyway). When Lady Tremaine announces to her stepdaughters that a messenger from the Prince is coming, Cinderella drops her tray in shock. Then, as she picks up the dishes and heads back to the kitchen, she absentmindedly begins to hum the tune from the waltz last night. Recognizing it, Lady Tremaine realizes that somehow, Cinderella was that girl at the ball last night!
Determined to make one of her daughters the future Queen, Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella in her room and, when that ultimately fails, trips the footman so that the glass slipper shatters. But then Lady Tremaine is in for a shock: Cinderella has the other slipper!
So Cinderella gets her happily ever after despite her evil stepmother! The last shot we see is of Cinderella and the Prince sharing a kiss as the carriage rides off (with a choral refrain of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”)
I know this one was shorter than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but next time I will be looking at Sleeping Beauty. I hope you enjoyed reading about Cinderella and please feel free to leave a comment (or two!)
*Everything is copyright to Walt Disney Co.