Tag Archives: Anastasia

Cinderella “Sing Sweet Nightingale” (1950)

Evolution of Disney: Cinderella Part 1

Cinderella “Sing Sweet Nightingale” (1950)

Anastasia and Drizella are taking music lessons from their mother and we are “treated” to the sound of Drizella’s…..talents….followed in contrast by Cinderella’s take on the same melody. This song is special because in it, Walt Disney pioneered the use of double tracked vocals (years before the Beatles did the same thing). A double tracked vocal is when you record an artist singing a song, then record it again and have the artist sing in harmony with the first recording. Ilene Woods did this at least four times, to create a four part harmony with her own voice, and the results are spectacular.

Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Sing sweet nightingale
High above me
Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Sing sweet nightingale

High above
Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Sing sweet nightingale, high
Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Sing sweet nightingale
Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Sing sweet
Oh, sing sweet nightingale, sing
Oh, sing sweet nightingale
Oh, sing sweet
Oh, sing

One of my favorite animations in Cinderella comes when all the different “bubble Cinderellas” sing together. This song also highlights Cinderella’s beautiful singing voice (in comparison to the Drizella’s singing voice and Anastasia’s questionable ability on the flute). You know I think this scene is further proof that Lady Tremaine is completely blind to the realities of her daughters. Anyone with half an ear can see that these two have no musical talent whatsoever, but does Lady Tremaine chastise them for being off-key? Nope!

Like most of the scenes in Cinderella, this scene was also filmed in live action before it was animated and I love looking at the picture of the actresses playing Drizella and Anastasia because it’s almost exactly like the final animated version.

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Let me know what you think about “Sing Sweet Nightingale” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Cinderella “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (1950)

Cinderella “The Work Song/Cinderelly, Cinderelly” (1950)

Cinderella “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” (1950)

Cinderella “So This is Love” (1950)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)

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There’s no denying that Cinderella goes through some pretty awful things before her happily ever after. Her father dies; she’s treated like a servant in her own home; Lady Tremaine (her stepmother) seems determined to make sure that Cinderella gets nothing while Anastasia and Drizella (her daughters) get everything. Knowing all of this, it’s surprising when, after receiving the invitation to the royal ball, Lady Tremaine agrees that Cinderella can go, provided she has a suitable dress of course. Even as a child I knew that something horrible was coming, but it never stopped me from being shocked and upset at what happens to poor Cinderella.

As I’ve related earlier, while Cinderella is worked ragged getting her stepsisters ready for the ball, her mice and bird friends work together to brighten up a dress that belonged to Cinderella’s mother. This involves using a sash and necklace that Anastasia and Drizella threw away (but keep in mind Cinderella doesn’t know this). Finally, as the others are leaving for the ball, Cinderella races down the stairs to join them, much to their surprise.

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Lady Tremaine is nothing but a woman of her word…but she can’t help pointing out a few of the details on the dress, such as the necklace (which you know she recognized as her daughter’s) saying “These beads, they make just the right touch. Don’t you think so Drizella?”

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These words serve as the trigger for the disturbing portion of this scene and I must say for a long time I wasn’t able to watch this part of the film at all. Having gone through a lot of bullying as a child and teenager, seeing Cinderella basically get attacked by her stepsisters brought back a lot of painful memories, as I’m sure it does for a lot of people watching this scene. But getting back to the scene…Drizella is halfway through an insult when she realizes the necklace belonged to her, prompting her to call Cinderella a thief and rip the necklace away. Of course Cinderella doesn’t understand why Drizella is upset, she had no idea the necklace belonged to her. And upon further inspection, Anastasia realizes the sash belonged to her so she rips it away and everything devolves into a frenzy, with the two sisters ripping Cinderella’s dress apart while Lady Tremaine just watches with a smug look on her face. It’s hard to tell what Drizella and Anastasia are saying, but one line has always jumped out at me: just before Lady Tremaine stops the torment, Drizella gets right in Cinderella’s face and yells “You ungrateful little-”

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Ungrateful?? This is one of the most delusional lines I’ve ever heard. Cinderella waits on her stepsisters hand and foot and just because she wants to attend the ball in a homemade dress, that makes her ungrateful? Not to mention they’re only living in this beautiful mansion because Lady Tremaine married Cinderella’s father, I suspect the house belongs to Cinderella by right. This is just abuse, plain and simple.

What bugs me also is why Lady Tremaine lets them do this. She could have very easily just told Cinderella “No, you’re not going, I lied” and then left. No, she clearly wants Cinderella to suffer as well for no reason, which really puts her up there with the worst of the Disney villains.

In the end, of course, the dress, her mother’s dress, probably one of the few things of her mother Cinderella has left, is in ruins. Satisfied that her stepdaughter won’t be going anywhere, Lady Tremaine ushers her daughters out and smugly wishes Cinderella “good night.” Even though this directly leads into Cinderella meeting the Fairy Godmother and getting her beautiful gown, I can barely stand to watch this scene for the reasons previously mentioned. It puts you on an emotional roller coaster that is hard to get away from.

What do you think about the scene where Cinderella’s dress is torn apart by her stepsisters? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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See also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

Disturbing Disney #20: Quasimodo is crowned ‘King of Fools’ (1996)

Anastasia “Once Upon a December” (1997)

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The glittering world of the Russian Imperial Family came crashing down almost 100 years ago, when Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, he and his family were arrested, and later summarily executed. The ultimate fates of the Tsar, his wife, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and the crown prince Alexei were left unknown for decades, which gave rise to rumors and stories that some of the family had survived after all. The most well known story is that of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Nicholas II. Rumors persisted for decades that the Grand Duchess had survived execution and was out there in the world somewhere. While ultimately disproven when the family’s remains were discovered in 1991, the story continued to be told both on screen and on stage.

Don Bluth’s 1997 film Anastasia is one such recounting. It imagines a world where, while attempting to flee on a train with her grandmother Marie (played to perfection by Angela Lansbury), Anastasia falls and strikes her head, losing all memory as well as being left behind. Not knowing who she is, she grows up in poverty, with half-remembered songs and images her only clues as to where she came from. Anastasia is a musical film (and is sometimes confused for a Disney film) and my favorite song has to be “Once Upon a December.”

 

In it, Anastasia is exploring an abandoned palace while looking for Dmitri (a former servant boy who is now working with a con man to find a “fake” Anastasia to claim a large reward) and she reminisces over her fragmented memories.

Dancing bears, painted wings,

Things I almost remember.

And a song someone sings,

Once upon a December.

Someone holds me safe and warm,

Horses prance through a silver storm,

Figures dancing gracefully,

Across my memory

Anastasia’s words conjure up a spectral ball as ghostly figures descend from the ceiling to take part in a dance, all dressed in the finery and glamour of the lost Imperial Russia. The royal family comes to “life” as well, with Anastasia’s four sisters dancing around her before finding partners. Anastasia, in the meantime, transforms into the grown-up princess she should have become, dancing with a partner of her own while her father strides onto the dance floor, all bowing to him (while her mother and brother wait in the background. As the song winds down, Anastasia and Nicholas share a brief dance before the magic is shattered and the figures vanish.

Someone holds me safe and warm.

Horses prance through a silver storm.

Figures dancing gracefully.

Across my memory..

Far away,long ago.

Glowing dim as an ember,

Things my heart used to know,

it yearns to remember.

And a song someone sings,

Once upon a December

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I like to think of this song (and the scene as a whole) as being an homage of sorts to the old world of royalty, balls, and Imperial courts that was irrevocably broken after the First World War. It was an age of palaces, princes and princesses, nobles beyond count that had lasted for over a thousand years, and it will never come again, except in our memories.

This scene really is one of the best in the film, and I hope you enjoy watching and listening.

For more awesome animated songs (Disney and otherwise), check out the awesome main page here

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