Yes, it follows the basic premise of the Cinderella story that we are all familiar with – right? But it fleshes the characters out and gives them a back story. The Prince – Edward – is fleshed out characteristically and there is a subplot about political alliances, pushy parents and royal responsibility. He isn’t just there to save Cinderella. In a way, she is saving him, too.
It has a melee of somewhat cringey songs, but they made me chuckle. Among the dross there were certainly a couple of memorable songs – Gemma Craven particularly shone with her rendition of ‘Once I was Loved’, and ‘A Comforting Thing to Know’ was certainly a bit of fun to watch on a Friday morning, with the Prince and his best friend, John, dancing around the royal crypt. Some bits of the film were somewhat forgettable, though – the dancing mice, for one thing, and the somewhat stagey scenes in others.
But never mind. Gemma Craven was superb as Cinderella and seemed to have a bit more grit than the usual portrayal of Cinderella that we are used to. She seems like such a sweet character with a lot of heart, with the ability to forgive despite all that her nasty step-family had done to her.
Richard Chamberlain was passable as Edward. Plenty of comedy moments for him, whether it be understated or not. His character is clearly one in turmoil – he has to do his duty to the state and to his family, while also following his heart and wanting to marry for love and not convenience. The writers even had the gall (or bravery?) to touch on the issue of non-consummation. It is obliquely implied by Edward that if he has to marry one of the titled princesses (against his wish), he will not perform his duty beyond the altar. A brave move on behalf of the writers, but that only makes his issue of unrequiainted love and lost love even more real than in the atypical Cinderella story.
If Chamberlain and Craven were good, Michael Hordern in the role of the King was superb. His character had such wit, and he was clearly under his wife’s thumb and went along with things just because it was the done thing – even if he was King! He is not a perfect character, but still a good solid character none the less.
That being said, I wasn’t a fan of Annette Crosbie playing the fairy godmother. I am sure she had her good points but it was too obvious that she had roots in theatre and it was, as a result, off-putting.
Sorry for the long review. Before now, I hadn’t seen the film in about two years. While still a good film, I’m not sure whether it would be making my Top 10 list. But the outfits were nice, so there’s that.
MY RATING: 3.5 / 5.