In the world of fairy tales and happily ever afters, Cinderella is undoubtedly one of the most beloved stories of all time. From her ugly stepsisters to her fairy godmother, to her sparkly glass slipper, her pumpkin carriage and her emotional dash from the ball, we can all recollect the beauty of Charles Perrault's narrative.
When the Disney adaptation was released in 1950 with Ilene Woods's wonderful voice behind the animation, we all accepted that this was the definitive formula for the tale. A combination of superb animation in soft technicolor and stunning vocal talent, it really is still a "dream come true." Relive the sensational movie in the trailer below:
Unsurprisingly however, since then, the story has continued to be re-adapted, re-told and re-imagined countless times with a great range of actresses perfectly fitting into the infamous glass slipper.
In celebration of the most recent release of Disney's live-action movie with Lily James as the timeless heroine, let's take a look at a few of the other leading ladies over the years. Who do you think is the greatest Cinderella of them all?
Who is Cinderella? Julie Andrews
In this live, made-for-television version of the ancient tale, the classic rags-to-riches story stars Julie Andrews. With her famous vocal talents, over 107 million viewers tuned into this live adaptation, giving it one of the largest audiences of its time.
Personally, having Andrews as Cinderella is a no-brainer and this is why she receives such a high rating on my list.
2. The Slipper and the Rose
Who is Cinderella? Gemma Craven
Featuring a cheery fairy godmother, an opulent ball and an intricate glass slipper, this adaptation will come close to making you forget every other love story you ever saw.
Speaking of this beautiful British retelling of the classic fairy tale with a musical twist, even the Queen Mother (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) commented to the songwriters:
"The waltz you wrote for the ballroom scene is the most beautiful song I've ever heard."
If Gemma Craven is good enough for a queen, she's good enough for us too.
3. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Who is Cinderella? Brandy
In this updated romantic musical fantasy, Brandy and Whitney Houston star as Cinderella and the fairy godmother. The television film attracted over 60 million viewers and became the highest-rated TV musical in years. This modern take on the classic tale is stunning to watch, and Brandy gives a powerful performance, especially in the musical numbers.
4. Ever After
Who is Cinderella? Drew Barrymore
Ever After brings the romance of the story fully to life, with Drew Barrymore delivering a feisty performance as the belle of the climactic ball, despite having to adapt to a British accent.
Personally, I don't think I can fault Barrymore in any way and her re-enactment of Cinderella is incredibly passionate and very touching. Undoubtedly, this is not a princess who sits twiddling her thumbs waiting around and singing "Someday My Prince Will Come" and this is why I like her so much.
5. A Cinderella Story
Who is Cinderella? Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff's is Cinderella in this high-school take on the infamous story following a young girl exploited by her wicked stepmother. After meeting her Internet pen pal at the school's Halloween dance, you won't be surprised when you find out that true teenage love indeed conquers all.
For those on the lookout for an easy-going romantic chick flick with a geeky twist, this cute version will fit the bill. Yet, I am giving a slightly lower rating because as Cinderella, she's just not as memorable as the other candidates.
6. Ella Enchanted
Who is Cinderella? Anne Hathaway
As its not a full-on adaptation of Cinderella, this movie actually borrows many elements from numerous fairy tale classics. The end result is a light-hearted splash of magic and special effects with Hathaway's slightly goofier approach being a delight to watch.
Who is Cinderella? Amy Adams
Echoing elements of the Cinderella story, Enchanted follows a princesses who is banished to the concrete jungle of New York by an evil queen, where she falls in love with a lawyer. With a fun modernized twist, show-stopping original songs and colorful visuals, this is one of the best princess-based family movies in recent years.
As the ditzy heroine, Adams looks every bit the princess in her floor-sweeping gowns.
8. Another Cinderella Story
Who is Cinderella? Selena Gomez
Despite being forbidden in doing so by her evil stepmother, Mary has big dreams to become a dancer. Encountering superstar Joey Parker at a masked costume ball, she leaves him behind as she rushes home to make her curfew. Will he ever find her again? I'm sure you can guess how this story ends.
With plenty of sparkle, Selena Gomez brings a fresh take to an ancient tale in this dance extravaganza. However, for me, she simply does not have the depth and magic that comes hand-in-hand with the others' performances.
Who is Cinderella? Lily James
Kenneth Branagh's epic take on the traditional tale remains exactly that, proving that Disney has not lost any of its old-fashioned magic, despite its original movie being released over half a century ago. With Lily James as the kind-hearted princess, in my eyes, she fits perfectly into that glass slipper. Not only does she embody the English Rose, but also looks remarkable in the luminous costumes.
Speaking of why he cast her, Branagh explained his choice of Lily over hundreds of other candidates:
"You have to find the actor. It was a long process. I joined 'Cinderella,' and they'd been working for a little while. There had been some screen tests. They'd seen hundreds and hundreds of girls. And Lily came in to read for one of the stepsisters. I remember [the casting director had] sent me a tape, and I was going to grab something, and I heard her. It was literally the voice to start with, because it's that warmth, those colours, that we needed."
What do you think? Does Lily fit the bill or did you prefer one of the other leading ladies?
If you're still unconvinced, watch the trailer for the recent movie below:
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Which was your favorite 'Cinderella?'