Once upon a time .
Isnt that the way all fairy tales begin? Dreams are recounted and stories retold, handing down legends and sometimes expanding on them.
Most people today, no matter where you are from, have heard the story of Cinderella, the poor little orphaned girl overruled by her stepmother and stepsisters. The fanciful tale by Disney, with the fairy Godmother and cute little mice whipping up the ball gown comes to mind. The old Golden Book, many times thumbed, with the beautiful princess at the end.
As a young girl, these are the dreams we go to sleep to.
But Cinderella had no dreams left. Faced with a new stepmother and two hateful sisters, she spends her days in practical servitude, answering their every beck and call. All she wants is to maintain the farm her father loved and lead a good life. She doesnt mind work, she finds strength in it, but she dreams.
Almost a tomboy in effect, she encounters the Prince one day while he is trying to procure one of the farm horses. Seems the Prince isnt exactly happy with his life either. Promised to the daughter of the Spanish king in order to draw their countries together, the Prince has dreams as well. He believes you have to love the person you are going to marry, something practically unheard of at that time and certainly not to royalty.
Of course the Prince believes she is stable stock and offers her money for the horse. Little did he know that exchange would change his life forever.
Cinderella, or Danielle as she is known in this movie, uses the money to free the husband of one of the housekeepers. She dons a fancy dress and, with it, a regal manner, and confronts the powers that be to release the man. Once again the Prince crosses her path and in the end the man is freed. Much like Superman/Clark Kent, the Prince doesnt recognize Danielle in her fancy clothes [and clean face] and is smitten by her countenance.
Demanding to know who she is, she fabricates a story and runs away, leaving him with her mothers maiden name. He begins his journey to find his lady fair.
Meanwhile, back at the homestead
Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent, the stepmother, and her precocious daughters Marguerite & Jacqueline, continue to make Danielles life hell. The Baroness is determined that the Prince will wed her eldest, Marguerite, a simpering fey of a girl and runs a nasty scheme to join the two. But the Prince has an agenda of his own.
However, on the horizon
We have the capricious character of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the truly last dreamers in the world. Somehow he manages to ingratiate himself into the lives of all the parties, keeping his back firmly turned against the DeGhent tribe. It is Leonardo, oh wise one, that knows the truth about Danielle and his goal is to join Danielle and Prince Henry in marriage.
Nuptials will be announced at the ball
Henry fights it, but after Baroness De Ghent spins a dirty tale about Danielle, she runs from the Prince in her glorious gossamer gown with the angel wings, losing her glass slipper on the way. The Prince turns his back on the lying Danielle and accepts his fate to marriage of the Spanish maiden. Will fate or Leonardo intervene?
But, as the bell tolls on the wedding day
Prince Henry stands at the altar, awaiting his Spanish bride. The poor thing sobs during the entire walk to the altar, finally bringing Henry to the realization that he must find his own true love. He simply cannot marry someone he does not love, so he sets the wailing wench free. Grabbing the glass slipper, he runs in search of the beautiful Danielle, his princess, who has been sold to a neighboring Lord. A nasty piece of work that gets his just rewards.
We reap what we sow
Of course, Danielle & Prince Henry come together and it is through Danielles generosity that Baroness De Ghent & Marguerite are saved from slavedom. But at a cost.
The movie was adapted, from the 1729 story written by Charles Perrault, to the screen by Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant & Rick Parks and was directed by Andy Tennant.
This version starred Drew Barrymore as Danielle De Barbarac and Dougray Scott as Prince Henry. Anjelica Huston, Megan Dodds & Melanie Lynskey played the Baroness De Ghent, Marguarite & Jacqueline, respectively. The short part of Danielles father was by Jeroen Krabbe, and a wonderful interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci by Patrick Godfrey.
Awards & nomincations
Drew Barrymore won the Best Actress Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, with best costume going to Jenny Beavan. Anjelica Huston was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Blockbuster Entertainment awarded Drew Barrymore with Favorite Actress and Anjelica Huston with Favorite Supporting Actress. Dougray Scott was nominated as Favorite Male Newcomer.
The location chosen for this release was at the Chateau de Fénelon, Dordogne, France, Château de Hautefort, Dordogne, France, and Perigord region, France. The area was quite gorgeous and the chateaus were splendid.
Camera work was clean and crisp, continuity held up to this critical eye, and overall the production was very good.
The Actors & their actions
Try as I might, I kept seeing that cute little girl staring into the eyes of E.T. Drew, although all grown up, still maintains that baby-faced innocence from youth. However, I will say she kept her stylish accent throughout the production and really gave a decent performance.
Anjelica Huston was perfect for the part. Just a bit hauty and just a bit evil.
And Dougray Scott was just flat out beautiful. What eyes! I would have tossed out my throne for that guy.
The movie carries a PG rating, I think most family members could watch it easily. That is, if you arent afraid of happy endings .
And they lived happily ever after ..
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