|The Slipper and the Rose original film poster- leave a comment to win it!|
I first saw it in the theatre in 1976 and loved it, although I hadn't seen it since. What a thrill to see that it is just as wonderful as I remember. Possibly more so! So what is the story behind this under-appreciated film which is only starting to be rediscovered?
|Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward and Christopher Gable as John|
Apparently the Sherman brothers (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) were approached by David Frost and asked to write the songs for a live action Cinderella musical. Although they initially declined, they rethought the matter when they realized that they could put a new twist on the story by telling it from the prince's point of view. It certainly crossed my mind that Prince Charles was in the same fix as our Prince Edward of Euphrania at the time this was made, having to choose an aristocratic virgin bride. Well we all know how that turned out! No Camilla in this story however.
|Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven|
Richard Chamberlain was a wonderful choice for our Prince Edward as he is definitely a triple threat! We all knew he was a great actor but his singing and dancing are superb! Gemma Craven was an unknown plucked from the British stage in a Cinderella story of her own. She is quite adorable, especially when her eyes well up with tears. I have to admit, I was blinking back a few tears of my own. She is a true natural, considering this was her first film.
|Michael Hordern, Annette Crosbie and Kenneth More|
|Dame Edith Evans with Julian Orchard and Polly Williams|
Speaking of stealing the show, an 87 year old Dame Edith Evans sings, dances and throws out the odd hilarious line as the Dowager Queen. She looked like she was having a ball...at the ball...sorry about that one!
This film is a true English/American hybrid, although the wonderful funny bits thrown amongst the more serious scenes are so British and apparently were insisted on by Bryan Forbes. Bravo! And there is a twist at the end (not your usual Cinderella ending!)
If you love Mary Poppins you will very likely enjoy The Slipper and the Rose. Just don't judge it by today's standards. It was already dated in 1976, which is likely why it had only modest success in the UK and very little success in America. However if judged against the musicals of the 50s and the 60s, it holds up quite well. I still love it as much as I did when I was 12!
So by all means, grab a copy while you can. Share it with your sisters, your daughters and your grand-daughters. You will laugh and cry again and again. This Blu-ray won't languish in your DVD collection!
I will be adding an account of my trip to Pinewood Studios to visit their Archive, Preservation and Restoration facility soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please leave a comment below as well as your email address to win a copy of the cinema poster for The Slipper and the Rose pictured at the top of this post. I will draw a random name at the end of October.
Cheers and good luck!