Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella 1976

The Slipper and the Rose original film poster- leave a comment to win it!
The Slipper and the Rose, if you aren't already a fan, was basically the last of the big original musicals which was filmed at Pinewood Studios UK (and on location in Austria) in 1975 and released in 1976. It has been recently restored and remastered, mere steps away from where it was shot, at Pinewood's Media Preservation, Restoration and Archiving Facility. Having been gorgeously restored to it's original glory, the original UK edition is now available on Blu-ray, with extras including A Cinderella Story: The Making of Slipper and the Rose (narrated by executive producer David Frost) and I Can't Forget the Melody: The Sherman Brothers on the Making of Slipper and the Rose.
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

Michael Hordern as the King and Kenneth More as the Lord Chamberlain show the amazing talent available in Britain at the time. And Annette Crosbie rather steals the show as a hilarious new kind of fairy godmother. You may recognize Crosbie from her recent work in British TV, but I know her as the dog lady from the Calendar Girls film!

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 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!


  1. Richard Chamberlain was a bit of all right in his day, wasn't he. Bone structure to die for. Those cheekbones!

    1. Hi Judith. He is pretty darn hunky in this one. Very athletic dancing as well. Of course we didn't know back in the day about his sexual orientation, but acting is acting right? Still a total hunk!

  2. I've never watched this before but after reading this I'd love to.

    1. Hello Suzan, let me know what you think of it when you see it. It is a bit slow to start but by about the third musical number it will have you hooked. And a nice twist on the usual Cinderella ending!

  3. I saw this in the theatre when it first came and out and remembered feeling, as you say, that it was dated from the outset. I remember not being swept away by it, but I was 17 at the time and more into movies like Annie Hall :)

    Richard Chamberlain was definitely the romantic lead of the time. He did lots of mini-series then too.

    1. Hi Jane. Yes, crazy when you think that the year after The Slipper and the Rose they filmed the first Star Wars film at Pinewood! But now as a little Sherman and Sherman throwback, it works quite well. Let me know if you see it again what you think now! :)

  4. I remember seeing this on tv when I was a girl and I just loved it! I don't know how old I was when I saw it on tv, probably 10 or 11? I never knew the name of it though, just that it was a Cinderella story. So I am so excited to now know what it is called and hope to watch it again soon. I remember being so intrigued with the different ending.

  5. I've loved this movie ever since I first saw it back when it opened. So glad that a new DVD version is available. I've always wished that they would adapt the movie for the stage. Are you listening Sir Cameron Mackintosh?

  6. Loved the slippsl and the rose movie Gemma craven was perfect as cinderella she is radiant with a beautiful singing voice and richard chamberlain as the Prince was perfect handsome with a good singing voice and loved annette crosbie as the fairy godmother and Michael was great as the king and edith evans as the King Mother was hilarious and great like john the prince best friend but well done to Gemma she was amazing as cinderella

  7. For me, this movie is timeless like the story. Beautifully filmed, gorgeous locations. Richard Chamberlain, a perfect prince, extremely easy on the eyes and Gemma Craven, a very cute Cinderella.
    I watched the movie as a young teenager, two years after its general release. I was mesmerized!




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