Cinderella & More Cool Things About the Victorian Era

I saw the new live-action Disney Cinderella on St. Patrick’s Day. Cinderella is not my favorite Disney princess (that’s Belle), but I essentially dragged my friends to see the movie because of this guy:

From Lily James’ Instagram 

Anyway…. (as I told my friend Jess, if there are random Scottish men floating around in the Victorian half of the Vic and Nic story, it’ll be because of the combo of Richard Madden and Outlander)

It was an adorable movie, very funny at times, and I was in the mood for something simple and sweet and romantic and gushy, so it was perfect for that. Could it have gone further in the modernizing, to make Cinderella even stronger? Maybe. I’m sure it could have. But I was happy to see something that wasn’t cynical.

Cynicism gets tiring, you know? And while I don’t think girls have to be–or should be–all kindness and lightness and politeness, there is a lot to be said for just being kind to people.

My friend Jess coveted the stepmother’s outfits. (They were amazing!) And Nali emailed us this, which relates to the Victorian half of my novel, sort of. It’s in the Moving Image archive, one of the very first filmed versions of Cinderella: Cendrillon by Georges Melies. It’s from 1899, just two years before Queen Victoria died, and I’m kind of imagining how my Victoria would react.

It’s only 5 minutes, 41 seconds long. Check it out.

10 thoughts on “Cinderella & More Cool Things About the Victorian Era

  1. I love heroines who are kind. Sometimes modernization does a bad job of translating. What was kind and polite gets seen as passive and meek, and is done away with in favour of crudity and stubbornness, which masquerade as strength and purpose. I love a strong heroine, but sometimes the understated strength of the meek and kind is the best kind of strength there is.I'm hoping to see this movie with my sis, so I'm glad to hear that it won't be quite dreadful (as I was half-afraid it would be).Also, on a side note: I love the hunched little grandfather clock dude who cartwheeled across the stage in Cinderillion! The effects were beautifully done, and he in particular was a delight.

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  2. Exactly! I like badass heroines, but I can't necessarily relate to them all the time. There is a lot of strength in sticking to your own principles, whether it's to be kind or whether it's to be rebellious and hell-raising. In this version, they were doing some sort of unidentifiable possibly nineteenth century setting for Cinderella, I think that her remembering her mother's words and keeping her promise to her mother and father means a lot, in addition to her kindness and generosity. Plus, giving the prince an actual personality is always an improvement on other versions.I hope you enjoy it when you go to see it! Glad you watched the short film, too. I like the mice coming out of the box and turning into horses. The effects are pretty impressive for a 1899 movie!

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  3. Oh, how charming! The little film is great! I can see how that was massively entertaining, it's quite fun to watch now! Though for entirely different reasons. I'm passing on Cinderella. I was excited when I first heard about it, but after seeing a preview, I was only going to see it if someone dragged me. At this point, I won't even be dragged. But I'm looking forward to seeing how they do Beauty and the Beast!

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