"Be the One that Rescues You"

Contexts for the Construction of Agency in Kenneth Branagh's "Cinderella"

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Abstract

Disney’s 1950 animated feature ‘Cinderella’ remains one of the studio’s most successful properties. So widespread is its popularity that students are often surprised to learn that the narrative is not original, but an adaptation of Basile’s ‘La Gatta Cenerentola’ (1634), Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ (1697), ‘Aschenputtel’ by the Brothers Grimm (1812) and other source texts, although as Ohmer (1993) points out, only Perrault is credited. Alarm at the significance of this cultural amnesia is a major factor in Zipes’s frequent railing against Disney’s appropriation of traditional fairy tales (1979-2016). Bacchilega (2013), however, argues that rather than focus on what is absent from Disney’s texts, it would be more constructive to unpack the cultural values embedded in contemporary adaptations. This article therefore explores some of the contexts for understanding the most recent of Disney’s adaptations of the Cinderella story in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action film by comparing its construction of agency with that of the 1950 text.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-269
Number of pages13
JournalRevista Soletras
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this

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N2 - Disney’s 1950 animated feature ‘Cinderella’ remains one of the studio’s most successful properties. So widespread is its popularity that students are often surprised to learn that the narrative is not original, but an adaptation of Basile’s ‘La Gatta Cenerentola’ (1634), Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ (1697), ‘Aschenputtel’ by the Brothers Grimm (1812) and other source texts, although as Ohmer (1993) points out, only Perrault is credited. Alarm at the significance of this cultural amnesia is a major factor in Zipes’s frequent railing against Disney’s appropriation of traditional fairy tales (1979-2016). Bacchilega (2013), however, argues that rather than focus on what is absent from Disney’s texts, it would be more constructive to unpack the cultural values embedded in contemporary adaptations. This article therefore explores some of the contexts for understanding the most recent of Disney’s adaptations of the Cinderella story in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action film by comparing its construction of agency with that of the 1950 text.

AB - Disney’s 1950 animated feature ‘Cinderella’ remains one of the studio’s most successful properties. So widespread is its popularity that students are often surprised to learn that the narrative is not original, but an adaptation of Basile’s ‘La Gatta Cenerentola’ (1634), Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ (1697), ‘Aschenputtel’ by the Brothers Grimm (1812) and other source texts, although as Ohmer (1993) points out, only Perrault is credited. Alarm at the significance of this cultural amnesia is a major factor in Zipes’s frequent railing against Disney’s appropriation of traditional fairy tales (1979-2016). Bacchilega (2013), however, argues that rather than focus on what is absent from Disney’s texts, it would be more constructive to unpack the cultural values embedded in contemporary adaptations. This article therefore explores some of the contexts for understanding the most recent of Disney’s adaptations of the Cinderella story in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action film by comparing its construction of agency with that of the 1950 text.

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