A young woman forced into servitude by her step-family gets a chance to attend the royal ball.– Anonymous, IMDB
Cinderella (Zolushka) is a Soviet-era musical produced by Lenfilm studios. During the Soviet-era Lenfilm was the second largest production branch of the Soviet film industry, incorporating more than 30 film studios across the former Soviet Union. Yanina Zhejmo, who plays Cinderella, was 38 years old at the time of filming. Cinderella was one of her final film roles, her last credit is voicing young Gerda in the animated film The Snow Queen (1957).
Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
Earlier this year I had gone on a bit of a quest: I felt my movie collection was really lacking in international princess movies, so I decided to rectify that. I ended up tracking down quite a few new films to check out, one of them being this version of Cinderella. While I always secretly hope for each film to be hilariously terrible, I’m always up for finding new, actually entertaining princess movies as well. This is an example of the latter, a charming version of Cinderella that’s worked it’s way into my heart.
This Cinderella follows the same general plot as most retellings do. What makes it stand out are the visuals, the use of miniatures and colourization that give this film an ethereal, almost dream-like quality. It’s hard to describe, but visually this film just feels like a live-action fairytale to me.
One fun thing about this film, Cinderella’s father is still alive in this version! He even appears at the ball, where he recognizes Cinderella but doesn’t dare to make this known, not wanting to blow her cover. It’s a very sweet moment between the two characters, him being so happy to see her as she is, and her being so happy that her Father is letting her have this moment.
One of my favourite little moments: After Cinderella is forced to flee from the castle her Fairy Godmother’s apprentice appears with a cup of ice cream to try and help cheer her up. It’s just so utterly charming, this small good-hearted attempt to make her feel better. The apprentice gets to have his own happily ever after as well… the end of the film reveals that not only does Cinderella go on to have a baby girl with the prince, but when she grows up the apprentice falls in love with her and they marry.
So overall this one is a really cute movie, it’s definitely not one to watch if you’re here hoping for a hilarious terrible movie. Instead I’d recommend this one if you wanted to end the night on a high note, or as a palette cleanser between some other far more heinous movies.
If you want to see more, I’ve got more clips uploaded to the Bad Princess Movie Youtube channel here: