A Kiss for Cinderella (1925)

Article 4752 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-7-2015
Directed by Herbert Brenon
Featuring Betty Bronson, Esther Ralston, Henry Vibart
Country: USA
What it is: Romance with fantastic touches

During World War I, a policeman investigates a young woman whom he suspects of being a German spy. What he finds instead is a good-hearted but poverty-stricken girl who has a mad obsession with the Cinderella story.

Early on in this movie I found myself wondering whether there would actually be any real fantastic content to the movie at all; it had the air of being one of those more-or-less “realistic” movies that were inspired by stories with more fantastic content. Not that this really interfered with my enjoyment of the movie; the distinct eccentric charm of the proceedings and the loveliness of Betty Branson in the title role did a wonderful job of keeping me interested. It does, however, make the shift to fantastic content at about the halfway point, and the fact that it takes place in a character’s dream does nothing to change the fact that the entire ball sequence is truly whimsical and charming. There’s a great special effect when the pumpkin and mice are transformed, and bizarre touches abound; the royal family sit on rocking thrones, and you’ll have to see the movie yourself to figure out why the marriage ceremony is presided over by a penguin. Nevertheless, there is a certain tension during the dream sequence, because we know the dream is being had under the same circumstances as those of “The Little Match Girl”, and we don’t really want our main character to suffer the same fate. I have to admit to having been thoroughly delighted by this odd and strange romance, probably precisely because it is so odd and strange. And there is something to be said about a movie that can make a foot fetish seem charming.

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