Cinderella, or The Glass Slipper (1912)
aka Cendrillon ou La pantoufle merveilleuse
Article 5548 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Louise Lagrange, Jacques Feyder, Marthe Vinot
What it is: Fairy tale
This is pretty standard late period Melies; he’s still glued to his tableaux style of filming, and he’s more interested in special effects and spectacle than story-telling. Granted, when the story is as familiar at this one, you don’t need to spend a lot of time in telling it, but during the scenes where he’s advancing the plot, it’s pretty dull. The special effects are fun, though not quite as tight as in his better shorts. In fact, he goes out of his way to add more special effects sequences; the creation of the carriage takes much longer than necessary, and a scene where Cinderella is terrorized by a giant clock striking midnight is also unneeded, albeit fun. As far as the spectacle goes, I notice that Melies has a favorite technique; he crowds the frame with as many characters as possible. If you’re a Melies fan, this is a passable short, but I do wonder how it would have gone if Melies had studied and incorporated the new cinematic techniques pioneered by the likes of D.W. Griffith. As it is, it’s another example of why he eventually fell out of favor as a filmmaker.