In 1997, the Wonderful World of Disney gave us Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, one of the most enduring retellings of the fairy tale to date. Starring Whitney Houston, Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters, this iconic film is finally making its streaming debut Feb. 12 on Disney Plus.
With Brandy’s Cinderella available to a whole new generation, we decided that there is no better moment in time than now to relive the best moments from the best Cinderella musical movie.
Cinderella tells her future man that he needs to treat her right!
Early on in the movie, Prince Christopher and Cinderella meet at the market, and he is instantly intrigued and starts following her and asking her what he would need to do to get in her good graces. However, Cinderella lets him know that she’s not impressed with his presumption and that he needs to get to know her. As she goes on about how she’s not interested and questions if he would even know how to treat her, he responds by saying “like a princess,” to which Cinderella corrects him by saying she wants to be treated with kindness and respect.
Out girl has self-respect, and WE LOVE TO SEE IT! I love this moment because while most of the girls in that village would probably like to be treated like a princess, Cinderella knows better, and Chris is quite impressed by this answer. (We can feel the attraction growing!)
We can empathize with the Stepmom
Look, the stepmom is not my favorite character, but I do appreciate the fact that the movie gives us a chance to understand why the stepmom is the way that she is. With “Falling In Love with Love,” we get a glimpse into her past and how it involved getting burned by someone she once loved. With this past experience, it hardened her and made her cold. So much so, she takes it out on Cinderella. This isn’t an excuse for basically making her step-daughter a slave, but it’s insightful to look into what made her this way.
In comes everyone’s favorite fairy godmother… Ms. Whitney Houston! She looks so sparkly and magical. Of course, the first time we see her and Cinderella meet, she comes in singing with that incomparable voice. She tells Cinderella that people waste too much time dreaming and wishing instead of making things happen for themselves. As Cinderella laments about how it’s impossible to get to the ball, her godmother busts out with “Impossible” and turns a pumpkin into a carriage with horses and footmen to boot! This is when we get to see the magic really happen—Cinderella gets her beautiful silvery blue dress, blue eyeshadow to match, along with the legendary glass slippers. At this point, we’re rooting so hard for our girl to get to that ball! Take the night off, and GET YO MAN!
Lovers with things in common
Unlike 1950’s Cinderella, we don’t only get to see the romantic leads meet and fall in love at the ball, but they get to talk and find out they have things in common. I love this scene because neither of them realizes that they’ve met before (meet-cute at the market!), and they get to talk about how they can relate to each other when it comes to their life at home. I adore that even though they come from very different backgrounds, the Prince being privileged while Cinderella is a maid in her own home, they can come together as just people who are experiencing the same feelings of being trapped in their own lives.
I know, I know, it may seem like I’m cheating, but there’s a reason fans have been demanding for years to make the soundtrack available on streaming services. It has so many beautiful lyrics and melodies. Take the opening number (which is my favorite from the soundtrack), “The Sweetest Sounds,” as it starts out with Brandy’s now iconic tone singing about how she’s longing for her epic love to come into her life. Even though her life at home is less than ideal, she’s still holding out hope for the life she’s worth. “In My Own Little Corner” is an earworm, and did I mention how obsessed I am with Brandy’s tone? It’s so sweet, subtle, and so fitting for this movie musical. I just love how this scene involves her playing out the different scenarios mentioned in the song. The songs that Prince Christopher and Cinderella sing together, “Ten Minutes Ago,” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” are especially wonderful as they are confessing their feelings to each other, and Paolo Montalban and Brandy sound so good together!
There you have it… the best moments from 1997’s Cinderella! It is about time that this is more accessible to its legions of fans. I remember being completely charmed as a kid watching it, and it feels good that now as adults we’ll be able to relive these moments from our childhood whenever we want. Now, let’s get the soundtrack to streaming!
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella arrives to Disney Plus on Feb 12, 2021.