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How Disney made cleaning a thing of beauty in Cinderella

How Disney made cleaning a thing of beauty in Cinderella

How Disney made cleaning a thing of beauty in Cinderella

Of the many characters made famous by Walt Disney's classic animated movies of the 1940s and 1950s, there aren't many for whom cleaning is an important part of their story.

The notable exception is Cinderella - the girl forced to work every hour of the day as a scullery maid and follow the orders of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, until her dreams of a new life come true.

Grand dreams

When we are introduced to Cinderella we learn of her longing to escape from her current life and find something better, as she sings one of the most famous songs in the Disney classic: 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes'.

She then has to return to reality to get on with her chores, while her stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia laze in bed and bark orders at her.

One of the most memorable cleaning scenes in this much-loved movie is accompanied by the song 'Sing Sweet Nightingale'. At first, we hear it performed terribly by the talentless stepsisters, one attempting to play the flute while the other wails tunelessly. Even Lady Tremaine's wicked cat Lucifer can't bear it. The mischievous moggy makes a run for the door and hears Cinderella giving her own beautiful rendition of the tune while cleaning the floor.

Soap bubbles rise from Cinderella's water pail and show multi-coloured reflections of the girl as she scrubs away and continues to sing. Her reverie is broken when she realises Lucifer has coated his paws in dust and left dirty footprints all over the previously sparkling floor.

This scene also marks one of the most significant moments in the whole film, as just after Cinderella discovers the bothersome cat's mess there is a knock at the door. A servant of the king is delivering invitations to the ball where Cinderella will meet the prince, with whom she will fall in love and discover a new life.

A lasting success

These musical sequences - and the timeless tale of the put-upon but kind servant girl whose dreams come true - helped to make Cinderella one of Disney's greatest and most enduring triumphs.

When the film was released in 1950, it was a critical and commercial success, with reviewers giving it the best reception for any Disney animated movie since 1941's Dumbo. It was also Disney's biggest box office hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the studio's very first animated feature film, released in 1937.

The ongoing popularity and appeal of the Cinderella story was emphasised by the fact that Disney once again adapted it for a live-action release in 2015. But there is no denying the romance and appeal of the 1950 original, which is a true fairy tale classic.

Here at Aurora, we don't attach too much importance to singing beautiful tunes while we clean your workplace, but we can guarantee speed, efficiency and visible results, with no dirty cats or bossy stepsisters in sight.

Posted by Julie Tucker