The United States’ Library of Congress has named the 1950 Walt Disney animated classic Cinderella to the National Film Registry.
Each year the Library of Congress adds a select number of films to the National Registry to ensure their preservation in American History. The films chosen must be deemed to be culturally significant in some way. This year Cinderella was one of just 25 chosen for the distinction.
Cinderella joins other Disney films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, Bambi, The Lion King, and shorts including Steamboat Willie on the Registry. A total of 21 Disney (created or acquired) films are on the prestigious list of 750 films.
Legendary animator Mark Henn shared with D23 that Cinderella was a film the Studio needed, as it had been many years since Disney Studios had a successful animated feature when Cinderella began production after World War II. “They needed to get back on their feet, get back in the game of feature animation that they basically started,” Henn said.
Henn, who joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1980 and had the opportunity to work alongside many of the Cinderella filmmakers, recalled how mesmerized he was by the film when he first saw it in theaters. “There’s a simplicity to it, but within that simplicity, there’s an elegance,” Henn said.
But Cinderella inspired more animators than just Henn. Disney Legend, animator, and the longest-serving employee of The Walt Disney Company Burny Mattinson began his career in 1953 and shared with D23 how much he loved the story of Cinderella. “She got her wish, what she wanted to be — more than what she wanted to be, really,” Mattinson said.
Disney animator Ron Clements, known for such films as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, was mentored by Frank Thomas, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men and the animator behind the evil stepmother in Cinderella. Clements shared with D23 how he can see the impact of Cinderella on the stories and heroines he has helped create at Disney, mentioning how Cinderella’s stepsisters tearing apart her ballgown likely influenced Triton destroying Ariel’s grotto in The Little Mermaid. The film has had a lasting influence on Disney animators decades after its release, and there’s no doubt that it will continue to inspire Disney animation for years to come.
What do you think of this news? We certainly believe Cinderella is not only a timeless animated classic but a timeless classic in all film genres. A film Walt Disney poured his heart and soul into, and the end result being a timeless classic that still resonates with people of all ages to this day.