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Cinderella
(1977)
 

Director:Michael Pataki                         
Cast:
Cheryl Smith, Sy Richardson, Brett Smiley


The first thought many people will think when they are confronted with the idea of a soft-core porn rendition of the fairy tale Cinderella no doubt is that it would be a funny thing to see. However, if they were pressed into thinking about it further, and to try and actually imagine it scene by scene, I think they would have a problem in trying to visualize it without imaging the same things happening again and again. And that's what I found with the finished product here. It has its moments, but they almost seem like throwaway asides lost in a rendition that doesn't seem to know how to build on its premise, and just goes for the obvious and unimaginative.

The tone of the movie is immediately set when Cinderella's wicked stepmother shrieks to her at the beginning of the movie, "Get that milkman and jerk off that goat!" and "Keep working your mind off sex!" Just like in the original fairy tale, Cinderella is both mocked and overworked by her wicked and ugly stepmother and two stepsisters - though not quite in the way Walt Disney portrayed it in his classic 1950 film. When the stepsisters here decide to mock Cinderella for wanting to go to the ball the royal family is holding, they get her to strip off all of her clothes, then they rub her up and down with butter (especially around the chest area.) When it comes to the hard work Cinderella has to do, she doesn't just have to cook and clean, but she has to work on a modified spinning wheel that helps to work two corncob vibrators attached to it, which the stepsisters gleefully use as they dive under the covers of their bed and fondle each other.

This is not the only scene where this peculiar kink - lesbian incest - occurs. When the Lord Chamberlain goes from door to door to hand out the invitations to the ball, he first comes across two completely naked sisters washing each other with sponges - after we've seen several non-stop minutes of the siblings washing, holding, and slurping each others nipples, intercut with several extreme close-up shots of their crotches. After that household, he goes to another one and finds another sister do who also indulge in The Love That Has No One Word Name. Thinking that the Lord Chamberlain wants to arrest their father, the sisters are more than willing to put on a quite lengthy show for him, eventually letting him indulge in such a way so that there are soon three simultaneous orgasms.

It goes without saying that this is quite an explicit movie, despite it never getting to be hard core and the fact there is almost no real male nudity during its 94 minutes. Despite its explicit nature, I never really found any particular scene erotic; for all its work to be daring, there is a surprisingly lack of sexiness found. It would probably be hard to be sexy in an unsubtle comedy like this anyway, so it would then be logical to expect the makers of this movie to try and put humor in all of this sex and nudity. There are many ways this material could have been made funny, but there's very little effort to do so here. Take one of the gifts Cinderella is given by her fairy godmother, a "snapping pussy", which the Prince goes wild over later at the ball. Then later, the Prince looks for this mysterious woman by going door to door and having sex with woman after woman. It sounds like it would be hilarious to watch, but it just goes through the, uh, motions, in the quickest and dullest way possible.

Most of the humor in Cinderella - sex related or otherwise - falls flat, though there are a few strange and amusing moments, such as when the Lord Chamberlain tries cutting an apple, and when a passerby near the end of the movie asking the Prince's escort some hilariously inane questions. As Cinderella's black drag queen fairy godmother, Sy Richardson has a lot of fun in his role, fast-talking with attitude. He also has a good song to sing (or at least lip sync), "I'm Gonna Grab It". Yes, this is not only an X rated version of Cinderella, but a musical version as well. And strange as it may seem, the songs are the best thing in the movie. It's true the direction of these musical number is bad - the typical way a musical number is staged in this movie has the actors shot from the waist or chest up, and not having the singers move more than a few steps from their starting position. The lip syncing is horrible (probably why in many shots you can't see the actors' faces), and the singing voices sound nothing like the voices of the actors. But listening to the songs themselves, one will observe they are well sung, and written in a number of different styles like disco or in the Rocky Horror vein. The lyrics are frequently hilarious and/or witty as well. For example, the lounge act-like number has the sex tired Prince lamenting, "With many a femme / I have tried S&M / But I get no kick from the pain / And though you may think / I'm not one for a kink / I once made it with a great Dane."

This is one low budget musical where, for once, you look forward to the musical numbers and dread what's between them, instead of the other way around. Unlike, say, the Disney version, the people who made this movie didn't seem to know how to stretch the story out to feature length while still managing to entertain the audience. The movie is stretched out by (among other things) a weird and pointless dream sequence, the Prince seen having sex with one woman after another at the ball, and those previously mentioned endless lesbian incest sequences. Yes, sex and nudity can certainly be entertaining, but if you don't have some substance behind it - like knowing what motivates the characters to be nude and what insight has caused them to boink each other with such vigor - one scene of explicitness just looks like the other. All the characters are really poorly written, and only Richardson manages to make an impression because of his enthusiasm. To make matters worse, many of the main characters are given a scene and then subsequently forgotten about for a long period. When they come in again, they are soon quickly forgotten about again. Incredibly, this includes Cinderella - despite the story being about her, she is onscreen a lot less than some of the other characters.

I have the feeling a lot of people are going to be determined to see this movie despite what I've just said. If I mention that the outdoors looks more like California than Europe, would it make any difference? How about if I mention that the scenes shot on a soundstage have really cramped sets and are frequently underlit? Probably not. The movie isn't a total waste of time, but I have to wonder if it would be possible to make a good, sexy, and funny spoof of Cinderella. Maybe this is as good as it gets - it was certainly better than I thought it would be. And I know I can't stop you. At least I know now that I'm off the hook after telling you all about it.


UPDATE: Actor Sy Richardson himself wrote in to mention that he did indeed do the singing for his musical number. Besides mentioning that people interested in owning a copy of the long out-of-print movie can look in Eddie Brandts in North Hollywood, he told of one of his experiences behind the scenes:

"Well, this was my first film and I didn't know soft core porn from Disney. Anyway, Michael (the director) told me to unzip my pants and pull out my penis and wave it for the wand. And I looked at him and said "NO". He stared at me with those cold steel eyes for a few minutes and then shouted "Make a wand"  The prop people made a wand and the first take I accidentally stuck in the wand in the fireplace as I was waving it and it burned up."


UPDATE 2: No, official factory copies of this movie aren't being sold anywhere! It's been out of print for years and years! As of right now there are no plans to re-release it on VHS or DVD! If you want an official factory copy, you'll have to look for a used copy at pawn shops or on-line auction places like Ebay!

Hopefully, that will stop the constant e-mails I get from people asking me, "Where can I buy a copy of Cinderella?" If I got a kind word now and then about my site, I wouldn't mind the bombardment I get regarding this movie so much, but noooooo..... (NOTE: See update 4 below)


UPDATE 3: "Alex" sent this in:

"Regarding Roy's question (and your answer) in the letters section (October 2003) about the two versions of Cinderella, you are correct. The film was released in both an "X" rated version and a slightly edited "R" rated version.  Both versions have actually played on American premium cable--the "R" which times in at around 89 minutes if I recall correctly, and the "X" (for broadcast purposes "unrated") which I seem to remember is about two minutes longer, though I don't think there's any significant difference (maybe an extra closeup of someone's unruly '70's bush), and I think by today's standards the thing would qualify for an "R" rating in either form."


UPDATE 4: As of this update, Cinderella can be downloaded off Amazon - see the appropriate link below. It has also received a DVD release. The DVD edition is available through the appropriate link below.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)
Check for availability on Amazon (DVD)
Check for availability on Amazon (Download)

See also: The Apple, Cannibal! The Musical, Shock Treatment

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