"Cinderella" has been told and retold in so many ways for so many years that who knows what the original story truly was. All I know is that I expected particular Rodgers and Hammerstein songs and a story that included a girl that has been reduced to being a servant in her own home, a wicked step-mother, two awful step sisters, a handsome prince who is hosting a ball, a fairy godmother, some magic, and two glass slippers. What I got last summer was some of the stuff on that list, but also a lot of extraneous stuff that made the story more complicated and politically charged than it needed to be. The 1957 made for TV production was very different from what I expected, but it did keep most of the elements on that list.
The 1957 "Cinderella" was made directly for television. It starred Julie Andrews (who was currently in a little Broadway show that was another "Cinderella" story: "My Fair Lady"). And although the Julie Andrews "Cinderella" was produced for television, it looked like they just filmed a stage show with some interesting camera angles. The sound stage had one basic set that was turned different ways and dressed different ways to represent different scenes. That's how a stage production would be produced. And for early television, the show was in black and white. Possibly, it was presented live, I don't know for sure.
Television was a new medium in those days. I think the producers and directors didn't know exactly how to present this show for the small screen. Apparently, they opted for keeping things simple. They kept all of the scenes confined to a single sound stage. There were no sweeping outdoor vistas. There were barely any full crowd scenes. Most of the camera angles framed just a few of actors. There were some changes in camera angles such as from the top of the stairs looking down, or from the bottom of the staircase looking up. The most dramatic camera work happened showing the trying on of the glass slipper to "all" of the eligible maidens in the land with one short clip following another short clip, then another, then another in very quick succession.
The script was very different from the show I saw last summer. It was very different from the other versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein "Cinderella" that I have seen before. In fact, every version that I've seen has been quite unique. Each separate production even borrowed extra songs from other Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, and not the same ones from the previous show. I am beginning to think that there may be several different licensed scripts for "Cinderella."
And then again, live theater has a reputation of of allowing a certain amount of "artistic" license for interpretation. I'm just glad that some big improvements have been made in how theater is presented on television.
I think I like movies, or live theater, but not stage shows filmed for television.