I moaned when they remade Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina. Laughed at Jude Law's attempt at being Michael Caine in Alfie and Russell Brand's Arthur was an insult to the memory of cuddly Dudley Moore.
The truth is, remakes are rarely a patch on the original, which is something Cameron Mackintosh should bear in mind as he toys with the notion of a new screen version of Lionel Bart's Oliver (Don't do it).

The only exception to the "remake at your peril rule" has to be Cinderella, as there are very few adaptations of the tale I haven't enjoyed. From the faultless 1950 animated feature to Richard Chamberlain as Prince Charming in The Slipper and The Rose (1976) and even Drew Barrymore in Ever After (1998), I've loved them all, along with thousands of other females addicted to Charles Perrault's story about a downtrodden girl who gets the guy and dumps on her step-relations. What's not to like? And now Kenneth Branagh has made his version of Cinders under the Disney banner and it is beyond delightful. Dante Ferretti provides the visual magic with his gorgeous sets - English country garden with heavy notes of fairyland -and then there's the aesthetic splendour of the cast exemplified by Downton's Lily James as Cinderella, who could get any prince, and Cate Blanchett, who is probably the first wicked stepmother to be worthy of a spread in Vogue thanks to the brilliance of Sandy Powell's costumes. Boy, does she look great and she does cruel with the same aplomb that she played desperate in Blue Jasmine.

The film has a terrific cast : Derek Jacobi as the King, Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother and one of my favourites, Ben Chaplin, as Cinders' dad, though sadly we lose him too soon and it is his premature death that allows the stepnasties to treat Ella so badly. However, without the dreadful sisters (Downton's Daisy, Sophie McShera, as Drisella and Holliday Grainger as Anastasia) there would be fewer laughs. Branagh sticks faithfully to the story, right down to Cinders being friends with the mice and that is a good thing because traditional is refreshing these days.

I will be seeing Cinderella again on Sunday because it is that good and there is the bonus of a Frozen short film before the main feature. Does it get any better? I doubt it.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive