Perhaps not surprisingly, the MacGuffin-ness of the prince seems to be one of the

Perhaps not surprisingly, the MacGuffin-ness of the prince seems to be one of the features of the Cinderella story that doesn’t really fly anymore. Most contemporary adaptations of the tale give the prince’s character significantly more attention.

For example, in the 1950s, Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical based on Perrault’s version of Cinderella. This version of the story added a bit more attention on the prince, exploring his personality and family life. In 1997, an updated version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was released by Disney as a made-for-TV movie, which added even more focus on the prince’s character.

Take a look at the opening scenes from the 1997 film, which make significant changes to the plot of Perrault’s story. In the first scene, Cinderella and the prince (disguised as a commoner) are shown wandering through an open air market, singing the same song, but continually missing each other:

It’s worth pointing out that the little opening meet-cute was not part of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s original musical; it was added in the 1997 remake. In addition to re-imagining the prince, many contemporary adaptations of the Cinderella story also make significant changes to the representation of how Cinderella and the prince meet.

Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action remake of Cinderella draws on both the Perrault and Grimm variants of the story, but it too departs from the source narratives’ depiction of the prince and his first encounter with Cinderella, among other things:

*** ???? Write a brief paragraph discussing one example of a change to the plot, the characters, or other aspects of the story you noticed between the contemporary adaptations you’ve watched in this lesson and one or more of the classic variants we have read. Why do you think this change was made? How does it influence what the story communicates? How might it make the story more meaningful or appropriate for a contemporary audience?

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