Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Three Nuts for Cinderella

My wife's family insisted that I watch this Czech Cinderella film from the 70's. I wasn't too keen on it, because watching Ever After too many times at the insistence of various females has turned me off to that particular fairy tale. But Three Nuts for Cinderella was a delightful surprise.

The plot is your basic Cinderella story except this time she has three magic hazelnuts that grant her wishes instead of a fairy godmother. This Cinderella is also a tomboy who is an excellent rider, tree climber, and hunter, (Did the tomboy motif originate with the Czech?) and, of course, she has the smallest feet in the land.

Three Nuts for Cinderella doesn't take itself seriously and thus has none of the pretension that kills most fairy tale films. The actors have fun with the material and each other. A good example of this is the final scene where the prince attempts to find the girl who belongs to the slipper he retrieved, and the ugliest peasant women mock him by presenting their feet and laughing. It's a disrespectful, hilarious scene without being biting or harsh, and the prince bears it well.

The actors deliver strong performances but often seem as if they're playing a stage instead of acting to a camera. The devious stepmother and her daughter are truly villainous, but not enough to dampen the light mood of the film. The actress who plays Cinderella is the most cheerful face I've seen on a screen. I also enjoyed the repartee and camaraderie of the prince and his goofball friends (the real "three nuts" of the film).

I'm having a hard time thinking of something I didn't like about Three Nuts for Cinderella. As long as you approach it as nothing more than good, clean, escapist fun; what's not to like? The only drawback, as with all fairy tales, is it offers no new perspectives on the reality those of us who aren't Cinderella have to face.

If you love fairy tales or are just looking for something that you and your girlfriend can tolerate, rent this movie. If you like to interact with your movies by spouting sophomoric quips, this one is priceless. I recommend this movie for anyone who doesn't mind reading subtitles wants to to veg out and enjoy some clean fun.

Apparently this film has a cult following. Check out this fansite.

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