A Kiss for Cinderella
“Fortunately, the initial success of Peter Pan (see Jan. 17 matinee) caused Paramount to reunite Betty Bronson and director Herbert Brenon in another Barrie adaptation, A Kiss for Cinderella (1926), before the disappointing box-office performance of Peter Pan, once it had left the Christmas holiday showcases, provided the tip-off that Barrie whimsy was not a generally popular commodity. A Kiss for Cinderella was a masterpiece. Eminently superior to Peter Pan, though lacking its popular appeal, it had sophistication and an underlying sadness that meant that the more it was understood, the less popular it was likely to be. This time Brenon took full advantage of the film medium, and the large stages of Paramount's Long Island studio enabled him to bring to life the exaggerated, luxury-for-its-own-sake view of royalty and court life as seen through the eyes of a Cockney slavey. Few films, perhaps only Jean Cocteau's 1947 La Belle et la Bete, have caught the genuine flavor of fairy-tale magic as beautifully as this one. The production design was stunning yet tasteful, full of lovely touches impossible in the theater: the lamp-posts bowing to Cinderella on her way to the ball, a transformation from pumpkins and mice to gold coach and horses that even outdid the galleon scene in Peter Pan, and the utilizing of a camera mounted on a moving and revolving platform to capture, first, the grace of the ball and then its speeded-up chaos as midnight strikes and Cinderella's spell is broken. The film contains a great deal of typically Barrie wit and humor, which Englishman Brenon understood and translated magnificently; but the overriding quality is one of pathos.” --W.K.E.