Monday, July 26, 2010

Once Upon A Time…We lost the originals…

The book is always better than the movie, right? But sometimes I find that it’s not just better. It’s outright wildly different.
Personally, the most interesting cases I find are original fairytales. All of us have probably seen Disney’s version of them somewhere close to a hundred times each. ;) But haven’t you ever wanted to know what the original Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Cinderella was like? Okay, so maybe that’s just me. You might be interested, however, to know how different they are and what we lost in translation.
The differences can be quite amusing in their weirdness. The older and more obscure version of Cinderella sports a number of unique moments. For instance, she didn’t just have two wicked sister. She had a Cyclops and a Triclops for sisters. The Cinderella character’s name is actually “Two Eyes.” She was very common looking. ;) “Beauty” from Beauty and the Beast, wasn’t an only child taking care of her father. She was the youngest of six children, several of whom are turned to statues by the end of the story.
Often the most striking difference is the motivation and desires of the main characters. A fairy godmother didn’t show up to give Cinderella a beautiful dress just in time for the dance. She came to provide her with food. Cinderella, as it turns out, was starving to death. And the Little Mermaid didn’t want to become a human because a prince was waiting for her on the beach. She was distraught over the fact that humans can go to heaven when they died whereas mermaids became nothing more than sea foam.
I can naturally see why Disney changed things. After all, singing mice probably work a whole lot better than the goat in the real Cinderella story…Let’s just say he didn’t make it to the end. And it’s much nicer to say the price for the Little Mermaid to achieve two legs was simply her voice…Instead of severe pain with every step. But too often when changes were made the point of the original stories was lost in the hustle of all those colorful ball gowns.
“Love conquers all” is never really the issue. “Happily-ever-after” in the sense we say it today actually seems vacant next to the originals.
The real Beauty and the Beast ends with the line, “and their happiness, as it was founded on virtue, was complete.” The Little Mermaid’s happiness only comes when the angels whisk her away to heaven.
As for “Cinderella?” Well, going off to the live in the castle with the prince is not the end of the story. Before the final page could turn she forgave her sisters for all the horrible things they’d done and took them to live in the palace with her. Only then, could she really say, “And they lived happily ever after.”

15 comments:

Melanie said...

How interesting!! I didn't know the original stories to those fairytales!
I love love love Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and always get a kick out of Jack-Jack and Gus-Gus in "Cinderella", but you have made me want to read the original stories too.

Diane said...

When I took Russian in school she talked about their fairy tales and I think none of them had a happily ever after. Everybody just dies... :O)

Rosebud said...

Wow, that is really interesting.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Melanie: Beauty and the Beast is still my favorite Disney fairytale...It's a book lover's movie. ;)
The orignals are very good. Personally, my favorite is "One eye, Two eye, Three eye" otherwise known as Cinderella. LOL

Diane: LOL I think a lot of Russian work is darker than the rest of the world. ;)

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Rose Bud: Thanks. And Thanks for stopping by. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you Emily! I hadn't read the original Cinderella, but I have read several different versions of that story, including an Egyptian one that is supposedly one of the originals. I think it is amazing how that particular story shows up in cultures all over the world throughout history.

I have to admit, I am thankful to Disney for making a remake of The Little Mermaid story. I saw an awful animated version of it on tv as a kid, and sobbed my eyes out. Then I read the original and realized that the end was happier than the tv show, because in the tv show she just turned into sea foam, and "that's where sea foam comes from" - what?! However, I like the fun of the Disney version as well.

Fairy tales in all their versions are fascinating, partly because of what they tell us about our culture and our faith lives.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info! You learn something new everyday:)
Blessings,
Karen :)

Karen said...

Wow, I didn't know that!! Thanks, great stuff.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Emily -

I had no idea the originals were so different from the movies. The said part is if moviegoers don't read the book, they'll think it's accurate.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Tyrean: I agree, there is so much to learn about the cultures and time areas the originals were written in. That version of TLM sounds awful! Disney did do some good things. ;) I personally still love his version of B&TB. :)

Karen L: Yes, and you never know what you're going to learn. LOL

Karen: Thanks. This is just my own personal brand of fun. :)

Susan: I wish more people would read the books behind the movies. They miss so much!!

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Jill Kemerer said...

How interesting! I had no idea what the origins of those fairy tales were. Delightful!

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Roberto: Thanks for the notice. :)

Jill: There is always a lot to learn from reading the book! :)

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alfarok said...

Very interesting. You know, that you mention it, my grandpa used to tell me the original versions of these stories when I lived in El Salvador. I found his versions and the Disney version very similar, but I wasn't able to put the two together. I personally found the original version my grandpa use to tell me of greater value than the Disney versions.