What beloved movie from your childhood holds up just as well today? And which one doesn’t?
We (my family) were animal lovers, something encouraged by living in San Diego where we frequently visited the world class San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Safari Park. I also grew up in a household ruled by Disney. As a family, we also loved cartoons.
The beloved movies from my childhood would be “Old Yeller” and the 1942 “Bambi.” I still tear up during the last moments of “Old Yeller” despite the acting that marks the movie as family entertainment. “Old Yeller” was based on a 1956 novel by Fred Gipson.
The animators on “Bambi” studied the structure and movement of animals and used Tyrus Wong’s impressionistic backgrounds which had more detail in the center to draw attention to the center of the action. “Bambi” lost money during its original release, but when it was re-released in 1947, it found its audience. This animated feature showed that cartoons can bring to life stories and portray tragedy with such emotional impact that I still ache when I think of the death of Bambi’s mother.
After seeing “Bambi,” I went on to read the 1923 book (first published in English in 1928) “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” which is more heartbreaking than the animated movie. I went on to read other books about deer and other animals.
The movie that doesn’t hold up as well would be Disney’s 1950 animated feature “Cinderella.” As a child the thought of a magic fairy godmother who could sweep away your problems and find you a husband to solve all your problems seems ideal when you’re under 10 and still think marriage is about dressing up, playing house and a chaste kiss. It would be wonderful if I could train house mice to make me ballroom gowns, too, and if I could ride in a coach that was once a pumpkin. While I still have affection for pumpkins, I no longer have the same affection for Cinderella.
Since I was a child, I learned that the Cinderella syndrome is a term used to refer to parasites, the Cinderella effect refers to the theory that stepparents tend to be more abusive toward their step offspring and and Cinderella complex refers to women who is afraid of independence and wants to be taken care of by others, particularly a man. Attempting to embrace meritocracy, I find the concepts of aristocracy and better by merit of birth as part of social Darwinism. Now that the Disney princess has become a commercial brand, I find Cinderella part of a crass and less than magical movement.
Here’s a different type of Cinderella Complex: