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Restored Cinderella Premieres in Hollywood

With a jewel-encrusted carriage parked outside the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Walt Disney premiered the digitally restored print of CINDERELLA. The celebration was in anticipation of the two-disk DVD release of the film, retailing for $29.99, on Oct. 4, 2005. On the same day, Disney will also release a special platinum collectors edition of the film, featuring addition special features and a special booklet on the film for $49.99.

Preceding the screening, fans and pros were treated to a panel discussion, which included Cinderellas voice Irene Woods, voice legends Lucille Bliss (wicked step-sister Anastasia) and June Foray (Lucifer the cat), famed animator Ollie Johnston, Disney animator Andreas Deja as well as John Lowry, who headed up the restoration at DTS.

Woods told the crowd that she landed the role of Cinderella by just doing a favor for songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston. The songwriting duo had been penning tunes for CINDERELLA and asked Woods to cut a demo one night after work. Upon hearing the demo, Walt Disney hired Woods to provide the speaking and singing voice of the character. Woods praised Disney for his imagination and said it was one of the best experiences in her life to work with him.

Bliss and Foray had similar praise for Disney as well. Bliss, at the time, was working in radio in San Francisco and came to L.A. to audition for CINDERELLA. She missed the audition by half and hour, but the person in charge of casting gave her a chance to improvise some voices and dialogue. Upon finishing, the casting director told Bliss, Dear, I believe youll be involved in this picture. For Foray, the film marked her big break into the world of animation. Previously she had been working at Columbia Records, providing silly voices for comedy recordings.

Dejas shared with the audience sketches from the original animators on the film. Legendary Nine Old Man Johnston told the crowd that, we felt all the emotions of the characters It had to come from the heart. Interestingly, one of the early sketches of Cinderella, which Dejas showed, looked more like Tinkerbell.

For the restoration, 4K scans of the original nitrate negative were made. More than 10 million pieces of dirt were eventually removed. The audience was shown a clip, highlighting the difference between the original print and the new restored print, which brightened the picture and made the images more clear.

Lowry said, unlike a typical film restoration, CINDERELLA represents a step further than bringing the image back to the clean look of original prints, but brings it closer to the original cel art by removing dirt and smudges from the original filming process.

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Rick DeMott
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