A Kiss for Cinderella is more than just a child’s fantasy. The name is actually referring to a silent film produced in 1925. Directed by Herbert Brenon, the film stars Betty Bronson, Esther Ralston, and Tom Moore.
The story is based on a 1916 play in which Cinderella, a servant girl who believes in fairies is suspected of aiding the enemy. Ultimately, she is cleared of all suspicion but only with the diligent help of many mice, a pumpkin, and her own dreams. All of this is acted out both on stage as a play in the original 1916 version of, A Kiss for Cinderella, as well as the 1925 version on the silver screen.
The limited success of the 1924 release, Peter Pan, included director Herbert Brenon and actress Betty Bronson. Both J.M. Barrie plays, A Kiss for Cinderella, is different from Peter Pan in that Bronson plays Jane, a poor London servant caring for orphans suffering through economic hardship and emotional deprivation only alleviated by the power of her own imagination.
Through her dreams, Jane lives inside of her own fantasy world where she is Cinderella. She knows that one day soon she will receive the invitation to the Prince’s ball and that will free her from poverty in London wartime. Even these dark days are no match for Jane’s imagination which will take you too on a luminous ride through charming stories played by Betty Bronson.
A Kiss for Cinderella 1916 – The Play
The play, written by James M. Barrie was first produced on Broadway in 1916. Originally starring Maude Adams the play opened on Christmas Day, 1916 at the Empire Theatre in New York. After 152 performances it was made into a silent feature film, A Kiss for Cinderella, by Paramount Pictures starring Betty Bronson.
Basically, the story of a poor girl in London taking care of small children as she wishes for more is the same in both the play and the film. Dreaming of a better life that includes a handsome Prince Charming, Jane manifests her dreams into reality and gets out of her impoverished state in the film, however, the story is slightly different on stage.
A Kiss for Cinderella 1925 – The Movie
This black and white silent film evokes a fantasy world so complete it may take you away. As Betty Bronson takes on the persona of Cinderella in her imagination, she falls asleep waking to find that her dream has become reality. Then, as she finds herself in the arms of a policeman (Prince Charming) Bronson takes on new dimensions. Her stunning performance rivals another title role – Peter Pan.
Despite its fairytale sounding title, A Kiss for Cinderella, is not a happy film. Silent audiences of the time may have struggled to find a way to take in the film without revealing their disappointment in this fact.
Overall, the importance of fantasy may be the most valuable lesson of this layered silent film as financially it was considered a failure. Today, the film is well-known as a wonderful release by Paramount and worth investing in. Regardless, A Kiss for Cinderella is remarkable that deserves your attention. Even if it was not appreciated in its own time, it is one of the most beloved films of the silent era due to its undeniable charm.
If you watch both the play and the movie you may notice that the first half of the film is very similar to the stage play. Although, in the film, Bronson is supported by a talented cast and so she is able to command the role more easily. Film renditions of, A Kiss for Cinderella, oftentimes fall short of this level of acting. Either way, you will enjoy every minute of this great fantasy classic.
A Kiss for Cinderella: The Play & The Movie and More …
Today, you may find that the black and white silent film, A Kiss for Cinderella, is just what you need to take your mind away. There are a very few films today that have the same ability to capture your attention in a way that is so visually soothing and imaginatively stimulating.