Film ID: YFA 760 Video of YFA_760 Little Cinders LITTLE CINDERS 1952 Visitor TabsDescription This is a story book film with animation made by Jack Eley. It features his daughter Susan who dreams of a fairy who conjures up animated stories. Title: 'Little Cinders' 'A fairy story devised and photographed in kodachrome by John S. Eley' The film begins with a postman knocking on a door which is opened by a small girl, Susan, who takes the post inside. She runs in and shows it to her mother who is knitting. It is a letter which reads: 'Dear Susan, please will you come to my fancy dress party on Saturday April 5th at 3.00 pm. Love, Jennifer.' Her mother nods giving her approval, and the girl marks it on a calendar. They then look through some possible costumes that can be worn to the party. Her mother takes out needle and thread and cuts some cloth to make a costume on a sewing machine. Her mother hand sews on the final pieces before touching up the costume with the iron. The picture of the gypsy costume is shown before Susan models the finished dress. The next day mother goes into the Susan's bedroom to find her daughter still in bed. The mother feels Susan's forehead before phoning for a doctor, who arrives shortly after. The doctor takes the girl's temperature and hands the mother a sick note for school pronouncing that the girl, Susan Eley, has the mumps. Susan looks rather sorry for herself sitting on an armchair in a heavy gown and headscarf. Her mother makes sure she is comfortable before going off to the shops. Susan picks up a Cinderella story book and starts to read it. The camera shows close ups of the pictures in the book before Susan puts it down. The clock on the mantel piece shows 3.30. As Susan gazes into the coal fire, the film image divides into two: Susan on one side, and on the other, her thoughts being brought into life. These show her and her friends in fancy dress at a party. They are blowing up balloons, playing blind man's bluff, dancing, eating and drinking, and having fun. Susan falls asleep in the chair and a fairy appears at her side. The fairy strokes her brow, and Susan wakes up. Susan hands the fairy her invitation to the party and points to her gypsy costume. The fairy then waves her magic wand over Susan who is suddenly transformed into her gypsy costume. The fairy hands Susan a book with 'Programme' written on the front cover and inside, 'The fairy Follies: A special performance for Susan'. Again the fairy waves her magic wand, and the inner doors of the room open onto an animated set with two figures dancing a duet on ice on a stage with a half moon in the background reflected in the pond. Susan opens up to another page, 'Snow Frolics', and there is another animated set of a snowy mountain scene, with figures skiing around a pond, and others skating on the frozen pond. Two snowmen appear before Susan turns to the next page, 'The Enchanted Pool'. This time the set is a dolls house, and a scene showing a wife waving goodbye to her husband from the front door. The husband drives off in his model car down a country lane, with model telephone boxes, until he arrives at a pond with ducks. One of the ducks puts his head under the water to view animated fish. The man starts to fish in the pond, but the fish ignore his worm, until one large fish swallows it and pulls the man into the pond. He floats back to the top, gets out, and drives back home, still wet. Susan again turns a page of the book to, 'au revoir'. It's back to the opening two figures skating on the stage. They take their bows and Susan delightfully claps. The fairy waves her wand again, and the two figures wave goodbye as the camera withdraws from the stage. The curtains close, the door closes, and the fairy and Susan wave goodbye to each other. Susan is shown asleep on the chair, back in her nightgown, waving in her sleep. Her mother returns, wakes her up, and Susan runs over to open the doors, which only reveal the next room behind them. Disconsolate, Susan sits back down, but sees the programme still there. She clutches this and her doll to closely to herself. The film closes with Susan's smiling face turning towards the camera. End Credits: 'Those taking part were: Susan Eley, Janet Pickup, Christine Eley, Jennifer Green, Jane Pearson, Janemary Dunlop, Jane Myers, Lynne Myers, Valerie Hutton, Christine Powell.' Context Delightful is the only way to describe the wonderful animations that appear half way through this charming film. A small girl, filmmaker Jack Eley’s daughter Susan, misses her friend’s birthday party due to having mumps. Upon falling asleep, she has a vivid dream of a fairy appearing and bringing to life the fairy stories in a book. For an amateur of this time, the stop motion animation is of a very high order. Jack Eley was a major player in the very active Leeds Cine Club in the 1950s and ‘60s, making films over nearly fifty years, from 1932 up until 1980. He rarely took typical family home movies, but preferred to make accomplished documentaries, along with a few comedies. Fairy tales lent themselves to stop motion animation, although around this time this was a form mainly found in Europe, and usually using puppets rather than cut outs. Eley may have been inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s wonderful short, The Story of Hansel and Gretel, of 1951, or even by the amazing cut out silhouette animations of Lotte Reiniger, who settled in England after the war.