“Like Snow White and Briar Rose, Cinderella has befriended small animals and birds, which demonstrates her gentle nature.
“But Cinderella shares a closer bond with them than the other Disney Princesses. She not only feeds them, she makes little clothes for them and gives them names.
“In return they work harder to help her, altering her mother’s old dress for her to wear to the Prince’s ball.
“At the climax of the film, Gus and Jaq steal the key form the stepmother’s pocket and carry it up the toweing Hitchcockesque staircase to free her from her garret.
“Veteran animator Ward Kimball, who helped to design the mice, said ‘That was a lot of fun because that was the first time we based a character on a caricature of the real thing.
‘We tried to give the mice little, pointed noses and whiskers and mouse ears, and that was quite a breakthrough, especially after years of drawing a mouse like Mickey. It pointed up the value of caricaturing the real thing’ ” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, pgs. 64, 68.
“But for all their charm and hard work, the mice are largely eclipsed by Lucifer, the stepmother’s spoiled, conniving cat, who wants to make a meal out of the plump Gus. Kimball animated the cat in a broad, cartoony style that Eric Goldberg compareds to ‘a1940s cat-ad-mouse-cartoon.’
“He’s a greedy, lazy cat who is the embodiment of the stepsisters’ indulgences,’ says Brad Bird. ‘It’s a bigger, blowsier caricature of a fat cat. Everybody knows a cat like that, one that just sits around and gets fatter by the day.” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, p. 68.
” ‘Even though the movements of the humans are treated more realistically, their designs and those of the mice and Lucifer are all from the same world,’ adds Mark Henn. ‘That’s always the key. If everything feels lie it’s from the same world, it should work. Cinderella is a really well-designed movie.’ ” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, p. 68.