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date: 23 February 2024

Fairy-Tale Filmsfree

Fairy-Tale Filmsfree

  • Pauline GreenhillPauline GreenhillUniversity of Winnipeg


Films incorporating fairy-tale narratives, characters, titles, images, plots, motifs, and themes date from the earliest history of the cinema, beginning with director Georges Méliès’s Le manoir du diable made in 1896, the year after Auguste and Louis Lumière’s first public showing of their “cinematograph” in Paris in 1895. Fairy tales can be oral (told by people in different geographical locations and at various historical times up to the present) and/or literary (created by known authors) in origin, but they manifest in numerous media, including film. While the Disney formula of innocent persecuted heroines, handsome princes, and happy-ever-afters has dominated popular understandings of such narratives (at least in the English-speaking world), fairy tales need not contain these elements. They concern the fantastic, the magical, the dark, the dreamy, the wishful, and the wonderful.

Short and feature length, animated and live action, produced in film stock, video, and digital formats, fairy-tale films have appeared in movie theaters and more recently on television and computer screens. Using Kevin Paul Smith’s classification for literary fairy tales, fairy-tale filmic intertexts can include explicit reference in the title—for example, Duane Journey’s Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (2013); implicit reference in the title—for example, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar’s Mirror Mirror (2012); explicit incorporation into the text—as when Micheline Lanctôt’s Le piège d’Issoudun (2003) includes a play of “The Juniper Tree”; implicit incorporation into the text—as when Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) has the mechanical child David’s human mother abandon him in the woods, as do Hansel and Gretel’s parents; discussing fairy tales, as in the “Once Upon a Crime” episode of the American television show Castle (2009–2016), when the writer and police talk about what fairy tales really mean; and invoking fairy-tale chronotopes (settings and/or environments)—as in the portions of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) set in the heroine Ofelia’s father’s magical kingdom. Alternatively, filmmakers may re-vision a story, sometimes with new spin, as when Matthew Bright’s Freeway 2 (1999) relocates “Hansel and Gretel” to 1990s America, with two delinquent teen girls fleeing to Mexico, or may create an entirely new tale—like Pan’s Labyrinth, not based on any specific previous literary or traditional fairy tale. This article focuses on the cinema—movies made for theatrical and/or video release—but draws on television and Internet films when they offer telling illustrations. Most examples are from English-language media.

Although classic works like director Jean Cocteau’s La belle et la bête (1946) have received considerable attention from cinema studies and the fairy-tale structural analysis of Vladimir Propp (1968) has greatly influenced film analysis, only since the beginning of the 21st century has fairy-tale scholarship merged with film scholarship. Scholars of fairy-tale film often consider adaptation and intermediality in cinematic versions of tales. This article uses the example of director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar’s The Fall (2007), which draws on and references fairy-tale magic to collapse, expand, and generally fictionalize time and space to invoke the postmodern and postcolonial as well as the transnational and transcultural.


  • Children’s Literature
  • Film, TV, and Media

Fairy-tale films’ continuing appeal may be illustrated by the Walt Disney Company’s many highly successful adaptations, though they do not comprise, define, or even set the standards for fairy-tale films internationally. Yet even these works are by no means univocal or identical. They range from Walt Disney’s own bizarre 1922 short animation of Little Red Riding Hood; to the game-changing 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which installed the well-made fairy-tale film as a sequence of incidents, songs, experiences, conflicts, and reversals, with a magical resolution; to the racist, sexist literary fairy-tale renditions of Peter Pan in 1953 and The Little Mermaid in 1989; to the 1991 attempt at a strong heroine in Beauty and the Beast; to the moves to live action in the reflexive 2007 pastiche Enchanted and the 2014 (faux) feminist re-vision Maleficent.1

Especially in its recent live-action works, Disney—like its hitherto rivals, including the Shrek films and Pixar Animation Studios (which Disney now owns)—codes visual and verbal content for sly, alternative reading by the adults who take their kids to the movies, paying equal attention to the grown-up and to the ostensibly innocent, apparently primary child viewer.2 However, many other recent fairy-tale films do not presume an audience mainly or even primarily comprising children. Distinctly adult narratives include, for example, film versions of and riffs on “Little Red Riding Hood” exploring pedophilia. Some such independent productions have gained a measure of success and/or cult status, like Matthew Bright’s Freeway and Nicole Kassell’s The Woodsman.3 Similarly, “Hansel and Gretel”–themed films from across the world signally explore the causes and consequences of harms to children. These include German director Christoph Hochhäusler’s Milchwald, Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam’s Grimm, Korean director Pil-Sung Yim’s Hansel & Gretel, and Canadian director Danishka Esterhazy’s H & G.4 Some adventurous filmmakers move beyond standards like “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Hansel and Gretel,” seeking less well-known narratives, including ones that diverge from the stereotypes found in too many Disney and other mainstream children’s fairy-tale films. Many offer alternatives in terms of gender roles as well as plot devices.

For example, Tom Davenport’s Mutzmag (from his series “From the Brothers Grimm,” which draws on Appalachian versions of international traditional tale types), eschews the conventional fairy-tale princess, wicked stepmother, and rescuing handsome prince.5 Though the generic titles of the tale types on which Davenport’s film is based, called “The Brothers and the Ogre” and “The Boy Steals the Ogre’s Treasure,” suggest male primary characters, many versions of these stories, like Mutzmag, have plucky, adventurous female heroes, after whom they are often named. Whether she is called Mutsmag, Molly Whuppie, Mally Whuppie, or Muncimeg, this tomboyish protagonist outsmarts and defeats dangerous, evil adversaries in the form of male or female ogres, giants, and/or witches.6 She solves complicated problems both within and outside her expected domestic context, using her intelligence, knowledge of character, powers of observation, and unlikely tools and materials like a handful of pepper, a penknife, and a bag of salt. In Davenport’s film, she begins as less feminine than her sisters and less concerned than they are with girly appearances and appurtenances and ends as a more feminized but still independent and apparently unmarried young woman. Mutzmag, like many other male and female fairy-tale heroes, improves her social position, but unlike most of her female counterparts, she does so without resorting to a heterosexual relationship; instead, she earns it through wit and stealth, as male heroes generally do.

Adapted from a much more somber international wonder tale (a potentially more accurate term for most fairy tales, since great numbers of them actually have no fairies in them), both Nietzchka Keene’s The Juniper Tree and Micheline Lanctôt’s Le piège d’Issoudun offer re-visions of the Grimm version of the tale type “The Juniper Tree.”7 In the Grimms, a stepmother kills her stepson, his father eats a stew made of the child, and his stepsister gathers the bones and buries them under a tree, from which a miraculous bird appears. The creature sings the story of the murder and, after executing the stepmother by dropping a millstone on her, changes into the hitherto dead stepson. The siblings and father reunite happily. Keene’s historical, realist film sets the story in medieval Iceland but leaves out the magical transformation and offers an ambivalent ending. Two sisters flee the region where their mother has been burned for witchcraft. The elder marries a widower, whose son is immediately suspicious of her. But the younger sister bonds with the child over their shared grief at their mothers’ deaths. Eventually the pregnant stepmother taunts the child, and he falls from a cliff and dies. She flees, but at the film’s end her husband goes in search of her with the apparent intention of resuming their relationship.

Where Keene’s Juniper historicizes and localizes the tale in an obviously non–North American setting, featuring Iceland’s desolate lava fields and spectacular waterfalls, Lanctôt’s Issoudun sets the narrative in contemporary urban Quebec, Canada. On a wintry day, a mother dresses her two children and herself in warm, constricting clothing and jumps into her backyard pool with them. They drown, but her suicide fails. In shock, she speeds along a highway, trying again to kill herself. She is stopped by a police officer, who eventually agrees to drive her home. Their intense interactions en route reveal little about the mother’s motivation for the murder/suicide, beyond her extreme fears. Issoudun also explicitly links to “The Juniper Tree” in a staged presentation of the traditional narrative that punctuates the film. The stark grey scenes of a Canadian winter contrast with the play’s bright reds. The actors who represent the primary characters in the realistic narrative enact their play counterparts of stepmother and father, respectively.

Recent work in English addresses fairy-tale films beyond North America and Europe and beyond Disney.8 Fairy-tale films have always been international (that is, created all over the world) and sometimes multinational (that is, created in multiple different countries, like The Fall, discussed later) and/or intercultural (drawing on and referencing more than one cultural/linguistic group, like Grimm).9 In their national/cultural contexts, they may offer politically compliant propaganda or coded resistant and subversive messages.10 Films (in productions from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia and successor states, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Oman, Singapore, the Soviet Union and successor states, Spain, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) on the Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights, translated into French by Antoine Galland in 1704–1717, are particularly telling for their sometimes highly Orientalist, sometimes (inter)culturally sensitive perspectives.11

Variation, Adaptation, and Intermediality in Fairy Tales and Fairy-Tale Films

As the two films of “The Juniper Tree” demonstrate, cinematic versions of fairy tales can radically diverge. But extreme variation is a hallmark of all fairy tales, not only those represented in film. Indeed, traditional oral fairy tales—Märchen—have long been understood by folklorists as paradoxically both culturally specific and transnational, both historically given and timeless. For example, versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” published by the Brothers Grimm in the first and last editions of their Children’s and Household Tales, 1812 and 1857, respectively, have Grandmother and Red rescued from the wolf, while other versions leave both female characters dead or show Red rescuing herself.12 The child character may be a boy, not a girl.13 Hans-Jörg Uther’s The Types of International Folktales points to Finnish-Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Wepsian/Karelian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Irish, French, Portuguese, Flemish, Walloon, German, Italian, Sardinian, Hungarian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Greek, Polish, Byelorussian, Turkish, Gypsy, Jewish, Mordvinian, Jordanian, Iranian, US-American, Puerto Rican, West Indian, Egyptian/Algerian, Central African, and South African versions.14 Each, despite differences of language and cultural surround, recognizably reproduces the story of a child, often wearing distinctive clothing, who ventures into a wood and meets a malevolent figure who pursues and seeks to devour her/him, sometimes successfully and sometimes thwarted.

That a tale traveling across time and place may change language, primary character, evil nemesis, and conclusion as it does so is hardly surprising; culture is a priori mutable. But the reasons for the same wonder stories being sufficiently relevant to reappear with more or less the same contours across vast diversities of time and space seems more mysterious. Explanations offered by fairy-tale scholars range from the assertion that (some) fairy tales are memes—units of culture carried in the human mind to be transmitted genetically (for some scholars) or socially (for others)—to the idea that fairy-tale subjects attend to recurring issues common across societies and cultures, from making and breaking kinship relations to seeking appropriate food to avoiding dangers and much more.

Thus, the wonder tale’s simultaneous stability and deviation mean that though fairy-tale films are arguably adaptations, offering “acknowledged transposition of a recognizable other work or works … a creative and an interpretive act of appropriation/salvaging … an extended intertextual engagement with the adapted work,” they are also legitimately versions of the tale to which they refer.15 Literary theorist Linda Hutcheon points out that “an adaptation is a derivation that is not derivative—a work that is second without being secondary. It is its own palimpsestic thing.”16 The same is true of fairy tales. For example, early European fairy-tale films were strongly influenced not only by written versions but also by theatrical modes, in particular the féerie or fairy play, which incorporated music, dance, mime, acrobatics, and special effects. In quite another cultural context, early Chinese fairy-tale films documented opera and stage performances. Indeed, it may even be questionable whether or not fairy-tale films are serially intermedial, that they have moved in sequence through different formats and platforms to take cinematic form—or at least that they are any more intermedial than oral, written, or other audiovisual fairy tales. That is, though audiences may understand oral (traditional) and written (literary) wonder tales as primary or original, fairy-tale ideas—whether they are called memes, formulas, structures, or scripts—precede any particular fairy tale’s manifestation, and there is no single direction that their movement through different media must necessarily take.

As fairy-tale films show, any instantiation of a fairy tale (including the oral and literary) can appear to reference ventriloquism (the aim to reproduce an allegedly original, usually written form as closely as possible but in a different medium), genetic transfer (the aim to communicate the essence, if not the actual text, of the apparent original to the adaptation), de(re)composing (which incorporates various cultural narratives, not only the supposedly original written form), and incarnation (the shift “from more abstract to less abstract signs”).17 Most audiences presume that the first version of a fairy tale that they heard, read, or learned is the original, authentic story. Recalling, though, the extreme variation that characterizes versions of fairy tales, what may appear as faithful ventriloquistic reproduction to one audience will look more like genetic transfer, sharing the story’s spirit not its letter, to another. For example, in reaction to Snow White: A Tale of Terror’s having the title character meet a gang of thieves, not dwarfs, in the woods, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) user reviewer taknezek complained, “The dwarfs weren’t even played by real midgets, they were normal size people. That’s just wrong.”18 While, of course, the Disney version of “Snow White,” probably the best known in North America, has its heroine becoming the companion and keeping house for forest dwarfs, some versions do indeed have her encountering robbers, while in others she finds an old man, an old woman, or the prince she will eventually marry.19

Yet visual representation opens many possibilities. Even those films that choose to represent Snow White’s forest companions as dwarfs face issues. Thus the blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman received criticism for casting full-sized actors in the dwarf roles, digitally manipulated or replaced by body doubles.20 That the film used actors who would be relatively familiar to American audiences, such as Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and Nick Frost, indicates its target and concession to commercial appeal. The considerably less self-important and more playful and inventive Mirror Mirror, based on the same story, showed its director’s independent filmmaker roots, including a Bollywood-inspired concluding song-and-dance scene.21 Not only did Tarsem choose little people actors to play the dwarf roles; he also had them as robbers, initially attacking their victims on stilts so they would resemble giants.22

Processes of conscious or unconscious de(re)composing and incarnation can involve less explicit reference to a tale like “Snow White” than Huntsman or Mirror, both of which more or less reproduced the well-known contours of the story. As film theorist Sue Short contends, fairy tales’ inclusion in films can be quite diffuse—allusions to a wicked stepmother, the family home as a locus of danger, or marriage to a Prince Charming as the solution to a young woman’s problems may recall “Snow White”—as well as other well-known fairy tales like “Cinderella”—and thus invoke its associations and those of other wonder tales. The same applies to reversals or inversions of those tropes—a wicked stepfather, the home as a place of safety and danger, or a poor man’s marrying a rich woman as the road to success. In searching out “unusual, wayward and unorthodox examples” says Short, “scope for derailing prior conventions is discerned, whether it be in terms of gender roles, narrative goals, or attendant twists.”23

That process of reference may be conscious or unconscious. In a well-known example of unconscious structuring, David Slade’s Hard Candy—one of several “Little Red Riding Hood” films addressing pedophilia—the filmmakers identified links to the fairy tale only after the movie was complete.24 In retrospect, the idea of a young girl’s being lured by a predator (“wolf”) recalls not only the hypotext but also other “Little Red Riding Hood” pedophile crime media.25 Recognizing the value of that connection, of course, the producers used it to merchandise the film, including a poster showing a young girl in a red hoodie.26 Predictably, audiences most familiar with the Grimm story and its rescuing woodsman saw Hard Candy as a re-vision of the traditional narrative, where some noted its affinity with other versions in which the main character escapes and survives thanks to her own quick thinking and resourcefulness.

Magic and Wonder in Fairy-Tale Films: Heterospatiality and Heterotemporality

“Wonder is the effect [fairy] tales seek to achieve, while magic is the means they employ to attain this goal.”27 The role of magic (the representation of the preternatural) in fairy tales varies. Sometimes it transforms things or people, like hedgehog to human; sometimes it conjures objects, like food from a sack; sometimes it simply links the unlikely together, as when a cat not only speaks human language but does so with remarkable persuasiveness and style. From the earliest days of cinema, live-action films could render such wonders (the phenomena that result from magical representation) using techniques like stop motion and dubbing. Of course, the representation of magic in animation can be even less restrictive, theoretically limited mainly by the animator’s imagination. But much fairy-tale magic often involves transcending time and space. Think, for example, of those magical helpers who can eat a banquet in a trice or cover seven leagues in one step, respectively compressing what is physically possible in time or what is physically possible in space. Films, like fairy tales, transcend time and space. Though they are created in particular time(s) and space(s), films’ (magical) effect is to reproduce a more or less coherent and seamless account over a relatively short time of something that may have taken weeks, months, or even years to actually produce. Further, the represented spaces invariably compress physically diverse locations via compositing and/or editing to create apparently seamless places of the imagination.

Thus, both films (as visual fictions) and fairy tales offer what could be called heterospatiality—they invoke but also obscure their multiple locations and places of creation and transmission.28 Fairy tales often display the residue of the places they have traveled to become any specific instantiated text. For example, familiar versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” show a European wood inhabited by wolves and visited by woodsmen and little girls. Moving the tale to a South American rain forest setting might require some ingenuity—but probably not a great deal! Any oral telling manifests in a single sociocultural and performance context, declaimed by a performer to an audience (who may or may not be involved in the narrations) in a specific location.

Of course, the story need not narrate the place in which its telling is physically set, or magical and imagined locales would be impossible. Katharine Galloway Young calls “a realm of events not present to the storytelling occasion at all but conjured up for the occasion by the story” the Taleworld.29 Fairy tales invoke the presence of the Taleworld by using well-recognized framing formulae like “once upon a time” to open; they may also use “and they lived happily ever after” to close.30 But the presence of such formulae and of particular kinds of structures, characters, situations, and acts indicates what Young calls a Storyrealm. That is, the listeners understand that whatever the other circumstances of the performance context may be, what is being narrated is a story—rather than another genre of speech like a lecture, a sermon, or even a conversation. The Storyrealm sets up a series of discursive expectations. The time of the Storyrealm is arguably the here and now, the time when the story is being told. The Taleworld could be the present (and it often is in fairy-tale films), but it need not be, and it is always in some sense radically other than the Storyrealm. Parallels can be seen in written fairy tales, including literary tales. A written publication is paratextually located with a publisher and publishing location (a kind of literary Storyrealm). Again, almost invariably literary fairy tales specifically narrate another space, often one that is imaginary and/or in literal terms nowhere.

Film heterospatiality includes analogues to the Taleworld in the world being represented on screen, but it also invokes a Storyrealm in its use of extra-diegetic devices—those that are not intended to be taken as a literal part of the world represented in the movie—for instance, voice-overs, dramatic sound effects, or mood music. The latter should not be understood as actually being heard by characters in the film; they take place in a specific location that is phenomenologically between the actual theater or other place where the viewer is watching the film and its Taleworld. Further, as already discussed, the physical locations in which the film is created—whether a sound stage or back lot or a place more conventionally inhabited and traversed in the everyday—can be multiple. Of course, the latter places, called “locations,” need not be the “place[s] where the film’s fictional events are set.”31 In the case of fairy-tale films, locations in the world often serve to represent fictional, even wondrous spaces. These techniques, of course, are by no means limited to fairy-tale films alone.

Similarly, fairy tales are heterotemporal—they invoke the time of their telling or publication but also the (imaginary) time of their narratives.32 Films—again, all films—too, begin in particular moments and are often created in multiple locations and over a brief or more extended interval, while their finished product (also displayed in a specific time, which may be continuous or discontinuous) invokes another narrative time, often but not always sequential. The movie The Fall shows how their heterotemporal dimensions can make fairy-tale films the location not only for the modern (as film theorist Kristian Moen argues for early fairy-tale film) but also for the postmodern and postcolonial, and their heterospatial aspects can manifest not only the national but also the transnational and indeed the transcultural.33 The Fall collapses, expands, and generally fictionalizes time and space by drawing on and referencing fairy-tale magic.

The Fall

This movie tellingly addresses the magic and science of filmmaking. Highly metacinematic, a film about films and filmmaking, it is also about the magic and science of telling stories, including oral telling, and the spinning of narrative wonders of various kinds via fairy-tale magic, often understood in terms of its characters’—Roy, a stunt player injured in a fall on a movie set, and Alexandria, an immigrant child worker injured in a fall in the California orange groves—creative dreams and imaginations. Visual illusions and multiple perspectives abound. The Fall offers homage after homage to a wide array of filmmakers, again across time and space, from Andrei Tarkovsky to Roman Polanski, and the movie is itself based on Bulgarian Zako Heskija’s Yo ho ho.34

The Fall’s singular conditions of production are arguably themselves postmodern and postcolonial. Director Tarsem was born in India, grew up in Iran, and attended film school in California. His work as director of commercials and music videos facilitated this extreme example of heterospatiality and heterotemporality, filmed in more than twenty countries over a time span of four and a half years.35

As Tarsem explains in various interviews and in his director’s commentary, his career helped finance The Fall and enabled him to travel around the world to scout for locations and to find an actress for the main character. His professional travels also proved fruitful once production began, as he saved time and money by flying the actors to the location of a commercial shoot and using the same crew to shoot his film. In fact, he reportedly chose his commercial projects on the basis of whether the geographic location might also be used for his film.36

This live-action movie opens with a sepia-and-white-toned, slow-motion, multiple-cut sequence of what the audience later learns represents the aftermath of an unsuccessful movie stunt from early-20th-century cinema, in which a horse dies and the stunt performer is seriously injured. There is no diegetic sound; the somber A-minor second movement from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony provides the musical backdrop. The metacinematic levels are multiple. Though the invisibility of the primary creator of the illusion—that is, the absence of a visible camera—can usually be taken for granted in films, even in documentaries that purport to present reality, the filming of a stunt presents illusion upon illusion. For example, generally a stunt player stands in for the main actor, and any safety apparatus is obscured using camera angles or removed in post-production. Thus, at the very least, this complex scene from The Fall represents an illusion of the past (its own status as fiction signaled by the smooth extra-diegetic music and staccato images of panic in reaction to the ostensible accident), of the representation of a diegetic reality (the accidental fall), conducted in the service of an illusion (the stunt as performed by the stunt player), which itself sought to convey part of another fictional narrative (the jump from a bridge onto a horse). The exact content of the diegetic film story turns out to be irrelevant to The Fall’s plot, though its circumstances and consequences are momentous.

In this opening, without entering the realm of fairy tale, director Tarsem immediately begins playing with notions of fiction and nonfiction, illusion and authenticity, and wonders and reality. When Moen says early film fairy tales “negotiated the modern world,” rendering modernism and modernity through “highlighting the marvels of technology, the enchantments of consumer culture, the transformative potentials of social mobility and other apparently wondrous facets of modern life” in “instability and spectacular wonder,” he could have been talking about The Fall, though he actually referenced the much earlier, also live-action films: Méliès, Cinderella, Maurice Tourneur’s The Blue Bird, Raoul Walsh’s The Thief of Bagdad, and so on.37 Arguably, recent fairy-tale films, like The Fall, go beyond the acts Moen outlines, representing postmodernism’s criticism, deconstruction, and fragmentation not only of fairy tales and their contents but also of their contemporary societies and cultures.

Tarsem repeatedly draws attention to the apparent magic of filmmaking and the illusions of the visual, beginning early in the film by, through the eyes of the primary child character, Alexandria, showing a camera obscura image, ostensibly created by light passing through a keyhole, giving an upside-down image of a horse and cart; then presenting the same image right side up framed by a door; then displaying its shadow on a wall.38 The director often shows scenes that manifestly emerge from Alexandria’s own perspective (as opposed to that of the ostensibly absent, omniscient, voyeur camera): the child looking at a photograph first with one eye, then the other, offering slightly different images of the same picture; peeping through curtains; or doing hand shadows on the wall of the hospital where she is recovering from a broken arm sustained in a fall while picking fruit.39 At the crucial first storytelling scene, the primary adult character, Roy, instructs Alexandria to close her eyes. He asks her what she sees, and when she says she sees nothing, he tells her to rub them so she will see stars, and the image resolves into that of the sparkling night sky over the first scene of the story within the film.

Underlining that the camera’s view of that evolving story is always Alexandria’s perspective, the director shows Roy’s “Indian” character (Jeetu Verma) as South Asian, though for the teller he signifies native North Americans, as indicated by Roy’s use of the term squaw. Since Alexandria has immigrated to California from Europe and worked in the fields with other immigrants, including South Asians, she fails to decode Roy’s Indian as he intended; she sees instead a turbaned warrior. Similarly, Alexandria’s image of the scary soldiers who work for her story’s nemesis, the evil Governor Odious, makes their armor resemble the protection worn by technicians who perform X-rays at the hospital, whom she fears. When a speaker in the story sneezes because Alexandria sneezes, Tarsem shows that both Roy and Alexandria craft the narrative. The director plays with the child’s time and perspective, often continuing to show images from the story Roy has been telling, even when the dialogue suggests that he has moved on, especially when Alexandria does not want him to halt his narration.

At times, arguably, this Alexandria-eye view breaks down; perhaps it is unlikely that a child of her age and background, laboring in the California orange groves, would call up images of the great pyramids at Giza, the Eiffel Tower, or the Great Wall of China (among the many international locations Tarsem visually quotes). Indeed, it is improbable that most of the locations in which he shoots would have been visited by most of the film’s audience, even if they can identify the stepwell Chand Baori, in Jaipur, India, to give only one example:

He deployed traditional editing techniques instead of visual effects. Indeed, the fast, fluid editing that weaves together numerous shots of visually stunning locations reinforces his point that geographic mobility is the real impetus propelling the story forward. Tarsem also stresses that no digital visual effects were used. Instead, he relied on the combination of shooting in remote locales and carefully positioned camera angles to make the setting look exotic and unfamiliar, and in some cases, almost otherworldly.40

Tarsem’s use of these (for most people) unknown locations bolsters the fantasy/fairy-tale feel. Though they are real places, they do truly look otherworldly. They create a sense of wonder (the emotion resulting from an encounter with the magical) that may become even stronger when a viewer knows that they actually exist and recognises the barriers to including such geographically dispersed choices and the many ways that camera work renders them marvellous.

The link between reality and fiction was further bolstered because Tarsem worked hard to maintain the illusion for Catinca Untaru, the child who played Alexandria, that then little-known actor Lee Pace, playing Roy, could not walk. This meant deceiving the crew as well as the girl. The director also filmed scenes between Pace and Untaru through a hole in the curtain that surrounded Roy’s bed, seeking to get more spontaneity in their interactions. But deception is also narratively central, since Roy tells Alexandria the epic, continuing story in episodes over several days, to gain her friendship, hoping she will steal morphine, with which he hopes to commit suicide.

One mode for fairy-tale film magic used extensively, and by no means unknown in other film genres, is the doubling of actors in two diegetic roles.41 For example, Emil Hostina, who plays Alexandria’s father, is the first masked bandit, until Alexandria begins imagining Roy as the primary hero character and Pace takes over the role. Robin Smith, who plays the one-legged actor who tries to persuade Roy that having a disability can be an advantage, as it has been for him, also plays Luigi, the explosives expert from the bandit’s band. Another fellow Odious-hater, Otta Benga (Marcus Wesley), is also the kindly ice-delivery worker. And character Roy’s own personal nemesis, the lead actor Sinclair (Daniel Caltagirone), who has stolen his girlfriend, plays Governor Odious. Underlining again Alexandria’s part as narrator (especially when she fears that Roy’s story is veering in directions of which she does not approve), she enters the story, wearing a miniature of the bandit’s outfit, to rescue him and his helpers when they have been captured. Yet at crucial moments, it is clear that Roy is in charge. When his story begins to kill off the beloved helper figures, Alexandria accuses him, “You’re making this up.” But she takes a different tack when Roy seems bent on destroying his own character. Outside the scene, she begs, “Let him live,” but even within it, she cries, “Roy, get up and fight”; she addresses the storyteller himself, not the character. When Roy argues, “He has to die,” she counters, “I don’t believe you.” The doubling of the character crosses the two narratives; when the masked bandit finds the strength to live, so does the frame story’s character Roy—or vice versa.

The film concludes with another story-within-a-story, with the main characters watching a film, apparently at the hospital. This is the silent era, so a violinist plays riffs from Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” Roy is in a wheelchair, suggesting that he is improving, and Alexandria’s voice-over, apparently from the future, indicates that he has gone back to stunt playing. She imagines him in every stunt she sees in a movie. As David Butler puts it, “Fantasy … is liberating but also deceptive with destructive consequences yet, ultimately, instils the potential for redemption.”42 So while the balance of the narrative is about Roy’s attempts at deception, Alexandria does not lose faith in him.

Though it is not based on any specific fairy tale, The Fall incorporates fairy-tale wonder and magic. The inclusion of fictitious versions of real characters like Charles Darwin (Leo Bill) and Alfred Russell Wallace (in the film, a preternaturally brilliant monkey called Wallace, who is the actual source of all of Darwin’s ideas) and real locations (though as indicated earlier, they do not appear as the places they are but instead as part of the imaginative landscapes of Roy’s and Alexandria’s story) serves to create disjunctures for viewers between the Roy/Alexandria story Taleworld and the diegetic Taleworld that surrounds it, arguably the former’s Storyrealm. Clearly, Tarsem draws links between the Taleworlds narrated within the diegesis and the diegetic Storyrealm in which those tales are told, but in creating them, he also connects the multiple times and places in which he filmed.

The illusion of Roy/Alexandria’s co-constructed story as a single narrative is undermined by its geographical and temporal spread. Viewers are simultaneously reminded that fairy-tale magic is illusive and elusive and that current filmmaking magic collapses time and space. Sequences that move seamlessly across geographically widely dispersed locations mimic the mind’s abilities but also create an illusion of a world where all places are equally proximate. The film’s domain is presented as if it were an instantiation of the alleged democratization, seamlessness, effortlessness, borderlessness, and frictionlessness that comes from the Internet and other new media.43 Any space or period can be here and now; though huge and diverse, the world is collapsing into a small, local community. At the same time, though, Tarsem underlines that Roy’s and Alexandria’s realms are very different. Sometimes they literally do not understand or actively misinterpret each other; sometimes their views appear the same but are actually different (as in their views of who is an Indian). The fairy-tale magic and science support Tarsem’s deconstruction of the postcolonial relations that actually and diegeticly underlie his film. Like so much fantasy, fairy-tale films offer very serious stuff.44

Research on Fairy-Tale Films

Though fairy tales, (all) films, and fairy-tale films may indeed share aspects of heterotemporality and heterospatiality, as suggested here, the specifics of the relationships between fairy tales and film are by no means commonly agreed upon and decided. Is the fairy-tale film a genre? It certainly is not conventionally recognized as such, and indeed many films using fairy tales can be linked with other genres, including comedy, fantasy, horror, musical, romance, and science fiction.45 Genres are, of course, malleable and emergent, and yet locating commonalities between such diverse works as La belle et la bête—a close re-creation of French versions of the “Beauty and the Beast” tale type, set in a fairy-tale chronotope; Hansel & Gretel Get Baked—a comedy-horror, real-world-setting re-vision, with elements of the preternatural; and Le piège d’Issoudun—a brutal neorealist re-vision set in present-day Quebec, incorporating a fairy-tale chronotope children’s play based on the Grimm version of “The Juniper Tree,” beyond their fairy-tale connections, is difficult.46 Some, for example, might exclude The Fall because its narrative cannot be directly linked to either an identifiable traditional tale type or a literary fairy tale. Even if one recognizes the plethora of different possible uses enumerated by Kevin Paul Smith, how much reference is sufficient? Does the appearance of one character in a red cape make a “Little Red Riding Hood” film—what Mikel J. Koven calls, rather sardonically, mere “motif-spotting”?47 Or has the fairy tale such a pervasive hold upon cultural imagination that (just about) any film can be traced to it? Indeed, does the perennial application of Vladimir Propp’s fairy-tale formulae to film after film, most without a trace of the Märchen, let alone any magic or wonder(s), confirm the latter?48

The many possible answers to such questions have remained generally unexplored until the 21st century. With a few exceptions, like Duncan J. Petrie and Marina Warner’s Cinema and the Realms of Enchantment: Lectures, Seminars, and Essays by Marina Warner and Others and Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells’s From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture, academic studies in English and French specifically addressing fairy-tale films tend to be articles looking at specific movies like Cocteau’s La belle et la bête.49 Fortunately, work specifically addressing the multiple manifestations of fairy-tale films—cross-cultural, cross-linguistic, and across the world—is now well under way.50

This interest coincides with the release of a number of English-language blockbusters based on well-known tales like “Snow White” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” the results too often misunderstood as innovative for using live action instead of animation and being aimed primarily at adults rather than children, when in fact such films have been produced throughout the history of cinema. Yet the connections are accidental; the emergence of academic interest in fairy-tale films may better be linked to more interdisciplinary perspectives in general and to the increasing legitimacy of studies of what were formerly considered abject topics because of their popularity and mass appeal. Thus, some studies look at the fairy-tale film’s place in specific forms and genres: in horror, such as Short’s Misfit Sisters: Screen Horror as Female Rites of Passage and Walter Rankin’s Grimm Pictures: Fairy Tale Archetypes in Eight Horror and Suspense Films; in anime, such as Dani Cavallaro’s The Fairy Tale and Anime: Traditional Themes, Images, and Symbols at Play on Screen; in fantasy, such as David Whitley’s The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation: From Snow White to WALL-E, Butler’s Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen, and Moen’s Film and Fairy Tales: The Birth of Modern Fantasy; and on television, such as Pauline Greenhill and Jill Terry Rudy’s Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television and Qinna Shen’s The Politics of Magic: DEFA Fairy-Tale Films.51 More general works include Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix’s Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity and Short’s Fairy Tale and Film: Old Tales with a New Spin.52

The theoretical perspectives brought to bear on fairy tales in film have included feminist work, such as that of Cathy Lynn Preston on Ever After, D. Soyini Madison on Pretty Woman, and Allison Craven on the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.53 Postcolonial analyses, signally those of Cristina Bacchilega on the fairy-tale web, are a new area; they counter the Orientalism of many fairy-tale films and studies.54 Queer work, like Anne E. Duggan’s on Jacques Demy, also holds promise for telling investigation, as does work in animal studies.55 The journal Marvels & Tales offers an excellent source for relevant critical works.56 And fairy-tale scholarship has merged with film scholarship from additional perspectives: criminology, cultural studies, discourse analysis, ethnography and autoethnography, folkloristics, historiography, and political economy, among others.57 Which of these perspectives will prevail? With all the recent attention to fairy-tale films—whatever they may actually be—these questions will undoubtedly be the subject of considerable debate for years to come.

Links to Digital Materials

The International Fairy-Tale Filmography is a free, searchable online database. Further information on the fairy-tale films (cinema) discussed here may be found there.

Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity (Greenhill and Matrix) is an edited collection addressing a variety of cinematic examples.

At the Crossroads of Data and Wonder: Algorithmic Visualizations of Fairy-Tales on Television includes a searchable teleography and visualizations of the links between fairy tales and TV genre, among others.

Folktales and Fairy Tales: Translation, Colonialism, and Cinema offers a series of academic papers, including several about fairy-tale film.

From the Brothers Grimm, a series of fairy-tale adaptations made in the 1980s and 1990s by Tom Davenport, presents Appalachian versions of traditional tale types.

Further Reading

  • Bacchilega, Cristina. Fairy Tales Transformed? Twenty-First-Century Adaptations and the Politics of Wonder. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2013.
  • Bell, Elizabeth, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells, eds. From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.
  • Cavallaro, Dani. The Fairy Tale and Anime Traditional Themes, Images and Symbols at Play on Screen. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.
  • Craven, Allison. Fairy Tale Interrupted: Feminism, Masculinity and Wonder Cinema. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, forthcoming.
  • Duggan, Anne E. Queer Enchantments: Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2013.
  • Greenhill, Pauline, and Sidney Eve Matrix, eds. Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2010.
  • Greenhill, Pauline, and Jill Terry Rudy, eds. Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014.
  • Hubner, Laura. Fairytale and Gothic Horror: Uncanny Transformations in Film. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave McMillan, forthcoming.
  • Moen, Kristian. Film and Fairy Tales: The Birth of Modern Fantasy. London: I. B. Tauris, 2012.
  • Pugh, Tison, and Susan L. Aronstein, eds. The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • Rankin, Walter. Grimm Pictures: Fairy Tale Archetypes in Eight Horror and Suspense Films. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.
  • Short, Sue. Fairy Tale and Film: Old Tales with a New Spin. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Smith, Kevin Paul. The Postmodern Fairytale: Folkloric Intertexts in Contemporary Fiction Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Warner, Marina, and Duncan Petrie, eds. Cinema and the Realms of Enchantment: Lectures, Seminars, and Essays by Marina Warner and Others. London: British Film Institute, 1993.
  • Zipes, Jack. The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films. New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Zipes, Jack, Pauline Greenhill, and Kendra Magnus-Johnston, eds. Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney: International Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2016.


  • 1. Little Red Riding Hood (Kansas City: Laugh-O-Gram Studio, 1922), film; David Hand, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 1937), film; Jack Zipes, “The Great Cultural Tsunami of Fairy-Tale Films,” in Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney: International Perspectives, ed. Jack Zipes, Pauline Greenhill, and Kendra Magnus-Johnston (New York: Routledge, 2016), 7–11; Wilfred Jackson, Clyde Geronimi, and Hamilton Luske, Peter Pan (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 1953), film; John Musker and Ron Clements, Little Mermaid (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 1989), film; Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, Beauty and the Beast (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 1991), film; Kevin Lima, Enchanted (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 2007), film; and Robert Stromberg, Maleficent (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Pictures, 2014), film.

  • 2. For example Shrek, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson (Universal City, CA: DreamWorks Studios, 2001).

  • 3. Freeway (Beverly Hills, CA: Kushner Locke, 1996), film; and The Woodsman (USA: Dash Films, 2004), DVD.

  • 4. Milchwald, English title, “[In] This Very Moment” (Germany and Poland: Cine Image, 2003), DVD; Grimm (Amsterdam: Graniet Film BV, 2003), DVD; Hansel & Gretel (Seoul, Korea: Barunson Film Division, 2007), DVD; and H & G (Winnipeg, MB: Red Czarina, 2013), film. See the website.

  • 5. Mutzmag (Delaplane, VA: Davenport Films, 1993), film. See the website.

  • 6. See Michelle Ann Abate, Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History (Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 2008.

  • 7. The Juniper Tree (USA: Independent, 1990), film. Le piège d’Issoudun translates as “Issoudun exit” or “Issoudun trap,” English title Juniper Tree (Montreal: Film Tonic, 2003), DVD.

  • 8. Jack Zipes, The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films (New York: Routledge, 2011); and Zipes, Greenhill, and Magnus-Johnston, eds., Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney.

  • 9. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, The Fall (United States: Googly Films, 2007), DVD. View the trailer.

  • 10. See, for example, Zipes, The Enchanted Screen, 321–348, on Eastern Europe and, in particular, the chapters on British, French, German, Italian, Soviet and post-Soviet, Czech and Slovak, Polish, Chinese, African, Australian, and Latin American films in Zipes, Greenhill, and Magnus-Johnston, eds., Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney.

  • 11. See for films; for analyses, see, for example, Sofia Samatar, “Spectacle of the Other: Recreating A Thousand and One Nights in Film,” in Zipes, Greenhill, and Magnus-Johnston, eds., Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney, 34–47; Marina Warner, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights (London: Chatto and Windus, 2011); and Philip F. Kennedy and Marina Warner, eds., Scheherazade’s Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights (New York: New York University Press, 2013).

  • 12. For the 1812 publication, see Zipes, trans., The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014). For the 1857 edition, see Jack Zipes, trans., The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (New York: Bantam, 2002).

  • 13. For examples of different European versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” see Zipes, The Golden Age of Folk & Fairy Tales: From the Brothers Grimm to Andrew Lang (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2013), 155–177.

  • 14. Hans-Jörg Uther, A Classification and Bibliography, Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004), 224–225.

  • 15. Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation (New York: Routledge, 2006), 8.

  • 16. Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation, 9.

  • 17. Kamilla Elliott, “Literary Film Adaptation and the Form/Content Dilemma,” in Narrative across Media: The Languages of Storytelling, ed. Marie-Laure Ryan (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), 235. I nuance the term original because for traditional fairy tales no truly first version can be known.

  • 18. Michael Cohn, Snow White: A Tale of Terror (London: Polygram Filmed Entertainment, 1997), film; and “Really, Really Bad,” IMDb Reviews & Ratings for Snow White: A Tale of Terror.

  • 19. See Zipes, The Golden Age of Folk & Fairy Tales, 121–153.

  • 20. Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal City, CA: Universal Pictures, 2012), film.

  • 21. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, Mirror, Mirror (Beverly Hills, CA: Relativity Media, 2012), DVD.

  • 22. The director uses Tarsem, Tarsem Singh, and Tarsem Singh Dhandwar as professional names.

  • 23. Sue Short, Fairy Tale and Film: Old Tales with a New Spin (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 15.

  • 24. David Slade, Hard Candy (Seattle: Vulcan Productions, 2005), film.

  • 25. Including, for example, Francesca Lia Block’s short story “Wolf,” from The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold (New York: Harper Collins, 2000), 101–129, and the psychological/horror video game The Path, designed and directed by Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Ghent, Belgium: Tale of Tales, 2009).

  • 26. See the poster, for example, on IMDB.

  • 27. Jan M. Ziolkowski, Fairy Tales from before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), 64; see also Cristina Bacchilega, Fairy Tales Transformed? Twenty-First-Century Adaptations and the Politics of Wonder (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2013), 1–31.

  • 28. See, for example, Ajay Gehlawat, ed., The Slumdog Phenomenon: A Critical Anthology (London: Anthem, 2013).

  • 29. Katharine Galloway Young, Taleworlds and Storyrealms: The Phenomenology of Narrative (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Nijhoff, 1987), 211.

  • 30. Openings can be simply “There was once …” Closings tend to be more diverse, including “They remained happy and content / While we still don’t have a cent”; “They remained rich and consoled, and we’re just sitting here and getting old”; “And those who tell this tale and whoever caused it to be told / Will not die a terrible death whenever they grow old”; and many more. Zipes, The Golden Age of Folk & Fairy Tales, 75, 238, 511.

  • 31. Gerald Mast and Bruce F. Kawin, A Short History of the Movies, 9th ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2006), 734.

  • 32. See, for example, Mieke Bal, “Video, Migration, and Hetero-Temporality: The Liminality of Time,” Image & Text: a Journal for Design 17 (2011): 14–28.

  • 33. Kristian Moen, Film and Fairy Tales: The Birth of Modern Fantasy (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012).

  • 34. Yo ho ho (Bulgaria: Boyana Films, 1981), film.

  • 35. The same director’s Mirror Mirror is also self-consciously postmodern, for example, juxtaposing 18th-and 19th-century European costumes with 21st-century slang and a Bollywood musical number.

  • 36. Hae Jean Chung, “Media Heterotopia and Transnational Filmmaking: Mapping Real and Virtual Worlds,” Cinema Journal 51, no. 4 (2012): 93.

  • 37. Moen, Film and Fairy Tales, xii–xiv; Cinderella (France: Star Film, 1899), film. View the film online; The Blue Bird (Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures, 1918), film. View the film online; and The Thief of Bagdad (New York: Douglas Fairbanks Pictures, 1924), film.

  • 38. The director’s interest in precinematographic visual devices is underlined by his use of a zoetrope early in his later film Mirror Mirror.

  • 39. In an additional heterospatial move, a South African mental hospital is the principal location setting for the Los Angeles hospital of the diegesis.

  • 40. Chung, “Media Heterotopia and Transnational Filmmaking,” 94.

  • 41. Of course, the most famous example of fairy-tale filmic role multiplication is Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz (Burbank, CA: Warner Brothers, 1939), in which Frank Morgan plays Professor Marvel, the Wizard of Oz, the Gatekeeper, the Carriage Driver, and the Guard; Ray Bolger plays Hunk and the Scarecrow; Bert Lahr plays Zeke and the Cowardly Lion; Jack Haley plays Hickory and the Tin Man; and Margaret Hamilton plays Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witches of the East and West. In fact, of the primary characters, only Dorothy, Glinda, and Toto are solos.

  • 42. David Butler, Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen (London: Wallflower, 2009), 105.

  • 43. See Chung, “Media Heterotopia and Transnational Filmmaking,” especially 92–97.

  • 44. See, e.g., Butler, Fantasy Cinema, 1–16.

  • 45. See, e.g., Butler, Fantasy Cinema, 43–76.

  • 46. Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast (France: DisCina, 1946), film; and Duane Journey, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (Los Angeles: Kerry Kimmel & Pollack, 2013), DVD.

  • 47. Mikel J. Koven, “Folklore Studies and Popular Film and Television: A Necessary Critical Survey,” Journal of American Folklore 116, no. 460 (2003): 181–185.

  • 48. Critiqued, for example, in David Bordwell, “ApProppriations and ImPropprieties: Problems in the Morphology of Film Narrative,” Cinema Journal 27, no. 3 (1988): 5–20.

  • 49. Duncan J. Petrie and Marina Warner, Cinema and the Realms of Enchantment: Lectures, Seminars, and Essays by Marina Warner and Others (London: British Film Institute, 1993); Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells, From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995); and see, for example, Jean Perrot, “Scénarios de lecture: De la Bête à la Belle et du conte au film,” La revue des livres pour enfants 140 (1991): 44–51.

  • 50. Signally, with Zipes, The Enchanted Screen; and Zipes, Greenhill, and Magnus-Johnston, Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney.

  • 51. Sue Short, Misfit Sisters: Screen Horror as Female Rites of Passage (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); Walter Rankin, Grimm Pictures: Fairy Tale Archetypes in Eight Horror and Suspense Films (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007); Dani Cavallaro, The Fairy Tale and Anime: Traditional Themes, Images, and Symbols at Play on Screen (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011); David Whitley, The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation: From Snow White to WALL-E (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012); Pauline Greenhill and Jill Terry Rudy, Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014); and Qinna Shen, The Politics of Magic: DEFA Fairy-Tale Films (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015).

  • 52. Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix, Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2010). Available online; and Sue Short, Fairy Tale and Film: Old Tales with a New Spin (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

  • 53. Andy Tennant, Ever After (Los Angeles: Twentieth Century Fox, 1998), film; Cathy Lynn Preston, “Disrupting the Boundaries of Genre and Gender: Postmodernism and the Fairy Tale,” in Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches, ed. Donald Haase (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2004), 197–212; Garry Marshall, Pretty Woman (New York: Silver Screen Partners IV, 1990), film; D. Soyini Madison, “Pretty Woman through the Triple Lens of Black Feminist Spectatorship,” in From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture, ed. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 224–235; Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, Beauty and the Beast (Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions, 1991), film; Allison Craven, “Beauty and the Belles: Discourses of Feminism and Femininity in Disneyland,” European Journal of Women’s Studies 9, no. 2 (2002): 123–142; and see also Allison Craven, Fairy Tale Interrupted: Feminism, Masculinity and Wonder Cinema (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, forthcoming).

  • 54. Bacchilega, Fairy Tales Transformed? See also International Symposium on Folktales and Fairy Tales, Folktales and Fairy Tales: Translation, Colonialism, and Cinema (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2008).

  • 55. Anne E. Duggan, Queer Enchantments: Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2013); and Pauline Greenhill, “Wanting (To Be) Animal: Fairy-Tale Transbiology in The StoryTeller,Feral Feminisms 2 (2014): 29–45.

  • 56. Susan Cahill, “Through the Looking Glass: Fairy-tale Cinema and the Spectacle of Femininity in Stardust and The Brothers Grimm,” Marvels & Tales 24, no. 1 (2010): 57–67; Jennifer Orme, “A Wolf’s Queer Invitation: David Kaplan’s Little Red Riding Hood and Queer Possibility,” Marvels & Tales 29, no. 1 (2015): 87–109; Pauline Greenhill, “‘The Snow Queen’: Queer Coding in Male Directors’ Films,” Marvels & Tales 29, no. 1 (2015): 110–134; Kendra Magnus-Johnston, “‘Reeling in’ Grimm Masculinities: Hucksters, Cross-dressers, and Ninnies,” Marvels & Tales 27, no. 1 (2013): 65–88; Anne E. Duggan, “The Revolutionary Undoing of the Maiden Warrior in Riyoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles and Jacques Demy’s Lady Oscar,” Marvels & Tales 27, no. 1 (2013): 34–51; and Melek Ortabasi, “(Re)animating Folklore: Raccoon Dogs, Foxes, and Other Supernatural Japanese Citizens in Takahata Isao’s Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko,” Marvels & Tales 27, no. 2 (2013): 254–275.

  • 57. For example, Pauline Greenhill and Steven Kohm, “Hoodwinked! and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade: Animated ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ Films and the Rashômon Effect,” Marvels & Tales 27, no. 1 (2013): 89–108; Steven Kohm and Pauline Greenhill, “Popular Green Criminology and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ Films,” in Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology, ed. Nigel South and Avi Brisman (New York: Routledge, 2013), 365–378; and Steven Kohm and Pauline Greenhill, “‘Little Red Riding Hood’ Crime Films: Critical Variations on Criminal Themes,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 10, no. 2 (2014): 257–278.