Not So Happily Ever After: The Not So Disney Origins of Some Of Our Favorite Movies

We all know Disney likes to take a little liberty with it’s adaptations, indeed Disney often loves to bring us the more joyful side of life and of course include a happy ending. However if you chose to delve a little deeper into the origins of some of your favourite Disney movies you might find things are a lot darker. Take these 6 for example:

The Little MermaidThe Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

So the Disney version had memorable songs, a talking crustacean and a mermaid named Ariel all of which added up to make it a Disney classic, but the original version had none of these things. Well ok it did have the mermaid, but her name wasn't Ariel. In Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, the mermaid does indeed want legs and is looking for her handsome Prince. But the Prince she pays to walk on land is much bigger in the original story, In Andersen’s book every step the mermaid takes with her new legs feel as if is walking on sharp shards of glass and if the mermaid does not win the prince’s heart she will die. Unfortunately for the mermaid the prince falls in love with another woman whom he thinks saved him. However she does get one more chance to live, but it’s only if she kills the prince. The mermaid cant bring herself to kill her love and so instead she throws herself into the sea, turing into sea foam. You’ll have to wait and see how much of that Sofia Coppola uses in her upcoming movie.

CinderellaCinderella Was A Big Hit For Disney

Cinderella

The tale of 'Cinderella' has found many versions in folklore. Perhaps the most famous is the story of 'Aschenputtel', by the brothers Grimm. Here Cinderella has no fairy godmother, instead she plants a tree by her mother’s grave and prays under it every day. When she doesn't have a dress for the ball a bird appears with a white gown and silk shoes, she then goes off to the ball and meets her prince, knowing she must leave before midnight. This happens twice more and then on the third meeting she loses one of her gold, not glass slippers, sending the prince off to search for her.

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When he arrives at her house, her stepsisters first try on the slippers but when the eldest sister can't fit her foot in, she cuts off some of her toes to try! When that doesn't work the other sister cuts off part of her heel - gross! When Aschenputtel is finally revealed as the girl the prince is looking for, the pair get married and the stepsisters seem to be forgiven, as they get a wedding invite. Then a dove comes and pecks out both of their eyes as a punishment for their selfishness - double gross!

PinocchioDisney's Pinocchio

Pinocchio

In 'The Adventures of Pinocchio', published by Carlo Collodi in 1883, the titular character is a lot more troublesome than Disney would have you believe. First, as soon as he learns to walk he runs away from Geppetto and gets caught by the police, who assume Geppetto has been mistreating him and throw the woodcarver in jail. Then there’s an appearance of a talking cricket, which is all very Disney, except that he doesn't have a hat or an umbrella and actually he’s killed by Pinnochio straight after he warns him about his bad behaviour. Later on Pinocchio meets a fox and a cat who encourage him to do more naughty things before turning on him, stealing his coins and then trying to hang him from a tree! In other differences, Geppetto is eaten by a dogfish not a whale and Pinocchio doesn't transform from a wooden boy into a real boy. Instead he wakes up from a dream as a real boy leaving his former puppet self lying lifeless in the corner. Which doesn’t sound quite as magical.

Sleeping BeautyDisney's Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

This one is very very different from the Disney version, so much so you might actually not want to know. Giambattista Basile’s version of 'Sleeping Beauty' is a lot darker than the Disney one, a lot lot darker. First off the princess, who is named Talia is put to sleep due to a prophecy not a curse. When she’s in her slumber a king finds her and well, rapes her, leaving her pregnant with twins. The princess gives birth to the children, while still asleep and then one day one of them accidentally removes the piece of flax from her finger thats been keeping her unable to wake. When finally awoken she actually ends up bonding with the king/rapist - huh? But he also happens to be married. The king’s wife then attempts to have Talia burned and her two children killed and served to the king as dinner. The wife is unsuccessful and in the end it’s her who ends up being burned. Then everybody lives happily ever after. WTF?

The Jungle BookDisney's The Jungle Book

Jungle Book

There are quite a few differences between Rudyard Kipling’s original work and it’s Disney namesake. In the Disney version Mowgli, after his years of living in the jungle decides to go and live in the man village after seeing a pretty girl. In Kipling’s version, things don’t go quite so smoothly. The first time he tries to return to the village the inhabitants aren't so welcoming and so he ‘lets the jungle in’ i.e. he gets the animals to trample the village. His help in all this is Hathi the loveable elephant who’s actually a lot more vengeful in the original, having already destroyed another village. There's no singing and dancing from King Louie in the original version and, actually, he doesn't exist. Also Baloo the bear is a lot less fun. He’s more like a teacher who’ll smack you on the head if you do something wrong rather than join you for a dance. All in all it seems the jungle isn't so much fun after all.

Snow White and the Seven DwarvesDisney's Much Loved 'Snow White'

Snow White

In the Brother’s Grimm version of 'Snow White', the Queen actually asks the huntsman to bring back more than just her heart, instead she wants her lungs and liver, yuck. Of course the huntsman isn't able to kill Snow White so instead he brings back the lungs and liver of a wild boar, which the queen eats thinking them to be Snow White’s. Then there's Snow White’s much less romantic awakening - there's no kiss from the prince. Instead when he sees Snow, who’s presumed dead in her coffin - he falls in love. He asks the dwarves if he can have her body. Which begs the question, what for?  It's only when the coffin is being taken away and one of the servants realizes that Snow White is awake, having had the piece of the poisoned apple dislodged  from her throat. In the end Snow White really gets her revenge on the evil queen. When the queen arrives at her wedding, after being mistakenly invited, she is given burning-hot iron shoes and made to dance until she drops dead as a punishment. Wow, Disney really didn't do these girl justice when it comes to their vengefulness. 

More: Sofia Coppola to direct The Little Mermaid remake


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