Sleeping Beauty's Wild Ride
Her slumber began in France 300 years ago; now Angelina Jolie is tormenting the dozing princess in ''Maleficent'' (in theaters May 30); a look at the evolution of a classic fairy tale
The first published account, ”La Belle au Bois Dormant” by Charles Perrault, appears in France and, drawing on centuries of folktales, launches the fable we recognize today: A cursed princess falls into a 100-year slumber after getting pricked by a spindle, and a prince awakens her. In a gruesome second act, Sleeping Beauty’s monstrous mother-in-law schemes to eat the princess’ children.
The German fairy-tale masters the Brothers Grimm write ”Little Briar Rose,” which removes the infanticide and introduces the happily-ever-after finale via a snooze-ending kiss.
The La Belle au Bois Dormant opera, by Italian composer Michele Carafa, debuts at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris.
British Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones creates The Legend of Briar Rose, a series of four oil paintings based on the Brothers Grimm’s telling. All four panels are on display at an estate in Oxfordshire.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the legendary Russian composer, follows up Swan Lake with his second ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, still one of the most performed today.
The first cinematic rendering, La Belle au Bois Dormant, is a short silent French film starring Julienne Mathieu.
One of the earliest Sleeping Beauty feature films, Prinsessa Ruusunen, is a lavish production based on the writings of beloved Finnish storyteller Zachris Topelius.
Italian writer Italo Calvino adds a violent twist with Sleeping Beauty and Her Children, in which the prince rapes the comatose princess (named, oddly, Carol). She gives birth to two children and awakens when one of her babies sucks the thorn out of her finger. Yeah. Ick.
With Sleeping Beauty, Disney introduces the Mistress of All Evil, Maleficent, who curses the princess (now called Aurora) and terrifies every child in the audience. Though now a classic, the film was a critical and commercial disappointment, causing Disney to cool on princess flicks until The Little Mermaid in 1989.
Long before Fifty Shades of Grey, Anne Rice publishes her borderline-pornographic The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure. Let’s just say it takes way more than a kiss to wake this napper.
An Israeli company produces a musical version with a cast that includes — brace yourself — Morgan Fairchild, Tahnee Welch (daughter of Raquel), and Kenny Baker (i.e., R2-D2). Yup, this one’s a winner.
Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card pens Enchantment, a fantasy time-travel novel that draws from the Russian variation of the story. Card later deems this his best novel.
She’s Got Game!
Maleficent haunts consoles in Kingdom Hearts, a megaselling role-playing game that finds her leading a band of villains who terrorize 14-year-old hero Sora.
Mattel Entertainment scraps plans for a Barbie Sleeping Beauty movie after Disney tries to trademark the name ”Princess Aurora.” Mattel releases its umpteenth version of Sleeping Beauty Barbie anyway.
In La Belle Endormie, controversial French filmmaker Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl) reimagines the protagonist as an active, adventurous girl on the verge of womanhood.
A report announces that producer Neal Moritz (21 Jump Street) is developing a comedy that casts the leading lady as a clingy stalker.
Thrilling shippers everywhere, bisexual Mulan (Jamie Chung) professes her love for Sleeping Beauty, a.k.a. Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger), on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Sadly, Aurora does not return the sentiment.
She’s Angie’s Girl!
The villainess gets her own origin story with Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the titular meanie and Elle Fanning as Aurora. Jolie’s aughter Vivienne plays the 5-year-old recipient of the nasty curse.