Mary Walsh arrives in Washington this week not only as the head of Disney’s immense animation research library. She also will attend the ball at the Library of Congress as an ambassador for “Cinderella.”
On Thursday evening, Walsh will receive the honor from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in an official ceremony to celebrate that “Cinderella,” the animated classic from 1950, was recently named to the National Film Registry.
More than a dozen Disney feature films have been added to the registry, including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Bambi,” “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio.” Among more recent Mouse House movies, 1994’s “The Lion King” entered the registry in 2013, and “Toy Story” joined in 2005.
“She lives in a reality that has a lot of challenges, which she [faces] with courage and perseverance while staying true to herself, believing in her dreams,” Walsh says of Cinderella.
“She is an eternal optimist, and that’s a very human quality that we all strive for,” continues Walsh, “I think that it was the same in the 1950s as it is today, and we all need some of that resiliency and perseverance and optimism in our lives today.”
Walt Disney was inspired to adapt the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale, but he encouraged his writers and animators to take creative liberties, Walsh notes.
So what’s the next animated Disney classic she would like to see make the registry? Walsh points to “The Jungle Book” and “Mulan,” and perhaps the most overlooked, she says: 1973’s “Robin Hood.”
On the night of the Ball, Walsh was focused on “Cinderella.” “It’s had such a major cultural impact,” “that we’re still talking about the film almost 70 years later.”