A Cinderella Story

Film released by Warner Bros in the USA, 20004.07.16

No score soundtrack available. A CD was released under the 'Hollywood' label, consisting of songs, 50% performed by star Hilary Duff. No Beck cues.

Music clip one, 0'41" (325Kb) [0:0'00" fairytale opening]
Music clip two, 0'16" (127Kb) [0:12'38" mad about the boy]
Music clip 3, 0'31" (248Kb) [0:20'47" ugly step-sisters]


"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." Like a moth to a flame, Chris beck is drawn once more to the lurid colours of the teen comedy/romance he does so well but is rarely thanked for. Especially when a film like this receives such overwhelming negative critical coverage. There is a reason why Chris Beck gets all the teen rom-com projects: he has a formula. In some movies the sniff of a formula would invite scorn from a reviewer, but the teen rom-com of the late 90's and early 2000's is a formula in itself. It is peppered liberally with cliché characters, identikit slap-stick, and jokes about bodily functions and plastic surgery. In addition to this, it is dominated by teen-friendly vanilla guitar pop music. With this minefield in mind, the composer who braves career explosions is a brave man indeed. Beck mixes the sappiest of "romantic music" (love story) with rhythmically exotic "evil music" (dastardly schemes, nasty school-mates) and cartoonish chase-comedy music that would make Carl Stalling and his successors proud. And A Cinderella story really needs all the help it can get, featuring, as it does, a laughless unoriginal script, performed by actors struggling to create any kind of chemistry. And a mobile phone plot hole as big as Texas. Why didn't he use it?!

Webmaster's note: -

Hilary Duff, the Cinderella (Sam) of the film, has also appeared in Cheaper by the dozen; Jennifer Coolidge (stepmother Fiona) was Stiffler's mum in American wedding, and even in Broken hearts club.

Webmaster's additional:

For some reason I felt life was a good alternative to noting down where pop and pre-existing music was used.

Common threads of the score: JAZZY-bad [not jazzy! but my mind's a blank as to what the style is] HM-cha-cha-hm-CHA-cha-HM-cha], rising 3-note motif, THEME1, THEME2, THEME3, Zorro music, marimba

0:0'00"-0:00'41" The main theme here [THEME1, SEE CLIP 1] (characterised by the rising three-note motif) is used through the film (where Beck finds an opening between pop songs, classics and mild slap-stick underscore), normally to depict the moments of fairytale romance. (voice over starts at ca.30'00"). Very effective and arguably the most striking music of the score

0:12'38"-0:13'52" Soppy marimba with a string theme [THEME2] (first sight of Austin) [SEE CLIP 2], moving into mildly cheeky underscore (girl politics).

0:18'32"-0:19'01" Cheeky music (TM), with hint of habanera style. Not really a theme but let's call it THEME3 because its flavour returns. Deja vu. (Fiona demands more salmon; Sam hits the ball)

0:19'03"-0:19'32" Soppy marima with strings (not THEME2, though) (Austin on the pitch)

0:20'47"-0:21'38" Jazzy-cheeky music [JAZZY-bad] (the ugly sisters at the carwash). Characterised by rather slinky double bass [SEE CLIP 3]

0:26'21"-0:26'49" Mexican western/flamenco guitar cue (Zorro's entrance)

0:27'54"-0:28'53" Strings use the rising motif and THEME1, orchestra moves to a softer rendition of the opening music's theme (I should go to the dance); at 28'45"-28'53" moves to an allegro (catching the costume shop)

0:29'51"-0:30'58" THEME1 developed as underscore, clarinet (the tiarra); piano (the dress)

0:37'52"-0:39'11" Rising motif starts this cue. Clarinet takes THEME2 (piano continues it before clarinet snatches back) (outside during the dance)

0:39'36"-0:40'42" Zorro music as Carter defends his woman's honour, which continues in chase mode. [A good complete cue, though many sound effects]

0:43'48"-0:44'12" Scurrying strings, waltz rhythm, hinting at the fairytale music (midnight)

0:44'27"-0:45'36" THEME3 flavour shifting into chase mode (Sam's escape)

0:45'37"-0:46'11" Rising motif used (Sam and Zorro share stories of the evening)

0:46'37"-0:48'56" THEME3/chase music (car chases). A luminously orchestrated cue you have to wait the best part of the film for. Cartoonish.

0:49'13"-0:50'02" Cheeky (or evil?) music (another development of THEME3), underscore (Fiona checking on Sam)

0:50'36"-0:51'49" Cheeky music again (car 'crash')

0:52'21"-0:53'30" Marimba heralds a subtle return of THEME2, shifting into 'cheeky'

0:54'14"-0:54'29" Hint of marimba/THEME2 only

0:58'34"-0:59'15" Cheeky music (acceptance letter hidden)

0:59'15"-0:59'40" Marimba music (tell me who you are, voiceover)

1:00'30"-1:01'04" JAZZY-bad music, this time sans double bass (ugly sister discovers Sam's secret)

1:01'40"-1:02'17" JAZZY-bad

1:02'31"-1:04'43" JAZZY-bad (less recognisable). At 1:3'34" a good cartoony chase cue launches, reminiscent of the car chase cue. At 1:4'33" JAZZY-bad returns (with double bass) (aftermath of car wash incident)

1:07'08"-1:08'09" JAZZY-bad (step-sisters baiting the cheerleaders)

1:11'04"-1:12'55" Sad music, not recognised, although its theme uses a descending-by-step motif, which later inverts back to the rising motif used at the start of the film

1:16'32"-1:18'43" The rising motif creeps in and brings with it THEME1. New cue starts based on the motif. Quasi-military music (drums, piccolo). (Never let the fear of striking out: Sam quits)

1:18'56"-1:19'29" Quiet piano rendition of THEME1, then flute (Sam and Rhonda)

1:20'30"-1:22'15" THEME2 (Sam confronts Austin); THEME1, soft (Sam and Terry)
[N.B. Any opportunity to have a glorious rendition of THEME1 is lost in a pop melstrom]

1:27'46"-1:28'37" Rising motif (Sam finds the will in the fairy-tale book); JAZZY-bad (Fiona given her comeuppance)

[N.B. A medley of modern and classic pop takes us to the end.]

[N.B. Sorry, didn't catch the end credits. Let me know if anyone noticed a return of CB's score!]

Full music credits

Music editor - Terry Wilson
Conductor - Pete Anthony
Orchestrator - Thomas Bergersen
Orchestrator - Kevin Kliesch
Singer ('Come clean') - Hilary Duff
not noted