Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sleeping Beauty's Spinning Wheel

So when I was growing up, one of my favorite Disney movies was Sleeping Beauty. I'm not sure why. It certainly wasn't the princess movie that came out while I was growing up--that would be The Little Mermaid--but perhaps even as a child I had an obsession with the medieval era.

I loved that it involved castles and kings and queens and princes. I loved that Briar Rose walked alone in the woods with just the animals for company. I loved Maleficent as a villain and the three good fairies (especially Meriweather! She was hysterical!) I loved the prince, despite the fact that he had only a mediocre personality. (I was too little to appreciate such things, but hey! It was a step up from Snow White's NO-personality prince and creepy, come-up-behind-people-and-just-start-singing attitude!)

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I love this tale and how seldom it gets retold. There are lots of re-tellings of Cinderella and (especially lately) Snow White, but very rarely do you see this re-done. I've been seriously considering writing a screenplay for a Sleeping Beauty movie. It would probably be in the vein of Snow White and the Huntsman in that it would be true to the fairy tale and the time period, with plenty of magic and mysticism surrounding it, but I would put my own spin on it, too.

My major question when wrestling with the conflicts in the story is this: why the spindle of a spinning wheel? I've looked at some earlier versions (i.e. Grimm and the ones they stole it from) but it never gives much explanation as to why the evil fairy chose that device as the vehicle for her curse. Why not a sword or a spike or a dagger?

Spinning wheels are used in the making of products and textiles (spinning straw, cotton, wool, etc.) so maybe this symbolizes something? Maybe the realm's economy was dependent on this simple machine, and they were ubiquitous? I don't know.

Any thoughts about this? What was your favorite Disney movie growing up?


  1. My daughter loves this movie too. We've reenacted the spindle scene many times, haha. I don't know why it was always the spinning wheel, other than it was a very feminine object, but with the dangerous spindle spike. Every woman could relate to having to use one; maybe it represented life—the spinning wheels of time, like a clock. It would be interesting to know for sure, though.

    1. Yeah, I agree. Great insights! Thanks for stopping by Amy! :D

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