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Snow White (I) (1916)

Unrated  |   |  Fantasy, Romance  |  25 December 1916 (USA)
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Snow White is a motherless princess, who arouses the jealousy and hatred of Mary Jane, her mother's former lady-in-waiting, who is the ugliest woman in the kingdom, but aspires to the ... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Cumming ...
Queen Brangomar (as Dorothy G. Cumming)
Creighton Hale ...
Lionel Braham ...
Alice Washburn ...
Witch Hex


Snow White is a motherless princess, who arouses the jealousy and hatred of Mary Jane, her mother's former lady-in-waiting, who is the ugliest woman in the kingdom, but aspires to the throne. She gives her heart to the witch, Hex, in return for which she becomes beautiful and wins the love of the king. While hunting, the king falls from his horse and is killed, leaving Mary Jane, who has been rechristened Brangomar, upon the throne. Brangomar forces Snow White to work in the kitchen and takes her lovely clothes away from her. When Snow White accidentally meets a young hunter she becomes interested in him and he is fascinated, though neither has any idea who the other is. So they are dumbfounded when he comes to Snow White's castle and presents a letter to the queen, asking for the hand of Snow White, for he is the Prince Florimund, who has been sent to ask for the hard of the little princess, whom he has never seen. Brangomar, who believed that the prince was coming to sue for her ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Fantasy | Romance





Release Date:

25 December 1916 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the 50 films in the 4-disk boxed DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives (2000)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives. This film was preserved by the George Eastman House. This version has an uncredited piano music score and runs 63 minutes. Marguarite Clark starred in the play "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" by Jessie Braham White; it opened in New York on 7 November 1912 and ran for 72 performances. This movie's writer, Winthrop Ames, produced that play and no doubt was greatly influenced by it. Sketches of the sets and costumes from the play were used for this film. See more »


A crew member's shadow is visible on the ground in front of Snow White after Berthold the Huntsman leaves her in the forest. See more »


Version of Maid to Order (1987) See more »

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When Marguerite Clark Was the Fairest in the Land
28 June 2010 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

It being Christmas, Santa Claus enters (stage left) through the chimney, magically makes a decorated tree appear (begging the question, "Why didn't this household already have one?"); then, he deposits a set of theatrical dolls on a nearby table. They come to life and play-out the story of "Snow White (and the Seven Dwarfs)"…

Our heroine's beautiful queen mother bears a little princess "with skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony." She grows into the fairest Marguerite Clark (as Snow White). This rattles jealously wicked Dorothy Cumming (as Brangomar), who wants to be the most beautiful woman in town. She goes to bald-headed Alice Washburn (as Witch Hex), who grants Ms. Cumming both loveliness and a truth-telling "Magic Mirror"; in return, the Witch demands that, "in the future, she would receive the heart of Snow White." Mr. Washburn plans to use Clark's heart as a hair-growing tonic.

Within a year, Ms. Clark's mother dies. The newly-lovely Cumming marries the king just before he dies, then turns Clark into a "Cinderella"-like servant. Of course, this doesn't stop visiting prince Creighton Hale (as Florimond) from falling in love with Clark. Wicked Queen Cumming is upset that handsome Mr. Hale didn't propose to her, despite his being much younger; Cumming tells Hale she will allow him to wed Clark, after the Princess spends a year in boarding school. Actually, Cumming sends Clark on a wild goose chase, and orders huntsman Lionel Braham (as Berthold) to go rip out her heart!

This is the thoroughly charming original film version of Clark's beloved stage play "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1912) which was, as you'll see, the blueprint for Walt Disney's famous 1937 version. Mr. Disney saw this as a teenager, and was obviously enchanted. By 1916, Clark was rivaling Mary Pickford in popularity, and challenging her for highly-sought Christmas box office receipts. All this, despite the fact that Clark a decade older, and didn't like making movies. Still, she is the fairest "Snow White" of all, and hopefully more of her films will be found (like "Wildflower" and "Prunella").

For modern viewers, an initial weakness will be the film's certain staginess - but, director J. Searle Dawley and Paramount's "Famous Players" did not seek to simply film a stage play. Witness the editing, variety of shots, and constant movement of the performers on screen. Some good examples are Clark's walking down the center of the screen, after meeting Hale; and, her discovery of the Dwarf cottage in the woods. "Snow White" compensates for the fact that the screen, unlike the live stage, is flat. This is not the style of film-making which became standard, but it is an example of how to make it lively.

******** Snow White (12/25/16) J. Searle Dawley ~ Marguerite Clark, Creighton Hale, Dorothy Cumming, Lionel Braham

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