The first, and by far most memorable full-length animated feature from the Disney Studios, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" may have been superseded technically by many of the films that followed it. But its simple story of a charming little princess saved from the evil deeds of her wicked step-mother, the queen, by a group of seven adorable dwarfs made history when it was first released in December, 1937 and has since become an incomparable screen classic. Written by
Publicity material relates that production employed 32 animators, 102 assistants, 167 "in-betweeners", 20 layout artists, 25 artists doing water color backgrounds, 65 effects animators, and 158 female inkers and painters. 2,000,000 illustrations were made using 1500 shades of paint. See more »
Dopey breaks off the front door handle and seconds later, it reappears. See more »
Slave in the magic mirror, come from the farthest space, through wind and darkness I summon thee. Speak! Let me see thy face.
What wouldst thou know, my Queen?
Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?
Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.
Alas for her! Reveal her name.
Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.
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None of the actors in this film were credited. See more »
Grimm's Fairy Tale source lends beautiful darkness to Queen's scenes / Disney cuteness + classic songs in dwarf scenes make for excellent children's viewing. The only scenes i remember from my childhood, how
Snow White is the fairest one of all. The queen wants to be number one, so decides to come after her. Snow White, cut loose from the castle, stumbles upon a hut where seven dwarves are living - which is where the Queen comes for her, in disguise, with a poison apple...
This has classic written all over it. Disney's first major feature, the grand debut, cements the major features of those to come. It draws from very dark but fantastic material, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and alternates scenes of evocative darkness (the Queen's castle, the man sent to cut Snow White's heart out, and the forest that's alive, are some brilliant examples) with scenes of superlative cuteness and song and dance numbers.
There are some beautiful compositions, but the movement of the animation is not as fluid as it would become, even with Pinnochio, Disney's very next feature. Plus, the singing styles are very 1930's opera-style. I can see why i always used to just think of songs during musicals as things i had to wait through till the story got going again - its because almost every song in Snow White doesn't advance the story. Great musical numbers, like the ones in West Side Story, do. They don't feel like we're just waiting around. When most of the Snow White songs come on, the story gets put on hold.
Snow White is too naive, plain and perfect a character to hold our interest these days. Contemporary audiences just don't worship "perfect" people like this. Plus, the attempts at animation of real people is not good. Snow White and the Prince in particular just don't work - whereas the cartoony dwarves really come alive. Try watching her face when she talks.
All of the Queen's scenes are absolute gems, actually. And the dwarves are great. Seven great characters.
One of the best things Disney ever did was the Queen's angry walk down the staircase to the dungeon, and her subsequent making of a potion to transform herself into an old witch. The way the liquid she's mixing comes alive is fantastic, and the close-ups on the crow sitting on the skull are a nice touch.
The poison flooding towards the centre of the pot, engulfing the apple, and the jack o'lantern face on it afterwards.
Some of Disney's most classic songs come from Snow White: Whistle While You Work, Heigh Ho (its off to work we go), and one of the most beautiful Disney songs ever, Some Day My Prince Will Come.
There's also a very memorable piece of theme music that plays during the climactic storm scene.
10/10. An essential, marvellous work. A thing to see.
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