Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Poster


At a recording session, Lucille La Verne, the voice of the Wicked Queen, was told by Walt Disney's animators that they needed an older, raspier version of the Queen's voice for the Old Witch. La Verne stepped out of the recording booth, returned a few minutes later, and gave a perfect "Old Hag's voice" that stunned the animators. When asked how she did it, she replied, "Oh, I just took my teeth out."
Some animators were opposed to the name Dopey, claiming that it was too modern a word to use in a timeless fairy tale. Walt Disney made the argument that William Shakespeare used the word in one of his plays. This managed to convince everyone, although any reference to the term "dopey" is yet to be found in any of Shakespeare's work.
Walt Disney wanted to keep Snow White's voice as a special one-time sound, and held Adriana Caselotti to a very strict contract. Except for a tiny bit part in The Wizard of Oz (1939), she never had a real singing part in a movie again, though she was a classically trained singer.
All the dwarfs were modeled after real people.
Disney Studios in Burbank was built with the profits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
Fifty ideas for the dwarfs' names and personalities were listed in the film's proposal; the list included all of the names finally included except Dopey and Doc (Dopey being the last to be developed). Some of the dwarfs were: Awful ("He steals and drinks and is very dirty"), Biggy-Wiggy or Biggo-Ego, Blabby, Deefy, Dirty, Gabby, Gaspy, Gloomy, Hoppy-Jumpy, Hotsy, Jaunty, Nifty, and Shifty. Sneezy was a last-minute replacement for Deefy. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz once wrote that he had heard that another name considered for a dwarf was "Snoopy" and that he was relieved that it had not been chosen as it would have probably prevented him from giving that name to his famous cartoon beagle.
The Special Academy Award given to the picture consisted of one standard Oscar statuette and seven miniature statuettes on a stepped base.
The highest-grossing animated film of all time, adjusted for inflation.
Adolf Hitler's favorite film along with King Kong (1933) and Sun Valley Serenade (1941).
Was the first of many Walt Disney films to have its premiere engagement at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. At the end of the film's initial engagement there, all the velvet seat upholstery had to be replaced. It seems that young children were so frightened by the sequence of Snow White lost in the forest that they wet their pants, and consequently the seats, at each and every showing of the film.
When the movie was released, it was generally accepted that the correct plural form of "dwarf" was "dwarfs". J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" (published a year earlier) and later "Lord of the Rings" gradually popularized the uncommon variant "dwarves", so that the dwarfs in this movie are today often erroneously referred to as "dwarves" and the title even given as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves".
Roy O. Disney created the sound of the floor creaking with Dopey's slow footsteps by slowly bending an empty leather wallet back and forth.
Scenes planned, but never fully animated:
  • The queen holds the prince in the dungeon and uses her magic to make skeletons dance for his amusement.
  • Fantasy sequence accompanying "Some Day My Prince Will Come" in which Snow White imagines herself dancing with her prince in the clouds beneath a sea of stars
  • Dwarfs building Snow White a bed with help from woodland creatures (can be seen during the "Disney's Golden Anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" special).
  • The song "Music in Your Soup" where the dwarfs sing about the soup that Snow White had just made them (can be seen during the "Disney's Golden Anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" special; the song can be heard on the soundtrack).
  • A musical number, "You're Never Too Old to Be Young", featuring the dwarfs. It was pre-recorded, but never animated (can be heard on the soundtrack as a demo).
HIDDEN MICKEY: Formed by three stones on the wall behind the Queen as she strides down to the basement to perform her spell.
The trees that grab Snow White's dress were based on unique Garry Oak trees, found on Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Walt Disney had toured through this area and noted their eerie, twisting shapes.
Held the title of highest grossing film ever for exactly one year, after which it was knocked out of the top spot by Gone with the Wind (1939).
25 songs were written for the movie but only eight were used.
The Prince was originally a much more prominent character, but the difficulty found in animating him convincingly forced the animators to reduce his part significantly.
To keep the animators' minds working, Walt Disney instituted his "Five Dollars a Gag" policy. One notable example of this policy is when Ward Kimball suggested that the dwarfs' noses should pop one by one over the foot boards while they were peeking at Snow White.
Convinced that it would fail, the Hollywood film industry labeled the film "Walt Disney's Folly".
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.
Walt Disney came up with the idea for the film when he was only 15, working as a newsboy in Kansas City. He saw a major presentation of a silent film version of Snow White (1916) starring Marguerite Clark. The screening was held at the city's Convention Hall in February 1917, and the film was projected onto a four-sided screen using four separate projectors. The movie made a tremendous impression on the young viewer because he was sitting where he could see two sides of the screen at once, and they were not quite in sync.
The first full-length animated feature film to come out of the United States. (The first ever were El apóstol (1917) and Sin dejar rastros (1918) by Quirino Cristiani but both films are considered lost. The oldest full-length animated feature film that can still be seen today is Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926), which clocks in at 65 minutes, and was animated entirely in silhouette.)
The film was also going to include all three of the Queen's assassination attempts (poison comb, bodice suffocation and the poison apple) but eventually streamlined it to just the apple instead. Up until very late in production, just the bodice was cut, with the comb remaining.
Snow White is the youngest Disney Princess at the age of 14.
When comedian Billy Gilbert found out that one of the dwarfs' names was Sneezy he called up Walt Disney and gave him his famous sneezing gag and got the part.
Dopey initially was to talk with the voice of Mel Blanc, but was made mute instead. The same happened with Gideon in Pinocchio (1940), though Blanc actually was the one who did the vocal effects for that.
As it's widely known, every country where the movie has been translated has its own set of seven names for the Dwarfs, including Germany, home of the original fairy tale. However, in the original tale (by brothers Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm) the dwarfs have no individual names at all.
This was the first film to ever have a soundtrack recording album released for it. Because Walt Disney Pictures did not have its own music publishing company when the earlier animated films were produced, all the rights to publish the music and songs from this film are actually still controlled by the Bourne Co. In later years, the Studio was able to acquire back the rights to the music from all of the other films, except this one. Prior to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), a movie soundtrack recording was unheard of and with little value to a movie studio.
One of the first films to have related merchandise available at the time of premiere.
It took animator Wolfgang Reitherman nine tries to get the animation of the Slave in the Magic Mirror just right. He achieved it by folding the paper in half, drawing one half of the face, then turning the paper over and tracing the other half. He was then dismayed when his hard work was obscured by fire, smoke and distortion glass for the film.
Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora can communicate with animals. Also all three of these classic princesses wore peasant clothes at the beginning of her film.
The first animated feature to be selected for the National Film Registry.
Storyboards for a sequel to this movie were discovered in the Disney Company vault titled "Snow White Returns". Upon examining the length of the script and storyboards, it seemed like it was meant to be a short film than a full length movie. It was also meant to include revised versions of the "Soup" & "Bed Bulding" scenes that were excluded from the movie itself. The real reason for why this sequel never went further than preproduction is anyone's guess. It's unknown if Walt Disney really wanted this to be made in the first place. The whole storyboard to this unmade short is viewable on the Snow White Blu-ray.
When the movie was played at Radio City Music Hall on its first release, the theater managers had to replace the music played when Snow White runs into the forest, because they were nervous about that the kids would be too scared upon hearing it.
The original design for Snow White was done by the artists behind Betty Boop giving her pouting red lips,long eyelashes,and a glimpse of her ankles causing her to look like a 'flapper' than a demure princess. Walt Disney threw this out as he wanted Snow White to be wholesome, innocent and clothed in a peasant style dress rather than being sexy. The original 12 inch x 10 inch artwork was kept by one of the animators and held by his family until it was put up for auction in august 2014 when it was expected to make £15,000 but was sold for £2,793.
Made four times as much money as any other film in 1938.
Marge Champion served as a movement model for Snow White; some of this animation was later reworked for Maid Marian in Disney's Robin Hood (1973) and for Duchess in Disney's The AristoCats (1970).
'Jiminy Crickets' is mentioned twice by the dwarfs. It's an old expression usually used to express surprise.
There are only 11 human characters in the film - Snow White, the Dwarfs, the Queen, the Prince, and the Huntsman. Of these, the Prince is the only one never named.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) became the first release in Disney's new Platinum Edition DVD series, hitting stores on October 5, 2001. On its first day, more than 1 million copies were sold.
For the scene where the dwarfs are sent off to wash, animator Frank Thomas had Dopey do a hitch step to catch up to the others, as suggested in the storyboard. Walt Disney liked it so much he had the step added to other scenes - much to the chagrin of the other animators, who blamed Thomas for the extra work they had to do.
Deanna Durbin auditioned for the voice of Snow White, but was not chosen because Walt Disney felt her voice was too mature. She was 14 at the time.
Harry Stockwell, who voices the Prince, was the father of actors Guy Stockwell and Dean Stockwell.
Animator Shamus Culhane recalled drawing the Dwarfs' march home in the "Heigh Ho" scene as one of the toughest assignments of his career. Although six of the Dwarfs were marching at the same tempo, he had to give each his own body language suited to the character; and he had to map each individual walk with a blue pencil and ruler because of the unusual angles and perspectives used in the sequence. Then there was Dopey, bringing up the rear, hopping out of step with the others but who still had to be smoothly integrated into the action. Describing the sheer amount of labor this involved, Culhane said, "I worked six months on that goddamned thing, and it doesn't last a minute onscreen."
Ward Kimball nearly quit after his two main sequences (the dwarfs eating soup and building a bed for Snow White, respectively) were cut. Walt Disney convinced him to stay by giving him the character of Jiminy Cricket in the next feature, Pinocchio (1940).
The British Board of Film Censors (now, the British Board of Film Classification) gave the film an A-certificate upon its original release. This resulted in a nationwide controversy as to whether the enchanted forest and the witch were too frightening for younger audiences. Nevertheless, most local authorities simply overrode the censor's decision and gave the film a U-certificate.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first full-length cel-animated feature in motion picture history. Based on a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, it was the first animated feature film produced in America, the first produced in full color, and the first to be produced by Walt Disney Productions.
The movie was to start with scenes involving Snow White's mother, but they had to be cut to avoid the wrath of the censor.
Other names considered for the dwarfs included Busy, Crabby, Daffy, Dumpy, Flabby, Helpful, Lazy, Scrappy, Sniffy, Snoopy, Stubby, Thrifty, and Wheezy.
When the Dwarfs bathe, Dopey swallows a bar of soap. A sequence showing how they got the soap back out of him was filmed as a pencil test but was not included in the film. It was later shown on the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1954) TV show along with pencil test segment for the song "The Music In Your Soup".
The Seven Dwarfs would later appear in a educational short film, The Winged Scourge (1943).
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 26, 1938 with many of the Walt Disney voice artists reprising their film roles.
Sergei M. Eisenstein, director of Battleship Potemkin (1925), called it the "greatest film ever made."
When Walt Disney picked up his honorary Oscar statuettes for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), he told the Academy Award audience about Pinocchio (1940) which was still in production, holding their attention for a full 25 minutes.
The film was finally released on video in 1994, after several years of the studio resisting any notion of the idea. According to former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the reason why the studio ultimately released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) on video was because the film was about to enter the public domain in Italy and would be prone to being pirated. Ultimately, Disney had their copyright on the movie extended.
The film came third in the UK's Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas.
The film's initial budget of $250,000 was 10 times the average budget for one of the studio's Silly Symphonies shorts. As it transpired, the final budget was in excess of $1.4 million, a huge amount for any film at the time.
[June 2008] Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation".
Considered to be one of fifteen films that changed American cinema.
According to the audio commentary on the 2009 Diamond Edition Blu ray/DVD, Snow White's quote to the doves of "Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell?" would later be used in the Beatles' 1963 song "Do You Want to Know a Secret".
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With the exception of Dopey, none of the dwarfs refer to any of the others by name.
One of only two personally produced Walt Disney feature-length animated films not to carry the screen credit "Walt Disney Presents". Instead, the first credit reads "A Walt Disney Feature Production" (since it was Disney's first feature-length film). The other personally-produced Disney film not to say "Walt Disney Presents" was Fantasia (1940), which, in its roadshow release, contained no written credits at all except for the intermission card, and in its general release, contained only the title "Fantasia" in its opening credits.
At the beginning of the movie when the evil queen is walking toward her mirror you see that the surrounding symbols around the mirror are actually all the different horoscope symbols.
The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of the Walt Disney version on April 24, 1944 with Billy Gilbert reprising his film role.
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Dancer Marge Champion, whose movements as a dancer were rotoscoped to be used as guide for Snow White, married and divorced one of the Disney animators on the film, Art Babbitt. She later married, danced and acted on film and stage with famed choreographer and director Gower Champion.
In the dwarves' home, almost every wooden surface has an animal carved into it. Almost every item is carved into the shape of an animal. Even the edge of each stair-step is the face of an owl. Only the door to the bedroom looks to have smiling human-shaped creatures on it.
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Happy was the only dwarf that Snow White does not refer to by name.
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The opening credits feature an acknowledgment virtually unique in Hollywood features of the 1930s: "My sincere appreciation to the members of my staff whose loyalty and creative endeavor made possible this production. - Walt Disney". "Snow White", America's first animated feature, was the biggest gamble of Disney's career and its fortunes would either make or break the studio. Disney employees worked countless hours of uncompensated overtime to see it through. Industry skeptics called it "Disney's Folly" but instead it became one of the biggest box office hits before World War II. Ironically, in a January 1938 interview, Disney lamented that he and his staff had learned so much from making "Snow White" that "I wish I could yank it back and do it all over again."
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Sterling Holloway, who later appeared in many Walt Disney films, was considered for the role of Sleepy.
When the dwarfs first encounter an intruder (ie, Snow White) in their cottage, they hide in the forest and proclaim "Jiminy Crickets!" This of course was one of the main characters in Walt Disney's second full length animated feature, Pinocchio (1940).
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Spoonerizing comedian Joe Twerp was earlier considered for the role of Doc, according to the DVD supplementary material. The part went to Roy Atwell instead, but Twerp did perform as the voice of Doc on the radio.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The film was a particular favorite of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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The Evil Queen character is pictured on one of ten USA nondenominated commemorative postage stamps celebrating "Disney Villains", issued as a pane of 20 stamps on 15 July 2017. The set was issued in a single sheet of 20 stamps. The price of each stamp on day of issue was 49¢. The other villains depicted in this issue are: Honest John (Pinocchio (1940)), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella (1950)), the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland (1951)), Captain Hook (Peter Pan (1953)), Maleficient (Sleeping Beauty (1959)), Cruella De Ville (101 Dalmatians (1961)), Ursula (The Little Mermaid (1989)), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast (1991)), and Scar (The Lion King (1994)).
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In the film Snow White is seen wearing tan tights instead of showing her bare legs. In the Disney books Snow White does not wear tights.
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Allan Jones, Douglas McPhail, Dennis Morgan and Felix Knight auditioned for the role of the Prince.
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Susanna Foster and Betty Jaynes auditioned for the voice of Snow White.
Disney announced that a live action adaptation was in the works on October 31, 2016.
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