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This modest Snow White adaptation from Faerie Tale Theatre is obviously
low-budget and aimed more at children than adults, but I confess it's
my favorite episode of this entire series, at least from what I have
seen of it. Spoofing fairy tale logic and unafraid of making the actors
seem as silly as possible, it's a joy. The highlights are Vanessa
Redgrave as the campiest evil queen ever put to film and Tony Cox as
the eternally frustrated dwarf Bubba.
If you have kids, this would be fun to show them, though they may think it a little slow if they have no patience. But even if you have no kids, this is great fun. It'll make you feel ten again.
There is a lot to like about the 'Faerie Tale Theatre' series. Many of
their adaptations of various well-known and well-loved fairy tales are
charming, clever and sometimes funny, a few even emotionally moving.
'Faerie Tale Theatre' puts its own magical spin on the best of the
episodes while still capturing the essence of the stories, while also
giving further enjoyments in seeing talented performers in early roles
or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", based on one of the most justifiably popular fairy-tales and one of the Grimm Brothers' most famous, is not just one of the high points of the third season of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' but also one of the best of the entire show. It may not quite have the timelessness of the 1937 Disney film, but it is a more faithful adaptation, which will be appreciated, while still putting its own spin on it that stops it from being too faithful. Then again, most 'Faerie Tale Theatre' adaptations were more faithful than their Disney counterparts, love Disney with all my heart but they were never known for faithfulness to source material).
It may not quite have the zip of some episodes of the show and is more deliberately paced, but this approach was not just fitting but in a way necessary. Rarely was it dull and it just had enough content to fill the just less than one hour running time, with all the basic details, structure and spirit of the story evident and not having too much filler with the dwarfs.
Visually, there are more beautiful-looking adaptations than "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", with a couple of the costumes looking shoestring budget cheap (there are worse though, namely the cow and giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk", the makeup in "The Nightingale" and the toads in "Thumbelina") and occasionally the lighting is a little dim. The photography is nicely done though, and there is a lush picturesque-ness and eerie atmosphere to the scenery and settings.
The music score is also hauntingly beautiful and fits perfectly, one actually does not miss the magnificent songs from the Disney film at all and the music score here is actually just as memorable. The script has a nice balance of humour (namely with the dwarfs), emotion (Snow White) and darkness (the Queen, her motivations are her wonderfully kooky disguises). The storytelling is a strong reminder as to why the original story is a classic in the first place, having all its ingredients and creating a seamless atmosphere that's enchanting, frightening and entertaining.
Can't fault the casting either. Elizabeth McGovern is a luminous and understated Snow White, innocent, beautiful and bewildered but never passive or too naive. Vincent Price is pitch perfect casting as the Magic Mirror in every regard, he and Vanessa Redgrave stole the show for me. When it comes to narrating Price to me was one of the best at delivering it, no matter the material itself he always delivered it with sincerity, sometimes knowing humour and sometimes with a macabre archness, he brought all that to his performance.
Rex Smith is youthful and dashing but also refreshingly goofy as the Prince, a character who is nearly always bland elsewhere due to the Prince being barely in it in the fairy-tale itself. The dwarfs are well-defined in personality and entertaining, particularly Tony Cox. Along with Price, Vanessa Redgrave steals the show as a deliciously camp and monstrously evil queen.
In conclusion, a gem and one of the best of 'Faerie Tale Theatre'. 9/10 Bethany Cox
This effort from the Faerie Tale Theatre is a charming episode that
will enthrall the kiddies. The innocence of Snow White will draw them
into the story, while the crazy antics of the Seven Dwarfs will keep
them engaged and laughing throughout.
Guest stars in this one primarily include Elizabeth McGovern, Vanessa Redgrave, & the diminutive Tony Cox
Just a lot of dumb, silly humor in this one makes it an enjoyable experience.
In this acceptable "Faerie Tale Theatre" TV adaptation of the Brothers
Grimm classic, beautiful "Snow White" grows up in the care of her
wickedly jealous step-mother (Vanessa Redgrave having fun). When she
grows up to be pretty Elizabeth McGovern (as Snow White), the older
queen's magic mirror (scene stealing Vincent Price) lets Ms. Redgrave
know she is no longer "the fairest one of all." Redgrave insists it is
a lie and conspires to kill Ms. McGovern by having a huntsman (Michael
Preston) cut out her heart. In the woods, Snow White finds refuge with
seven appealing dwarfs. For other reasons, a handsome singing prince
(Rex Smith) also becomes interested in Snow...
***** Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (7/16/84) Peter Medak ~ Elizabeth McGovern, Vanessa Redgrave, Rex Smith, Vincent Price
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