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Snow White (1916)

Unrated | | Fantasy, Romance | 25 December 1916 (USA)
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 »

Director:

J. Searle Dawley

Writers:

Winthrop Ames (by), Winthrop Ames
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Cumming ... Queen Brangomar (as Dorothy G. Cumming)
Creighton Hale ... Prince Florimond
Lionel Braham ... Berthold - the Huntsman
Alice Washburn Alice Washburn ... Witch Hex
Marguerite Clark ... Snow White
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Storyline

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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Genres:

Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This live-action version of the fairy tale that supposedly inspired Walt Disney to make the later animated version was thought to be lost, until discovered by George Eastman House in the Dutch film Archive. GEH acquired the nitrate and preserved it. They went back and, using the play script and translations, restored the English titles to the print. They also repaired some defects in the image and tinting of the film. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Alternate Versions

Original release prints contained, according to a review by Variety, a sequence in which a stork delivers the infant Snow White to her mother, is not in the Treasures from American Film Archives print. See more »

User Reviews

 
Camera Switching Seats
19 February 2010 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

Adolph Zukor's company Famous Players in Famous Plays, despite releasing some stagy early feature-length films (e.g. "Queen Elizabeth" (1912) and "The Count of Monte Cristo" (1913)), managed to sign two actresses who become two of the most popular movie stars, Mary Pickford and, the star of "Snow White", Marguerite Clark. Clark had already been a hit on Broadway, including playing the title role in the 1912 theatrical version of "Snow White", for which this film is based. In just her first film, Clark's performance in "Wildflower" (1914) was voted by fans for Motion Picture Magazine the second greatest performance to date by 1916--right above Henry B. Walthall's third place role in "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). As further evidence of her fame, Clark was voted the second most popular movie star in a 1918 Motion Picture Magazine poll, below only Mary Pickford. A Princeton poll in 1919 placed her third among screen actresses. And, she was voted the top female box-office draw by a 1920 Quigley poll.

The filmed "Snow White" is comparable in film technique to another available Famous Plays production, "Cinderella" (1914), which starred Mary Pickford (also to Pickford's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1914), although the print of it that I saw wasn't in the good condition these other two films are in). The camera generally remains stationary as in the earliest feature-length films and mostly from a long-shot framing, but the shot succession is more frequent and better paced in these later films—changing shots based on character movement and with some crosscutting—and there are a few medium shots and closer views, although not nearly enough. "Snow White" seems choppy in parts today, but that's at least partially due to some lost footage.

Although rather stagy even for a 1916 production, "Snow White" is a somewhat enjoyable, light fairytale. As mentioned elsewhere, it borrows from "Cinderella" the part of Snow White forced to do chores by her stepmother. It's also interesting to see Walt Disney's inspiration for his 1937 animated version. The dwarfs are amusing. Additionally, Snow White is friendly with animals in the forests. I don't know how a lion got to a woodland in what one assumes is somewhere in medieval Europe, though. There are a few special effects shots, including the basic superimpositions and substitution-splices for lapse dissolves, as well as a brief animation shot of the witch flying away on her broom, and the miniaturized double exposure of the actors in the introductory tie-in of the film's release with Christmas. Clark does as well as Mary Pickford did; and, unlike the film, she isn't too theatrical. Like Pickford, she was small and often played child and ingénue roles. Unfortunately, most of her films are now unavailable, which makes "Snow White" an even more recommended treat.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None | English

Release Date:

25 December 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Белоснежка See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgia, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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