Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

1937, Movie, G, 83 mins


"The only film that made money in 1937 was SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS," said Mae West. "And that would have made more money if they woulda let me play Snow White."

West wasn't far from wrong. Consider Snow White, living with seven devoted, worshipful little men. Obviously, Disney was as naive in ways as the children in his audiences. Maybe that's the secret to his animated successes, or one of them. SNOW WHITE softens the Grimms's fairytale, but then there are the sequences of terror. Timeless they are, and here Expressionistic. Indeed, Disney always seemed to pull the stops out for the moments evoking evil in his animated features. And for all the bird trills of Snow White (never again would Walt's heroine have such a fantasy singing voice, and for that reason, she's the favorite heroine of many animation auteurs; certainly, we could all agree she's the most surreal of the sisterhood), and the cuteness of the comic relief inspired by the little men, our nod goes to Eleanor Audley (who would supply the voice for all Disney's memorable villainesses through SLEEPING BEAUTY) and the animated rendering of the Wicked Queen. Did Mr. Disney and Mr. Hitchcock have more than love of terror in common?

Dubbed "Disney's Folly" by its detractors, this masterpiece was a personal success for Walt Disney--the fulfillment of his dream to pioneer animation of unimagined scope. The film opens on a storybook, and as "Some Day My Prince Will Come" plays in the background, the turning pages explain how the orphaned Snow White has been brought up as a servant of a wicked queen. The queen, an icily beautiful woman with piercing eyes, stands before her Magic Mirror and poses her vain, oft-asked question: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" She is shocked when the mirror gives an unexpected answer: "Snow White." The nasty queen then orders that the innocent young woman be killed. Snow White, however, has eight things going for her--Prince Charming and seven dwarfs named Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, and Dopey.

This is animation as it had never before been experienced. Disney wisely realized the film could only work if it was full of believable characters, and each personality is distinct, from the purity of Snow White to the absolute evil of the queen. This film classic also features some unforgettable songs, including "Whistle While You Work," "Heigh Ho" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come." leave a comment

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