- Title: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- IMDB: link
75 years ago Walt Disney set out to create the first animated feature film by adapting the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Snow White about a beautiful princess, a jealous queen, a magic mirror, and seven dwarves. Disney had to fight his business partners, movie theaters who balked at showing a full-length animated film, and a Hollywood movie business that saw the entire project as nothing more than “Disney’s Folly.”
Despite these obstacles, the film premiered to a standing ovation and went on to be the highest grossing motion picture of all time. (A record the film held until the release of Gone with the Wind.) The movie was an immediate box office and critical success that would give birth to an entire genre of animated film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be re-released in theaters eight times over the next half-century, each time earning new fans and more praise.
The story you know. Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) finds herself on the run from a jealous Queen (Lucille La Verne) who desperately wants to be the fairest in the land and will go to any lengths, even killing the kind princess, to make her wishes come true. While in the forest Snow White befriends seven dwarves (Eddie Collins, Pinto Colvig, Billy Gilbert, Otis Harlan, Scotty Mattraw), a charming prince (Harry Stockwell), and countless cute wilderness creatures.
Although the first of its kind, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has aged very well. If the film has faults it’s with the one-note characters of the prince and Snow White herself, but the world in which they are surrounded is terrifically realized and filled with memorable characters. Although none of them speak, Walt Disney’s love for a anthropomorphic characters is on full display in the birds, deer, squirrels, and countless other supporting creatures which fill Snow White’s world.
The Queen would become the first great Disney animated villain, and a mark to which all that would follow would be measured. It’s interesting to not that she’s not defeated by the hero, but by circumstance (or fate, if you will), as she meets her end on a rainy cliff in the middle of a lightning storm. And the presentation of the story, the choice of angles and reaction shots to the despicable actions or the gruesome end of the Queen are a lesson far more filmmakers (not just animators) should take to heart.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would also deliver a terrific score and three songs (“Heigh-Ho,” “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” and “Whistle While You Work“) which would also cement the studio’s further use of music for the next half-century in all of Disney’s animated features. Although it may no longer be the best animated feature of all time, even today Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains the template by which all others are measured.
The three-disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray includes original storyboards, audio commentary by animator John Canemaker (with additional audio from Walt Disney), a sneak peek of The Princess and the Frog, deleted scenes, featurettes on the making of the film and Snow White‘s legacy, a tour of Walt Disney’s original Hyperion Studios, BD-Live features, “Some Day My Prince Will Come” music video by Tiffany Thornton, “Heigh-Ho” karaoke sing-a-long, a copy of the film on DVD and a collection of games including Scene Stealer, Jewel Jumble, What Do You See, and Mirror Mirror on the Wall.