SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS(director: David Hand, Perce Pearce, Larry Morey, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, and Ben Sharpsteen; screenwriters: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Dick Richard, Merrill de Maris, and Webb Smith/based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm; music: Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, and Larry Morey; cast: Voices of Adriana Caselotti (Snow White), Harry Stockwell (Prince Charming), Lucille La Verne (The Queen), Moroni Olsen (Magic Mirror), Stuart Buchanan (The Huntsman), Billy Gilbert (Sneezy), Pinto Colvig (Sleepy/Grumpy), Otis Harlan (Happy), Scotty Mattraw (Bashful), Roy Atwell (Doc); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Walt Disney; RKO; 1937)
“It’s a delightful family fantasy film that is timeless, one that both children and adults can enjoy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Walt Disney’s 1937 film was the first feature-length animated cartoon; it was based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. It took three years to create and with the aid of some 570 artists and cost nearly a million and half dollars to produce; few thought the risky project, which nearly bankrupted the Disney studio, would succeed. But the well-crafted Technicolor film brought in the Depression-era crowds and made a bundle. It did so despite the lead romantics being prim bores, as it had in its corner the ability to make its familiar fairy-tale story seem fresh and the animations were a thing of beauty. It’s a delightful family fantasy film that is timeless, one that both children and adults can enjoy.
Snow White is a beautiful Princess; her stepmother is the wicked and vain Queen; she’s the most beautiful person in the land, but is into black magic. The obsessed Queen regularly consults her Magic Mirror to ask who is fairest of all, proud that she is but ready to take down anyone else who lays such claim; when she’s told that Snow White is the fairest, despite dressing her in rags, she orders the huntsman to take her out in the woods and kill her. Furthermore, as proof that he killed her, to bring back her heart. When the time comes to kill her, the huntsman changes his mind and tells the frightened Snow White to hide in the woods. There she’s befriended by a bunch of friendly animals, who take her to the cozy dollhouse-like cottage of the seven cuddly dwarfs–Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Bashful, Happy and Doc. The dwarfs are playful but hard working and are skilled craftsmen, who take a shine to the innocent and beautiful Princess; things are real cozy, as the lone beautiful female bunks down with the seven horny but very protective fellows after they serenade each other with jolly songs. When the witch again consults the Magic Mirror, she’s still told that Snow White is the fairest. When she shows the Magic Mirror Snow White’s heart, she’s told that it’s a pig’s heart. The Queen now disguises herself as a crone and goes to Snow White with a poisoned apple, that once the Princess takes a bite out of it she will die from an evil spell. The dwarfs build Snow White a glass coffin, as they grieve that couldn’t protect her from the witch but still enjoy looking at her beauty. But the evil spell is broken when the good Prince Charming finds Snow White and his kiss is filled with love. The two then leave the friendly dwarfs and animals, and go off to live happily ever after; especially, knowing that the Queen is no longer around after falling down a steep ravine when chased by the dwarfs.
The voice of Snow White is by the teenager Adriana Caselotti, who beat out 150 others who auditioned including Deanna Durbin. Snow White’s appearance was modeled after the dancer Marge Champion. The film is now well-established as legendary and a rich part of film history, and despite this modern age of CGI animations it still retains its place as one of the better animation films.
REVIEWED ON 7/5/2007 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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