Sunday, May 3, 2015

Family Movie Night: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Title: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Directors: Larry Morey, David Hand, Ben Sharpsteen, Wilfred Jackson, Perce Pearce and William Cottrell
Original Release: 1937
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via The Disney Wiki
By 1937, animation had already been a part of the film industry for a long time, a news reel and a cartoon serving as standard appetizers to the main feature.  But Snow White was a revolution, the world's first full-length cel animated feature.  The movie, very briefly the highest-grossing picture of all time, kicked Walt Disney and his studio up to the big leagues.


In 2015, we are deep into the Pixar Age in which computer animation continually strives for hyper-reality.  One might expect an older, slower relic like Snow White to disappoint.  Guess again.  From the opening frame of the castle atop a mountain, the audience is drawn into a lush fantasy world of soft focus and brilliant color.  The only sharp line is the one between good and evil.  Reality was grim for most people in the late '30s.  The dreamworld strove to provide an escape from, not an enhancement of, that reality.

The story is well-known, based on the Grimm fairy tale.  An evil queen is jealous of her pure and beautiful stepdaughter, Snow White.  The queen commands a huntsman to kill the princess but he cannot bring himself to do it.  The girl escapes to a cottage inhabited by seven bachelor dwarfs.  While in hiding, Snow White dreams of love but the queen is hatching a new plan.

Disney's Snow White owes much of its legacy to the songs, all written by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey.  "Heigh Ho" and "Whistle While You Work" are both classics.  The crown jewel is "Some Day My Prince Will Come," a well-established jazz standard.  I'm not a huge fan of Adriana Caselotti, the uncredited voice of Snow White - rather shrill, an example of an unfortunate style of the era.  More satisfying is Harry Stockwell, the uncredited voice of The Prince. 

16 comments:

  1. Some day will my prince come?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Of course, he will! Watch out for old ladies pushing apples, though.

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  2. Janie, when he comes find out if he has a Uncle for me !

    One of my all time favorite movies. I sang all the songs as a child. The animation is beyond beautiful.
    As much as I am a fan of Pixar movies, The Incredibles, Up, Wall-e, Brave (to name a few) it is the short films where they shine for me.
    But for me nothing can really beat hand illustration. Even though Daughter does the most wonderful computer art, that I am always amazed by.
    For me nothing beats the feel of pencil, pen brush ink and paints on paper.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Don't get me wrong. I love Pixar. The tech marvels aside, I think they've brought a lot of class to family films. They're not Ghibli but they are the best thing going on this side of the Pacific.

      That said, Pixar has yet to match the magical elegance of the early Disney films.

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  3. This was the first movie I saw in theaters. During a re-release, you understand...

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    1. I think the first movie I ever saw was a Disney re-release, too. Either Bambi or Robin Hood, not sure which.

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  4. This is a sweet film although i never cared for the look of Snow White since I loved how the Grimm Fairy Tales presented her. I think all the computer graphics makes one forget how stupendous these animated films are. I love Fantasia and the images are truly captivating.

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  5. I first watched that with my daughter when she was little. I really enjoyed the new take on it that the TV show Once Upon a Time does with the story and makes Snow White tough and kick ass.

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    1. Wife and daughter love Once Upon a Time. I tried it but wasn't sold.

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  6. Sometimes the singing is hit and miss for that era but it's a classic. Nowadays the title is very controversial with the name "dwarves".

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    1. One of my students is a dwarf. It's his preferred term. I don't know his opinion on Snow White.

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  7. I need to see this movie. This was my favorite fairy tale as a child, one that I read over and over again.

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    1. I've never read the original Grimm tale but I intend to do so soon.

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