Friday, April 4, 2014

Seven Things About Snow White

I've made a goal to watch all twelve Disney princess movies in chronological orders. I kicked it off with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here are some things I noticed:
1. 1937 Snow White looks very different from how she appears on Disney merchandise today. Over the years, her dress has become a richer shade of yellow and her skin isn't so eerily pale.
2. You have to appreciate the irony of the queen, who wanted to be the fairest in the land, dying as an ugly hag.
Evil queens: Teaching you to distrust door-to-door salespeople for seventy-seven years.
3. Grumpy has the most developed personality of the dwarfs. Most of the others can be summed up by their names. He has the closest thing to a character arc in this movie. He starts out scornful of Snow White and doesn't want to risk the queen's wrath by taking her in. But at the end, he cries over her dead body and places a flower on her coffin.

4. Even though it's a full length film, it bears more resemblance to Disney's short films, like Steamboat Willie, than it does later movies. It focuses more on cutesy animals and singing than it does on the actual story.

5. In the scene where the Queen shows her mirror the pig heart in a box, the heart is hidden from view. Also, we don't see Snow White actually biting into the apple. The camera focuses on the witch's place until the apple falls from her hands. Was that considered too scary for 1937 audiences?

6 Can Snow White speak animal, or are creatures in this world just naturally gifted? One of the bluebirds is intelligent enough to write Grumpy's name on a pie. With no help from Snow White.

7. Even though the story's not much to look at, you have to admire the artwork. Several years ago I watched part of a documentary on its creation and had to walk out of the room. It took a ridiculous amount of effort to create one scene. Now whenever I watch animated movies, I can't help but feel slightly queasy. All those countless hours they put into the art and I just watch for the story. I feel ungrateful.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full length animated film. With it, Disney proved not only that cartoons could be taken seriously, but that they were capable of producing a movie. Snow White is definitely not a masterpiece, but it gave rise to all the other films we love today.

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