Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD)

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Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD)

Disney's first full-length animated masterpiece features all the elements of a classic fairy tale--a beautiful heroine, an evil queen, Prince Charming...

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Review of "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD)"

published 19/07/2001 | thedeadparrot
Member since : 20/03/2001
Reviews : 61
Members who trust : 23
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Excellent
Pro Fantastic songs
Cons Terrible singing from Snow White
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"What do you think we've been doing all our lives"

Well, it's been several weeks, but I'm finally back here. I've been getting pleas from Anna (eca99ajm) for more film reviews, so I'm getting right back in here and continuing my Disney series of ops. And where better to continue than with the first ever full length animated motion picture - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Oh, and it almost got scuppered by ciao's lack of a category for the film, and then the several day wait for it to be added!

To many people, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the quintessential Disney film. Released in 1937, it was the first full length animated motion picture, and also the precursor to the popular musical genre, predating Broadway's fascination with song-and-dance routines, which began in the early 1940's.

Snow White had always been Uncle Walt's favourite fairy tale, ever since he was a child. In fact, he thought it was the perfect story, combining the love of Snow White and the Prince, the evilness of the Queen, and the comic nature of the Dwarves. So really, it's not too much of a surprise that he chose it to be the basis of his first feature.

The film opens in the way that all good fairy tales do - with the reading of a book. This does the tedious work of setting up the characters, so that by the time the film proper starts, we know who the queen is, what the magic mirror is, etc etc. One point to make here is that the book used is a real book - either that, or the artists have some unbelievable (and unreproducable) skills.

The film itself begins with Snow White in rags, scrubbing the steps of the castle. Before long she bursts into song, wishing at the well in the courtyard for her true love to find her. Of course, whilst she's doing this, who should hear her from the other side of the from the other side of the wall, but a Charming Prince? So charming is he that he decides that he must climb over the wall (trespass), creep up behind Snow White (stalking) and start singing along with her (assault with a deadly weapon - only joking). It all looks like it could be the start of something special.

Unfortunately for the star-crossed lovers (Really? They're from a different story? Oh well) whilst this is going on the wicked Queen is ordering a huntsman to take Snow White into the forest to look at all the pretty flowers and then kill her. For proof of this act the Queen tells the huntsman to bring back Snow White's heart in a box. Luckily for Snow White, although the huntsman is mortally terrified of the Queen, he cannot bring himself to kill the princess. Instead he tells her to runs away into the forest and never return, and he goes back to the wicked queen, bringing with him the heart of a deer.

As Snow White flees from the huntsman we enter easily the scariest portion of the film, her escape through the forest. Given the fact that she has just nearly been killed, it's not really a surprise that Snow White anthropomorphises the trees into hideous clawing creatures who are bent on ripping her to pieces. The nightmare scene continues, getting ever more feverish, until finally Snow White collapses to the ground in a state of extreme shock. In conversations that I have had with various people who got to see this film first time around, this scene is the one that stuck in the mind most clearly, and in several cases caused severe nightmares.

When Snow White comes to, however, the world is a much happier place. Cute and cuddly woodland animals have come out to investigate her and everything seems well. Well, not everything - you see, she still doesn't have anywhere to live. But luckily, the animals can sort that one out too and take Snow White to a little house in a clearing.

Once in the house, Snow White decides that it's all rather adorable and that it must be inhabited by seven little children. Given the amount of dirt and grime around the house, she decides that they must not have a mother, so, as every good broody female would do, she decides that she should take care of the little tykes. Of course, doing all that housework really takes it out of her, so as soon as she's finished she decides to commandeer three of the dwarves' beds and drop straight off to sleep.

At about this time, over on the other side of the forest, the seven dwarves are finishing work for the day. As they march off home they sing their theme tune - "Heigh Ho". Yes, that's right, it's spelt "Heigh", not "Hi". That's what Uncle Walt says, so that's what it is. Anyway, when they arrive home, they notice that something's wrong with the house. It's clean, all the dust's gone, and even the sugar from Bashful's coffee cup's been taken. Obviously this is "devil's work". Not finding anything downstairs, they decide to look upstairs, where they find what they Snow White yawning and stretching under a blanket. Of course, they can't see that it's Snow White and run away terrified. Realising that the "monster" was in fact asleep, the dwarves go back upstairs and prepare to kill it by bashing it over the head. Luckily for Snow White they uncover her just before mashing her brains about on the pillow and stop in the nick of time.

Once Snow White wakes up, the dwarves are introduced properly for the first time. Once that's out of the way, the eightsome settle down for a nice meal and everything seems dandy, after all, Snow White can cook apple dumplings and gooseberry pie!

Already I've written a couple of hundred more words than I normally would do for my plot synopsis, so I'll leave it there for the plot. No doubt most of you already know the story anyway, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for you if you don't.

During the development phase of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", a full 25 songs were written for inclusion in the film, but in the end only eight were used. Why, you ask? Well, think about it - 25 songs would have made the film far too long! Seriously though, the songs chosen were all well chosen, with each of them either progressing the storyline or developing character. In the digitally restored version of the video that I own, there is also an included "making of" featurette (made in a time when these were rare) which includes an unfinished pencil version of a "soup drinking song" which would have been placed directly after the "hand washing scene". While this is an excellent scene, and very funny, it didn't advance the story so Uncle Walt had to leave it out. A pity, and if the film had been made today it probably would have been left in as it did answer a question about Dopey's bar of soap, but we have to remember that this film was a *huge* gamble in even being made in the first place.

Nowadays Disney is a by-word for wholesome family entertainment that you can show kids of all ages. However, at the time it was released it was the adult audience that Uncle Walt was worried about. After all, the amount of time, money and talent used in the film could never be justified for a children's film, could it? In fact, at the time it was released children had to be accompanied by an adult because of the adult themes within the film. No it's rated U, but I, personally, really do think that it should be a PG.

The only thing that I don't think works about the film is Snow White's singing voice. I just can't stand the way that she warbles her lines! It might just be me, but somehow I don't think so.

At the end of the day, this is the quintessential Disney movie, and if you haven't seen it already, you really should. It's suitable for all but the very youngest of children.

In closing, I think I'll tell you what the title of this op's about. One of the techniques used to create realism in the film was to use real rouge on Snow White's cheeks. Apparently, Uncle Walt was rather concerned about how the women artists would know exactly where to put the make-up on each image of Snow White's face. The response was simple -

"Mr Disney, what do you think we've been doing all our lives?"

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Comments on this review

  • master_of_shadows published 07/09/2006
    I meant doing, not done!!!
  • master_of_shadows published 07/09/2006
    I'm done a review on this video soon and I was looking for some inspiration..... Yay, I found some!!!!!
  • Louise90 published 31/03/2006
    Aww, I love this film! I'm a big kid at heart! Louise. x
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Product Information : Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD)

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Disney's first full-length animated masterpiece features all the elements of a classic fairy tale--a beautiful heroine, an evil queen, Prince Charming...and a septet of whistling dwarfs. In hiding from her jealous and wicked stepmother, the fair Snow White takes refuge with a band of kind-hearted, hard-working dwarves: Bashful, Sneezy, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey and Doc. Eventually the vain queen finds Snow White and tricks her into eating a poisoned apple. Luckily, a wandering prince comes to her rescue, but can he break the evil queen's spell?<BR><BR><BR>Based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS was initially thought a crazy idea for a feature film by those at Walt Disney. However, its lush production and charming characters proved otherwise. Standing the test of time since its release in 1937, the film has entranced audiences for decades, teaching them to never be vain and always whistle while they work.

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Listed on Ciao since: 19/07/2001