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Film Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Updated on December 22, 2016
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1937, Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, based on the 1812 fairy tale "Snow White" by the Brothers Grimm, as the company's first full-length animated film. Starring Adriana Caselotti, Lucile La Verne, Harry Stockwell, Roy Atwell, Pinto Colvig, Otis Harlan, Scotty Mattraw, Billy Gilbert, Eddie Collins, Moroni Olsen, and Stuart Buchanan, the film grossed $416 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Informed that Snow White is the fairest in the land, her Wicked Queen stepmother conspires to have her killed. However, when the huntsman she sends can’t bring himself to do so, Snow White flees into the woods. There, she meets seven adult dwarfs who welcome her into their home because she can clean and cook.

Review

As the first feature film for Disney, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is quite good. The plot itself works quite well in its transition from page to screen, with the similar elements given good representations, including Snow White fleeing death and finding the cottage only for the Queen to try and poison her. Yet, it’s where the stories diverge and the film starts to present plot that wasn’t in the original story does the transition really show. In the original story, Snow White just wanders the forest, here, it’s dramatized that she’s seeing all these monsters come after her. It makes sense and it works due to the audience seeing her flight through the forest through her eyes and she’s just a scared little girl. Of course everything seemingly looks like it’s going to kill her. Further, in the original, the Queen tries to off Snow White three times: through a bodice, a comb and then the apple. Making it so that the attempt is only through the apple makes it so that Snow White doesn’t come off like she is complete moron. Granted, she does act stupidly at times, letting an old woman she doesn’t know in when it’s clear that the animals she supposedly understands are attacking her.

Speaking of the Queen, she’s good at what she does, namely being evil since no other kind of person would want to kill a teenage girl due to her beauty. She knows how to go about plans too with her sending someone to kill her first. When that fails, the queen doesn't kill him, demonstrating that she knows the value of a henchman. At the same time, success at being evil also comes with success at pettiness and a quick downfall. It’s fascinating that her entire goal is to become the fairest person in the kingdom, even going so far as to kill a teenager for that title. In the face of that, her vanity and jealousy end up stripping any contention away from her. She goes from a somewhat attractive queen to an old, decrepit hag in her efforts to kill the girl and in doing so, removes any semblance of beauty she once had.

Really, that’s where the whole point of the story comes into play. Snow White and the Queen may be quite attractive in their appearance, though only one has true attractiveness and that’s Snow White. The mirror doesn't see that she's more beautiful on the outside, On the inside, she’s a friend to all living things and goes about her daily tasks with a song in her heart. On the other hand, the Queen may have outward beauty. Nevertheless, inwardly, she has none at all. While Snow White is more attractive physically, she’s in the middle of the forest where only the dwarves and animals see her. Everyone else can see the outward beauty of the Queen, but it’s her inward ugliness that pushes her to make it so that there’s no possible way for anyone or anything to see Snow White’s beauty and thus ends up turning the ugliness inside of her outward and making her into the aforementioned hag. This kills her.

4 stars for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Honorary Award (For Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, recognized as a signfiicant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field)

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Overall New Extra Features, Library Title

Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Awards

  • Special Award (To Walt Disney, in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the movie)

National Board of Review

  • Top Ten Films

National Film Preservation Board

  • National Film Registry

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Special Award

Online Film & Television Association

  • OFTA Film Hall of Fame

Venice Film Festival

  • Grand Biennale Art Trophy

Walk of Fame

  • Star on the Walk of Fame (On 28 June 1987. At 6910 Hollywood Blvd.)

Young Artist Awards

  • Jackie Coogan Awards

Nomianted for

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Score

DVD Exclusive Video Premiere Awards

  • Best New, Enhanced or Reconstructed Movie Scenes
  • Best DVD Menu Design

Grammy Awards

  • Best Recording for Children

Venice Film Festival

  • Mussolini Cup - Best Foreign Film


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