Posts tagged snow white and the seven dwarfs
Posts tagged snow white and the seven dwarfs
#1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Short prologue before I begin: Watching this movie with the little girl for whom I nanny five days a week was what gave me the idea for this project. She is one of the few children I’ve met who watches Snow White as often as she can. Most people, Disney lovers included, just are not particularly interested in watching this movie in its entirety. It’s considered boring, dated, irritating, slow, etc. by most people I’ve discussed it with. As we watched (for the third time that week), I found myself pondering that and analyzing it historically, comparing its cultural significance to how it holds up to the test of time. Basically, I needed to entertain myself. Then I thought, well, my Netflix DVD queue isn’t too full lately, let’s just do it right. I might as well watch every Disney animated feature in order and then write about it. Logical thought progression, right? So here we are and here I go.
I will say that I have never claimed to completely dislike this movie, because I don’t feel someone who loves animation as much as I do can discount the importance of the first successful full-length animated feature. Walt and I have our disagreements, but he was onto something big here, and props to him for doing it because there were a lot of people in the 1930s (including his wife) who were positive this movie would ruin him. So ha! Love or hate it, Snow White helped widen the possibilities for animation and opened up a whole new realm of moviemaking. Based on that alone, I can’t hate this movie.
Anyway, the animation IS lovely. Snow White is a unique-looking princess - just compare her multi-colored dress to the usual outfit of any other princess - and so VERY 1930s. She’s like a lovely time capsule of what the ideal woman was at the time - short, dark hair, bright red lips, soft baby voice (oh god, the voice). This is also the only Disney movie to use rotoscoping and it gives the movements of Snow White, the evil queen, and the prince a distinct feel and look. I consider that yet another instance of the movie as a time capsule of the period in which it was made. You can still see the strong influence the Fleischer Brothers’ popularity. I like it.
Most of the dwarf segments are funny and enjoyable, though some dwarfs (Dopey, Grumpy) get way more screentime than others (Sneezy and Sleepy are in this movie?!). There’s another side to the dwarf segments which I would categorize under not so good. More on that in a minute.
I do like that the queen is a full on villain, terrifying at the end, and gets what she deserves. Her segments of the film are very adult and definitely were part of the reason I did not watch this one much as a child.
The songs are hit or miss, but Someday My Prince Will Come has always been beautiful to me, and while her voice grates most of the time, it works during this song. Something about it makes me feel nostalgic, maybe because it’s the first princess love song, maybe because it has that 1930s feel. Dunno, but I love this song.
When Walt was working on this movie, he wanted it full of sight gags. At one point, he offered an extra five dollars to animators for every additional sight gag they came up with. This is why we get upwards of forty minutes of Dopey chasing soap around and other stuff that gets boring after two minutes. This is not entirely Walt’s fault - that’s how you make a successful animated short, and up to this point, that was all he had made. I’m not saying it’s a big deal, I’m just saying the lack of character development and the appearance of the prince in exactly TWO SCENES can probably be blamed on the extensive dwarf comedy.
As far as the story goes, the missing character development is my main complaint. I know the prince in these movies is often under-developed but seriously, we don’t even know his name, where he comes from, if he knows who Snow White is, why he was at her palace, or where he was for the whole middle hour and a half of the movie. It just frustrates me that, in the end, I feel more connected to the huntsman who tells Snow White to flee than the prince who awakens her from DEATH. Geez.
Snow White, too, suffers from a little of this as her main trait seems to be cheerful. Or clean. The only moment where she shows a personality that I would like to see more of is a scene I didn’t even remember existed - when she’s upstairs praying before she goes to bed, starts to get up, changes her mind, and says, “Oh yes, and please make Grumpy like me.” It’s a moment of self-awareness and insecurity that I don’t see anywhere else at all. More of this, please.
Also, why do all of her lines rhyme when she’s talking to the animals in the forest before she find the cottage? This doesn’t happen in the rest of the movie and it drives me nuts.
The dwarfs looks more like walking, talking gnomes or elves than like real little people. Not sure what I think of that.
Those Old-Timey, Unnecessary Racist Moments:
Disney throws these in all the time, especially in the early days, and I’m not going to ignore them. I hesitate to include a section like this - I don’t want to offend - but the sometimes racist tendencies shouldn’t be overlooked when completely reviewing the work of Disney.
Considering this is the oldest one, there were surprisingly few of these moments. Don’t worry, we’ll get to Dumbo soon enough.
Anyway, the only thing I saw was, while the dwarfs and Snow White are singing The Silly Song and dancing after dinner. Dopey is hitting a cymbal, Snow White kicks it, and then he puts it on his head, makes a weird face, and shuffles offscreen. This is supposed to be an Asian impression, I’m pretty sure. No doubt it was one of those five-dollar sight gags I mentioned before. It’s just like, why, though? It’s not even a joke, it just happens and then it’s over. Sigh. Just one of those moments. Oh Walt.
Next Time: Pinocchio
Reblogging because I’ve rarely seen all my issues with this film (the not good) listed combined with why I cannot fully hate the movie (see the “its importance”/the good). I really feel like I could love Snow and this movie more if it was less dwarf-gags and there was more character to her and the prince.