Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 movie)

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Directed by David Hand
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Merrill De Maris
Brothers Grimm (fairy tale)
Starring Adriana Caselotti
Lucille La Verne
Pinto Colvig
Roy Atwell
Music by Frank Churchill
Paul Smith
Leigh Harline
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) December 21, 1937 (premiere)
February 4, 1938
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,488,000[1]
Money made $184,925,486

Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in the United Kingdom) is a 1937 American movie, based on the fairy tale "Snow White" by the Brothers Grimm. It was the first movie length animated movie to be produced by Walt Disney Productions, the first color movie-length animated movie with sound, and the first American animated feature movie in movie history.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937, and was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 4, 1938. The story was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith. David Dodd Hand, who later went on to direct the also beloved "Bambi", was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the movie's different sequences.

This was one of only two animated movies to rank in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time in 1997 (the other being Disney's Fantasia), ranking number 49. It ranked higher (#34) in the list's 2007 update, this time being the only traditionally animated movie on the list. The following year AFI would name the movie as the greatest animated movie of all time

In 1989, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was added to the United States National Film Registry as being significant in culture, history, or aesthetics.

The Story[change | edit source]

An evil queen has a mirror and asks "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" The mirror answers "Snow White". Snow White is lost in the woods, and comes across the home of seven little men, or dwarves. She cleans their home, and they allow her to stay with them. The queen eventually finds out that the heart in the box is of a pig so she goes and changes herself onto an old hag. She goes to the dwarfs' cottage the next day while they're out and gets Snow White to bite into an apple with makes her fall dead. Suddenly, the dwarfs chase the old hag up a cliff and trap her. She tries to roll a boulder over them but lightening strikes and she dies. Snow White is awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.

Production[change | edit source]

Walt Disney introduces each of the Seven Dwarfs in a scene from the original 1937 Snow White theatrical trailer.

Development on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in early 1934, and in June 1934, Walt Disney announced the production of his first feature to the New York Times.[2] Before Snow White, the Disney studio had been mainly involved in the production of highly successful animated shorts in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series. Disney hoped to enlarge his studio's reputation and money by moving into features, and estimated that Snow White could be produced for a budget of $250,000 - ten times the budget of an average Silly Symphony.

Walt Disney had to fight to get the movie produced. Both his brother Roy Disney and his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it, and the Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the movie as "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. He even had to mortgage his house to help finance the movie's production, which eventually ran up a total cost of just over $1.5 million, a huge sum for a movie in 1937.

Characters[change | edit source]

  • Adriana Caselotti as Princess Snow White: Snow White was the daughter of a great king whose wife died when the daughter was born. Her evil stepmother forced her to work as a maid in the castle because she was afraid of Snow White one day will be fairer than her. Despite this, she is cheerful but naive and everyday wishes to has a beautiful life with her Prince Charming. One day who the magic mirror said Snow White is fairier than the Queen she sents a huntsman to kill the princess. At last that's very hard and the huntsman leaves her go to the forest. After her adventures in the forest she with the help of the forest animals she finds the cottage of the seven dwarves and clean up that. After she went to sleep the seven dwarves return and meet her. After the meeting they promised to protect her from the Queen and Snow White takes the role of their mother clean up the home and cook. After the Queen disguised to a peddler and went to Snow White with a poisoned apple. She finally eat the apple because the Queen said is a magical wishing apple. After the death of the Queen the dwarves make for her a glass coffin. Years later her Prince came and said good bye to her with a kiss but that kiss was the only one thing who can break the spell and Snow White turned back to life. Said goodbye and kissed in the forehead the dwarves and pleased all of them for their help and honesty and went with the prince in his Fairytale Castle in the Clouded Heaven. Virginia Davis, who starred in Disney's "Alice" series, was considered for the role of Snow White, but was turned down. Deanna Durbin was also considered, but was turned down because her voice was "too mature" for the role.
  • Lucille La Verne as The Queen: The Queen is the stepmother of Snow White. Once her magic mirror tells her that Snow White is fairer than she is, she tells a huntsman to kill her in the woods. After she finds out that Snow White did not die, she disguises herself as an old hag and uses a poisoned apple in order to kill Snow White. After she poisoned Snow White she started to run away because the dwarves were hunting her and climbed in the cliff of a mount. In the cliff she was trying to fall a giant rock in the dwarves and kill them, when she started to laugh a big thunderbolt fell on her and broke the cliff and the Queen fell in her wild deathly fate and after the rock fell on her and threshed her bones. Finally two wicked vultures who followed her went in her to eat her dead threshed body.
  • Harry Stockwell as Prince Charming (a.k.a Prince Ferdinand): Prince first sees Snow White to sings in her wishing well and fell in love with. After she saw him the Prince sang for her a romantic song and promished he will come back for her. After Snow White's death he returned and gave Snow White a kiss to say to her good bye but with the kiss broke the spell and with her returned in his Great Fairytale Castle in the Clouded Heaven.
  • Roy Atwell as Doc: Doc is considered the pompous leader of the seven dwarfs, and is possibly the oldest. He wears glasses and often mixes up his words. In the mine he looks for usable diamonds.
  • Pinto Colvig as Grumpy: Grumpy is as his name suggests him to be. He has the biggest nose of the seven and he automatically does not approve of Snow White for the simple fact that she is a woman. However, though too proud to show it, deep down he cares perhaps the most for her safety. He repeatedly warns her of the threat posed by the Queen and rushes to Snow White's rescue upon realizing that she is in danger, leading the charge himself.
  • Otis Harlan as Happy: Happy is the joyous and cheerful dwarf. He is the fattest and the sweetest of the seven and is always laughing. In the mine he digs for diamonds with Grumpy, Bashful and Sneezy.
  • Pinto Colvig as Sleepy: Sleepy is always tired,. His job at the mine is to haul all the diamonds and rubies by cart to Doc for inspection. He has the longest beard of the seven. Usually he is annoyed by a fly, who appears as a background character.
  • Scotty Mattraw as Bashful: Bashful is the shyest and cutest of the dwarfs, and is therefore often embarrassed by the presence of any attention directed at him. He frequently annoys Grumpy, though not as much as Doc. In Walt Disney's own words, according to one of the movie's original theatrical trailers, Bashful is "secretly in love with Snow White".
  • Billy Gilbert as Sneezy:[3] Sneezy's name is earned by his huge powerful sneezes, which are seen blowing objects (including his brothers) across a room. He has the shortest beard of the seven (besides the beardless Dopey). The cause of his sneezes is hay fever.
  • Eddie Collins as Dopey:[4] Dopey is the seven dwarfs' baby to have no beard at all; he is the youngest of the seven. As his name suggests, Dopey is clumsy. His clumsiness provides comic relief to some of the story. He is a mute, or at any rate never speaks and does not know whether he can. His job at the mine is to clean up all the unusable jewels and lock up the vault. He is always seen last in line whenever the dwarfs walk to and from work. Although he is scared at times, he can also be very brave, especially when Snow White is in danger.
  • Moroni Olsen as The Magic Mirror: The Slave of the Magic Mirror appears as a green mask in clouds of smoke. The Queen always asks him who is the fairest in the land.
  • Stuart Buchanan as Humbert the Huntsman: The Huntsman is a kind-hearted person who cannot bear to kill Snow White, even when the Queen orders him to take the princess's heart.

Unvoiced characters include Snow White's animal friends, the Queen's raven, and the vultures who follow the Witch. However, although the animals did not have human speaking voices, their natural calls were very lifelike, and were all voiced by champion whistler and animal mimic A. Purves Pullen, who would provide bird and animal calls for Disney movies (including numerous Pluto cartoons) for several decades. Pullen also produced the bird calls for the Enchanted Tiki Room attractions at Disney theme parks. During the 1940s and 1950s, he performed as "Dr. Horatio Q. Birdbath" with the comedy band Spike Jones & His City Slickers.

Release[change | edit source]

The famous "Heigh-Ho" sequence from the movie, animated by Shamus Culhane.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first re-released in 1944, in order to raise revenue for the Disney studio during the World War II period. This re-release set a tradition of re-releasing Disney animated features every seven to ten years, and Snow White was re-released to theaters in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987, and 1993.

Theatrical release history[change | edit source]

United States releases[change | edit source]

Worldwide releases[change | edit source]

Reception[change | edit source]

Disney's wife, Lillian, told him that no one will go pay anything to see a dwarf picture.[5] Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937 to a very impressed audience, many of the same people who called the movie "Disney's Folly." The movie received a prasie from many child actors audience that included Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Jack Benny, Fred MacMurray, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Burns and Allen, Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, John Barrymore, and Marlene Dietrich. Six days later, Walt Disney and the seven dwarfs appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The New York Times said "Thank you very much, Mr. Disney." RKO Radio Pictures put the movie into general release on February 4, 1938, and it went on to become a huge box-office success, making more money than any other movie in 1938. In fact, for a short time, Snow White was the highest-grossing movie in American cinema history, until it was beat by Gone with the Wind in 1939. When taking inflation into account, and including rereleases, the movie still remains one of the top ten American movie moneymakers of all time.[6]

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature movie made in English and Technicolor (not counting the Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons), and won an Academy Award for Walt Disney as a huge movie which has charmed millions and started a great new form of entertainment. Disney won a full-size Oscar statuette and seven small ones, given to him by 10-year-old child actress Shirley Temple.

The movie was also nominated for Best Musical Score. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" has become a jazz standard that has been performed by numerous artists, including Buddy Rich, Lee Wiley, Oscar Peterson, and Miles Davis.

Noted moviemakers such as Sergei Eisenstein and Charlie Chaplin praised the movie as a huge achievement in cinema.[7] The movie inspired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to produce its own fantasy movie, The Wizard of Oz in 1939. The 1943 Merrie Melodies short Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, directed by Bob Clampett, parodies Snow White by presenting the story with an all-black cast singing a jazz score.

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten movies in ten "classic" American movie genres. After polling over 1,500 people from the creative community, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was acknowledged as the best movie in the animation genre.[8]

Songs[change | edit source]

  • "I'm Wishing/One Song" - Snow White, The Prince
  • "With a Smile and a Song" - Snow White
  • "Whistle While You Work" - Snow White
  • "Heigh-Ho" - The Dwarfs
  • "Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum" (a.k.a. "The Washing Song") - The Dwarfs
  • "The Silly Song" (a.k.a. "The Dwarfs' Yodel Song") - The Dwarfs
  • "Some Day My Prince Will Come" - Snow White
  • "One Song" - The Prince and Chorus
  • "Some Day My Prince Will Come"

Theme Parks[change | edit source]

Snow White's Scary Adventures is a popular theme park ride at Disneyland (an opening day attraction dating from 1955), Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. Snow White, her Prince, and the Seven Dwarfs are also featured in parades and character appearances throughout the parks.

Video game[change | edit source]

A video game was released for the Game Boy Color system. Snow White appears in the popular PlayStation 2 game Kingdom Hearts as one of the seven fabled Princesses of Heart.

References[change | edit source]

  1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029583/business
  2. Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. pgs. 125-126. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  3. www.http://disney.go.com/vault/archives/characters/sevendwarfs/sevendwarfs.html Disney Archives
  4. Disney Archives | The Seven Dwarfs Character History
  5. Walt Disney: The Biography by Neal Gabler, 2007
  6. "All-Time Box Office: Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation". Box Office Mojo.
  7. Culhane, John (July 12, 1987). "'Snow White' at 50: undimmed magic." The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  8. "AFI's 10 Top 10". American Film Institute. 2008-06-17. http://www.afi.com/10top10/animation.html. Retrieved 2008-06-18.

Other websites[change | edit source]