Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) from Tuna

Ok, you are all saying "What is this crazy fish thinking? A Disney cartoon from 1937?" 

This is an absolutely amazing restoration job on both the video and audio, but that's not why I want to talk about it. This special edition, being released next Tuesday, is the most impressive package in terms of special features I have seen to date, and Snow White is a very important film for many reasons.

Snow White was originally written as a Grimms fairy tale (Sneewitchen). Disney saw a silent version using real actors, and fell in love with the story. In the 30's, he was well known for his shorts, but realized that he would have to make feature films to grow his studio. Snow White was to be the first animated feature film. He also realized that, to pull it off, he would have to advance the state of the art in animation on several fronts. He invented a new animation camera (the multi-plane) to give a dimensional effect to backgrounds, modeled the animation of characters after film footage he took of performers moving, created an art school for his artists, and paid attention to every minute detail to create this masterpiece. You can make a good case for this being the best animated feature ever made. Indeed, several of Disney's later efforts were criticized as not being as good as Snow White.

This 2 disk set is the standard to which special features will be compared. On disk one, they have pieced together a feature length commentary from actual audio clips of Walt Disney. They have also included a video game played with the remote control, and previews of what will be found on disk 2. There is also a new recording of Barbra Streisand singing Someday My Prince Will Come, a Disney short which served as a test for Snow White, a karaoke sing-along to "Heigh-Ho"

The Second DVD contains the complete history of the making of the film, and amazing insight into the process of Disney animation, as well as four deleted scenes (including a deleted song), newsreel footage from the premiere, the original press kits, and more.

For those with kids or grand kids, this is a must own. For those with a real interest in film, and especially animation, you will spend hours on the special features DVD, and I found the film a total delight, which may mean that I am in my second (or third) childhood. 

Scoopy's notes:

I really enjoyed the sneak preview of Robert Altman's modern day live-action version, although I thought Sigourney Weaver was a bit too old to play the ingénue.

But the film worked because of plenty of wacky mayhem from those dwarfs. Danny DeVito, as Grumpy DePalma, shines in his career role, while Christian Slater is uncommonly affecting in his portrayal of the enigmatic Sneezy Adams, showing us the tears behind the tragic sneezing disease. Tom Cruise reaches far beyond his usual range to play Leonard "Dopey" Kidman, although that proved to be an unfortunate choice of last names for his character. I also enjoyed Linda Hunt, who's again straying into Oscar territory with her dual role as two male dwarfs, the twin drug addicts, Doc and Bashful Lescoulie.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • fullscreen

  • see Tuna's notes

And you had to love Tina Turner as the "Acid" Queen and former Soviet leader Gorbachev as the voice of the talking Russian space station, "Magic" Mir

I was less convinced by the two sporty dwarves. Spud Webb was wooden as basketball star "Sleepy" Floyd, but he wasn't asked to do much but dribble. Charlie Sheen seemed totally out of place in his recreation of "Happy" Felsch from the classic baseball film "Eight Men Out", and while he is not an exceptionally tall man, he just seemed too damned tall to be a dwarf. 

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 4/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: It is rated 7.8/10, and #223 in the top 250 at IMDB. 
  • With their dollars ... US gross is estimated at $184M with another $80m in rentals.
  • Disney's original budget was $250,000, which he quickly doubled. The film finally cost $1.5 million, astronomical by 1937 standards.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is an A. Technically and artistically the standard by which all animated films are measured.

Return to the Movie House home page