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Based on the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in New York City on December 21, 1937. The film, which is 83 minutes in length, was the first full-length animated feature in Disney history. As such, Walt Disney included a thank you note to all who worked on the movie in the opening credits.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Or does it?
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs commences with a Queen, a very jealous and evil Queen, who is angered by the fact that her stepdaughter, Snow White, is fairer than she. To resolve this situation, the monarch dispatches the Huntsman to kill the title character.
Unfortunately for the Queen, the Huntsman possesses a heart, and Snow White lives on. She escapes into the forest where a number of friendly animals lead her to shelter at a presently vacant cottage owned by seven dwarfs. The dwarfs are off mining when Snow White arrives, but she goes inside anyway and proceeds to clean and take a nap. Sure she’s breaking and entering, but it’s understandable—one cannot expect her to sleep in a rabbit hole or a bird’s nest!
As the film progresses, mutual respect and love between Snow White and the dwarfs becomes evident. Indeed, only one creature can hinder their happiness: the Queen.
One of the many great aspects of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the visuals. Even if the plot was completely un-engaging, the film would still be fun to look at. Among other sights, logs turn into alligators, an assortment of animals clean the house, and the dwarfs ride deer as if they were race horses in an attempt to save Snow White.
Although most of the aforementioned situations are farfetched, some scenes involve visual gags that are more believable, relatively speaking. For example, while most of the animals quickly rush to the second floor to help Snow White get into bed, the turtle naturally moves a bit slower. By the time the other critters are coming back downstairs, the turtle hasn’t even made it halfway up the staircase.
Even the darker moments in the film are beautiful to look at. In fact, the scene where Snow White runs into the forest and the scene where the Queen concocts her potions in the laboratory are two of my favorites because of the animation.
Aside from Snow White and the Queen, the seven dwarfs are the main characters in the film. These short creatures, who work in the mines for a living, are named after their respective traits: Doc, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy, and Bashful, respectively.
The Dwarfs are fun characters because of their quirky personalities. They care deeply about Snow White and will do anything they can to help her. Grumpy seems to dislike her for a majority of the film, but he comes around at the end.
My two favorite dwarfs are Sneezy and Doc.
Sneezy is amusing because the power exerted by his sneezes is incredible—he may as well be creating gale-force winds. In one scene, his sneeze is so strong that his upper body pops off! Well, actually, Dopey was standing on top of him and fell down, but I digress.
As for Doc, he enjoys dumple applings…err, apple dumplings. As you will quickly be able to tell, he has a tendency to mix up his words, which creates for some awkward, and funny, moments. For a doctor, he doesn’t seem to have the greatest hygiene. When Snow White asks the dwarfs when the last time they “washed up” was, Doc responded with “last week” before changing his answer to “recently.” As it turned out, all the dwarfs had filthy hands, and they seemed to be afraid of the water. I’ll just say that I’m glad this movie wasn’t shot in smell-o-vision.
Music plays a major role in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, positively complementing the plot. Several of the songs in the film, including “”I’m Wishing” and “With a Smile and a Song,” are beautiful numbers while others are more fun. “Whistle While You Work” and “Heigh-Ho” fall into the latter category.
Personally, I find the upbeat songs in the film to be more memorable than the serious tunes. Maybe it’s just because “Whistle While You Work” and “Heigh-Ho” were ingrained into my head as a child, but the more serious songs just seem to blend together for me when thinking of them after the fact. Either way, the music is great as a whole.
In the Parks
At Disneyland Park in California, guests can ride through scenes from the flick on “Snow White’s Scary Adventures.” The version of this dark ride that formerly existed at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was closed on May 31, 2012 and replaced by Princess Fairytale Hall, a character greeting location.
A roller coaster based on the film, “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train,” is currently under construction in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. It is scheduled to open sometime in 2014.
Finally, Disneyland Park is home to “Snow White Grotto.” This wishing well includes statues of Snow White in addition to the dwarfs and some animals.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney’s first full-length film, and it is arguably still the company’s best. The movie is well animated, the music is wonderful, and the characters are fun.
What do you think of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Let me know in a comment!
I'm a huge fan of the various Disney theme parks and movies. I've made several trips to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland with my family.
Additionally, I'm interested in sports and American history.