O.G. Disney – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The original.  So everybody knows the story: there’s a beautiful girl who sparks the scorn of a jealous queen.  When sent to her execution in the forest, the tasked huntsman cannot perform the deed, so she retreats to the woods to seek shelter with seven dwarfs, living in the middle of nowhere.  If you ever have the chance to go to either Disney World or Disneyland, it isn’t hard to get inspired to go back and revisit some of these relics from the past.  Having just rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on my honeymoon, my wife and I (gotta fully adjust from referring to her as my fiancé) decided to sit down this month and watch the very first Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Sure, there are elements to it that are dated, but this is still an achievement for the medium, especially when you consider that this got released in 1937.

Snow WhiteInstead of making changes to the hints of misogyny, Mirror Mirror thought it was more important to update the silly hats.

This may just be the most influential animated movie of all time.  It paved the way for so many animated films, all of which owe a tip of their hat to this one here.  The family market is a lucrative demographic, and if you win them over, they will come back multiple times over, even if it means buying an updated, higher resolution package to products they already own whenever the vault gets opened.  With this film there is just so much craft to it that is readily visible, and you can easily tell just how much time and effort went into this; between the art and the design, Snow White is always a visual treat.

snow-white-and-seven-dwarfsI know what we can do with computers today is amazing, so when you think about every frame of this being hand drawn, it’s mind boggling.

Now I will say that some of the songs don’t hold up; there are a couple of numbers that Snow White has toward the beginning that I had forgotten even existed.  But there are two songs prominently featured here that are instant classics in “Whistle While You Work”, and “Heigh-Ho”.  Even though Doc is essentially Happy with spectacles, the character designs are very successful in giving everyone a whole lot of personality in a very brief amount of time.  From a storytelling standpoint, I have a couple of issues, namely that Prince Charming is kind of worthless; he’s in the film for maybe 4 minutes, and he gets still gets to claim all the glory of being the man that comes to the rescue at the end?  Clearly, a sign of the times.  Also, the evil queen vs. Snow White storyline is the most compelling angle, but we spend the majority of our time in this cabin with these dwarfs; this is obviously to make it more family friendly, as all of these guys are wholly lovable, and I completely understand that.  All of that said, making criticisms against this feels completely like nitpicking, given what a firmly cemented classic this is.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) ****

– Critic for Hire


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