Friday, October 19, 2007
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; animated adventure fantasy, USA, 1937; D: William Cottrell, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Wilfred Jackson, Ben Sharpsteen, S: Adriana Caselotti, Pinto Colvig, Roy Atwell, Luccile La Verne
In some unknown country, there lives a princess called Snow White. But her evil stepmother, a Queen, who lives with her in the castle, is jealous at her because the magic mirror said that Snow White is prettier than the Queen. She orders a hunter to kill Snow White, but he lets her run away and she hides in a forest where she reaches a small house. At night, seven dwarfs show up; Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey, and they decide to give Snow White shelter from the evil Queen. They sing for her and she cooks for them. But the Queen transforms into an old lady and poisons Snow White with an apple, but falls from a cliff when she was chased by the dwarfs. A young prince shows up and kisses Snow White, causing her to wake up.
The 10th highest-grossing film of the 20th century and the highest-grossing animated film within the US when adjusted for inflation, a one that sold 109 million tickets at the US box office, one of the favorite movies of Eisenstein and Chaplin, shining animated fantasy "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the first feature length animated achievement from Walt Disney and still one of the best movies of all time, a deeply touching and psychologically subconscious fairy tale that contains some kind of irresistible charm which is not even destroyed by the naive touch. Maybe the relaxed tone was enhanced due to a loose queuing of jokes (the movie has five directors) but also fun musical sequences. The whole film is filled with elementary, universally appealing situations, like when the dwarfs encounter Snow White for the first time: they notice somebody entered their home and figure it must be a burglar, slowly walking towards their bedroom where she suddenly raises the sheets in sleep by stretching and causes them all to panic and quickly run outside. Or the scene where the Snow White is praying, wishing for Grumpy to accept her. And the moment where dwarfs are heading off to work and she kisses everyone on the head, even Grumpy who resisted because he pretended to be "indifferent", but then was somehow "softened" by her affection, is pure magic. Basically, the story has only 11 characters, yet it is so pleasant and full of harmony, and the relationship between Snow White and the seven dwarfs has many secret meanings: from the fact that she becomes their mother up to the fact that they become her protectors. There will always be people who prefer dark stories, but "Snow White" has such superior innocence and love that smooths the soul, a masterpiece that will always be simplistic perfection, while also telling one of Disney's most winningly charming stories ever.