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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (A Movie Review)


Featuring the voices of Adriana Caselotti, Lucille LaVerne, Harry Stockwell, Moroni Olsen, Roy Atwell, Pinto Colvig, Billy Gilbert, Otis Harlan, Scotty Mattraw, Eddie Collins, Stuart Buchanan, James MacDonald and Marion Darlington.

Screenplay by Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Credon, Dick Rickard, Merrill De Maris and Webb Smith.

Directed by David Hand.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 84 minutes. Rated G.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs begs the basic question – can something that was revolutionary and completely unique in its time still feel fresh nearly three quarters of a century later?

After all, in many ways, 72 years down the line, Snow White feels kind of dated. Particularly in its title heroine, who looks and sounds like a flapper and is honestly not nearly as interesting as the characters surrounding her.

However, while in many ways Snow White is out of step with modern sensibilities – for example, Snow White wins the dwarfs over by cooking and cleaning for them, kissing their foreheads and because she sure is “purdy” – it is still a fascinating and stunning piece of film history.

The film would be historically noteworthy if for no other reason because it is the first feature-length animated film. Of course, that in itself would not necessarily have made the film a perennial favorite for over seven decades now. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is so much more than just the first. It is still, to this day, the model upon which all animated films are built.

Itself loosely based on a Grimm’s fairy tale, the story of Snow White and her little protectors has been ingrained upon generations of children. Yet, looking back at the movie as an adult, the film is surprisingly complex and somewhat downbeat for a children's fable.

The storytelling alternates between pleasingly cutesy (furry forest creatures!) and chilling (the evil queen is still a terrific villain). The dwarves thoughtfully are named in accordance with their personality.

Still, 72 years later, every frame of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is bursting with imagination and savvy. There is a reason why this movie is an all-time classic. Most modern animated features could learn a thing or two from this ancestor.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2009 All rights reserved. Posted: October 5, 2009.


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