Disney Animation Marathon: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) Review
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) is the first feature-length film released by Walt Disney Animation Studios. With many people working behind the scenes on different segments, there are six credited directors including Ben Sharpsteen and Wilfred Jackson, with Adriana Caselotti providing the voice of Snow White. Based on the tale of the Brothers Grimm, Snow White is told by the Huntsman (voiced by Stuart Buchanan) to run away and live in the forest for a while as the Wicked Queen (voiced by Lucilla La Verne). Whilst she looks for a place to stay, she stumbles along a cottage which is inhabited by seven dwarves who she stays with for the meantime.
What you will discover throughout this series is that there are some Disney movies to me, like with everyone I basically know, that have a special connection to me. These are the films that I have watched over and over again since I was a child, being able to quote the entire film back and forth. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is easily one of these movies for me, being my second-favourite Disney Animation Studios film of all time. As somebody who is a huge Disney fan, I am still true and loyal to the hand-drawn animation style that the studio first started with.
Knowing this film was made all the way back in 1937, it is seriously impressive how gorgeous it looks. So much time and effort went into making every frame and every character come to life, which is not easy considering all the different animals they had to animate here. Whilst the story may be simple, which helps keep a steady flow and focus on the character development of Snow White and the seven dwarves, the animation is incredibly fun from the bubbles to the poison apple, helping truly bring this magical world to life.
Whilst Snow White is a vital character to the film, having the whole film be focused on her story, it is the dwarves who really make this film what it is. It is incredibly important that these dwarves are filled with personality whilst offering some sort of narrative to the film, which is exactly what they do. Whilst it is Grumpy who is the main dwarf of the narrative, they all have something to offer and you also get to see them grow whilst maintain their main characteristic throughout.
A story like this only works if you have a strong villain, and Disney pulled it off right from the start with the Wicked Witch. This is a villain who is truly wicked and does not care about the good of other people or presenting a moral conflict, purely creating these actions for her own good. This is a truly wicked villain and I love the idea that she can create poison and cast spells, making her even more threatening and giving Snow White a genuine reason to worry and run into the forest.
This film is a musical and all of the numbers are so well done. The film doesn’t feel overwhelmed with music, still focusing firstly on the narrative and character development, but the music helps flow through the story and it helps that all of the songs are incredibly catchy and well written. Ariana Caselotti has such a gorgeous singing voice that suits the role of Snow White and I love hearing all of the dwarves sing throughout as well, adding to the fun nature of the story. Many people forget about the songs in this film, but they may be some of the best that Disney has ever written.
The Brothers Grimm tales have always been known to be incredibly dark and gruesome, so back in the 1930s it seemed almost unheard of to take these tales and make them family-friendly. Whilst it is something that seems incredibly common now to associate fairy tales with children, it is only because of Disney that this has happened over time. This film was the start of something that would be truly magical, even if there were some bumpy rocks along the way.
It is safe to say that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a truly marvellous film and one that sadly a lot of people either haven’t seen or forget about. As the first film in a catalogue full of classics and wonderful stories, it still remains one of the best even with advanced technology and improved graphics and storytelling. Sometimes, the first stories have true passion and love put into them and you cannot replace anything with passion and love, which is what I have with this story.
Have you watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, or is it a blind spot for you? Do you love it as much as I do? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.