maanantai 7. maaliskuuta 2016

Moving Picture: Snow White and the seven dwarfs

Snow White and the seven dwarfs

Snow White and the seven dwarfs is Disney animated film appeared in 1937 and it was the first full length animated movie in the entire world. Finland's premiere was in December 1938.

Disney classics movie list Snow white and the seven dwarfs is number 1.

Snow white and the seven dwarfs is based on German folktale. Most famous version of the fairy tale was written by brothers Grimm and it appeared in their collection of fairy tales in 1812.

As a teenager Walt Disney worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Once he was invited to watch silent movie about Snow White played by actress Marguerite Clark. Movie made huge impact on young Walt.

When Walt Disney announced that Disney company was preparing a full-length animated film Snow White was called "Disney's folly". People believed that studio would be bankrupted and no one would want to sit in a movie theater over an hour watching a cartoon. Disney didn't gave up and Snow White became a box office success. Movie won 11 academy awards (including 7 miniature Oscars) and it was start of the Disney empire we know today.

Snow White is 78-year old movie and still runs in movie theaters across the globe.


Movie starts with a prologue. Snow White is a princess. After her father has passed away she was forced to work as a slave for her step mother the evil queen. In the beginning of the movie Snow White is singing by the well and cleaning the floors. She is singing of her hearts secret wishes and suddenly prince appears and starts to sing for her.

Queen is afraid that some day Snow White becomes more beautiful than her. Everyday she asks her magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? one day mirror says that Snow White is the fairest of them all. Vain queen becomes outrageous. She orders huntsman to take Snow White in to the woods, kill her and bring her heart to the queen in a trinket box.

Huntsman takes Snow White in to the forest but he can not kill her. He tells Snow White that queen wants her dead and tells Snow White to escape. Snow White runs into the forest and spends a restless night there. When the morning arrives she has calmed down. Forest animals come to her and she sings for them. They show her the way to the house of the seven dwarfs. Snow White believes that there is seven children living in the house.

Soon dwarfs return from the mine. They notice that someone has cleaned their house, cooked and is sleeping in their beds. Snow White becomes friends with the dwarfs. During the day she takes care of their house and by night she dances and sings with them. Dwarfs are Doc, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy and Happy.

Soon queen finds out that Snow White isn't dead.Queen is also an evil witch. She has potion making room in the dungeons. She makes a potion that turns her into an old hag. Then she makes another potion. A sleeping potion where she dips an apple. When Snow White bites it she falls a sleep until her true love kisses her. Queen believes that dwarfs will bury her alive.

Evil Queen arrives to dwarfs house in her disguise. She tricks Snow White to bite the poison apple. Forest animals recognize the evil queen and run to find the dwarfs. Dwarfs and animals start to chase the queen. Witch/queen tries to roll a huge stone upon them. However lightning strikes to the cliff and queen falls down and dies under the stone.

Dwarfs grief their beautiful Snow White and build her a glass gasket. Prince has heard about the beautiful princess who lays in a glass coffin. He recognizes Snow White and kisses her. Snow White wakes up. Dwarfs, animals and the happy couple rejoice. Movie ends when Snow White and prince Charming ride to their castle.

And they lived happily ever after

Snow White

I think best qualities of Snow White are her empathy and kindness. She is very approachable.You can see this the way forest animals come to her without any fear. Snow White is also determined and very courageous in her own way as well.

One of the most powerful scenes in Snow White is the scene where Snow White runs into the forest. As a child I always though that she got scared of the shadows of the trees. Truth is that she is in depths of despair after she hears that queen wants her death. Since her parents have passed away step mother is only one who she has left. Snow White is also courageous because she decides to hide from her and control her own life.

Snow White makes friends with the dwarfs. She can also be sturdy. This we can see in the scene where she tells dwarfs to wash themselves before dinner. She is also optimistic by nature and loves to sing while working.

Character design

Disney animators used Hollywood actresses as their inspiration for Snow White. Snow White is 14 years old.

In the beginning of the movie Snow White is dressed up in rags. When she is in the forest with the huntsman she is wearing more royal outfit. Upper part of the dress is dark blue with lighter blue puffs leaves that has red stripes.  Skirt is yellow. These two complementary colors work well against the backgrounds that are most often different shades of green and other very earthy colors.


One of the greatest strengths Walt Disney added to his feature film was the different characteristics of the dwarfs. Snow White and Prince Charming are the romance element of the story, Evil Queen is the drama and horror, Dwarfs and the animals are the comical relief.

Doc is not very wise. He is actually quite stupid and doesn't always remember his own name. Because he is the oldest of the dwarfs he is also the leader..or maybe he made himself a leader? Dopey is a comical relief. Since he can not talk he uses funny sign language. Grumpy is funny when he doesn't try to be funny. He doesn't like that things change that is why he is so against Snow White staying with them. Scenes with Grumpy also show Snow White's witty side. She finds Grumpy's attitude amusing. Of course they become good friends. In the end of the movie Grumpy cries big tears when he thinks Snow White has passed away.

Prince Charming

In the first scripts of Snow White prince had way bigger part. For some reason or other writers made his part smaller and smaller. Personally I've never really cared about Prince Charming. Perhaps because his part is very small in the film. He is also a bit comical and stiff. Reason for this is that back then Disney animators didn't have that much experience animating male characters. Purpose of Prince Charming in the movies is to be Snow White's dream man. Bring hope to her that some day she gets away from all the misery and rules her kingdom together with her prince.

Evil Queen

First concept drawings of Snow White Evil Queen was designed to be more comical and cartoon-ish character. When story evolved queen became more close to the evil queen in the brothers Grimm story. Her face is beautiful but cold. Unlike Snow White she never smiles. When the villain is completely emotionless and self-centered that makes her very dangerous character indeed. 

Evil Queen wears a hood. We can only see her face and that is the most important thing for her in the whole world. Everything else in her body is covered accept her hands. She is wearing a violet dress. She has cape that could belong to Dracula and she wears a crown. We don't really know is she the most beautiful woman in the world. We can only see her face. We don't know her hair color. She might even be bald!

Queen is also an evil witch. She has a potion making room in the cellar. I personally believe that queen is looking for away to make herself immortal. Think about it. She tries to kill Snow White who is her only heir. She is also obsessed with her beauty and wishes to stay young forever. She is drunken with her power.

Biggest difference between Snow White and the Evil Queen is that queen lives in constant insecurity. She tries to convince herself that she is on control by asking everyday from the magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? Snow White doesn't care about her beauty. She cares more about the others. Her kindness and inner beauty also reflects her outside beauty. Snow White feels sorry for the old lady who is the queen in disguise. Snow White greatest strength is also her biggest weakness. She is a trustful person and tries to see good in everyone. Sometimes she is a bit too trustful and it gets back at her when she falls in to the trap. 

Why did evil queen became evil? this is something that fairy tales and Disney movie can't tell. Queen only sees herself and only trusts herself. In modern days I guess she could be described to be a narcissistic person. Maybe that makes her such scary and complex character. She is lacking empathy and she has no conscience. 

Snow White is complete opposite of the evil queen. In the difficult times she goes and seeks for help. Her kindness is appreciated by all of those who she meets. This is what eventually saves her life..not only prince that wakes up her with a kiss.


As a child I never really got into to the world of Snow White. I saw her as a very passive Disney princess. Just later on as an adult I have started to appreciate Snow White as a character and as a movie way more. There is many psychologically fascinating characters, extremely beautiful backgrounds, humor, romance, drama and horror elements (which is something that current Disney films are often lacking). Snow White definitely has it's place in the history of animated movies and in popular culture.

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