Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Genre: Animation, Musical, Family, Fantasy, Romance.
Some Spoilers May Apply
The world was a very different place in 1937, but one thing hasn’t changed. Disney is still a titan of animation and animated movies. Their big-screen domination (minus a couple of decades) all began in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which is the Disney version of the Grimm’s fairytale “Snow White”. (Walt Disney and his company are great innovators, not creators.)
Every story has conflict. The conflict in Snow White is man vs man or rather (Snow White Vs Evil Queen/Witch)
Why You Should Watch It.
If you are a fan of animation, then coming back to one of the historical cornerstones of the genre is invaluable. Even if you aren’t a devoted cinephile, but appreciate quality movie making. Snow White does a lot of things right.
The animation was the best on the planet at this time. Disney impressed the world with this work. The operatic voice of Adriana Caselotti is beautiful. A perfect fit for the young beauty that is Snow White. Not every song is a keeper, but the ones that hit their mark are splendid.
While the Queen is used sparingly in the first two acts, she comes on strong in the last third of the film. Really makes an impact with her diabolical scheme. Spoiler Warning- to eliminate the threat to her beauty and power, she decides to poison Snow White with a potent apple and put her into a neverending sleep which means eventually she would be buried alive effectively killing her. Poisoning a 14-year-old girl to try and save face is quite sinister and it puts her on the list of truly menacing villains. Also, she has a great look of a witch complete with black cloak and devious animal assistants. (Of course, the addition of the black arts and alchemy makes her a proper Disney villain. Something that is still relevant today.)
Then you have the seven dwarfs; each named for their distinct character trait. Largely to add humor and heart to the younger audiences watching. Thier attitudes and hijinks may feel archaic by today’s standards, but it was much more fitting for 1937.
What is Wrong With Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs?
The film is iconic and beautiful in numerous ways, but not at all perfect. For one thing, there is a distinct lack of character development. All the characters in this are one-dimensional.
The second act of this movie drags on much longer than it should. The Prince I also found to be heavily underdeveloped.
I also have an issue with Snow White. I understand she is meant to represent innocence and purity fitting of a 14-year old girl. However, she is so “pure”, that she is downright stupid. Spoilers- She is warned about strangers and the threat to her safety, but she easily disregards it almost immediately. There’s being sweet and innocent, and then there’s being foolish. She crosses a line here.
Also, perhaps it’s because of the era I live in, but I found it unsettling how ready Snow White is for marriage. That she sings about being married and her prince will come. I understand cultural norms have progressed, but 14 years old feels too young to be really thinking about that.
So we have one female character who is enchanting, but naive. Meanwhile, the other one is vain, cruel, deceptive, and cutthroat.
Finally, (SPOILER WARNING) The Prince comes and saves the day and Snow White goes off to get married. Again, she is 14 years old! I am still hung up on that clearly. It’s not okay now, and I don’t think it should be considered okay then.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an iconic and historically valuable film. It has an excellent voice cast, several beautiful songs, and brilliant animation that transcended the time period. It created visuals of these already classic characters which became the standard expectation. While it has some weak points and creepy child bride scenario, it remains an incredibly strong peice of animation.