The kick-off: Snow White! Snow White premiered in 1937, and it was the first full-length cell animated (which means every frame is drawn by hand) movie ever. It had theatrical re-runs in 1944, 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987 and 1993. It has been released in VHS in 1994. I knew it was the oldest Disney film, but I’m still amazed how old this is. 78 years! I think we can all agree that this movie aged pretty well. Or do you know any other 78 year old movie that people still have on DVD?
I had the VHS as a kid, but my memory of the actual story is a bit vague. I remember that Snow White fled though a scary forest, cleaned the house and baked a pie, I remembered the dwarfs coming home from work (Heigh-Ho!!) and then I remember the witch giving her the apple and then the prince kissing her. So I was looking forward to watch this movie again, also because I could set it in the right time-frame now (as I wasn’t aware of its age when I was a kid of course). This movie isn’t available on (the Dutch) Netflix, but I had it on DVD. I even have the deluxe edition, but I never watched it.
The first notable thing is that the movie starts with some credits. Nowadays, movies only show the main cast and producer and director, but in Snow White there were quite a few slides of cast before the actual movie began. Then, we see a book that’s opened and we can read the prelude. There is no voice-over, we just have to read for ourselves.
The movie starts with a scene of Snow White singing in a castle garden, and her singing attracts Prince Charming. They sing together and they’re instantly in love. I didn’t remember this scene at all! I thought the prince just randomly showed up at the end and kidnapped her to his castle. Also, Snow White’s voice is very annoying. As a kid I watched the Dutch version, but now I was watching the English one. Another downside of that is that I can’t sing along to the songs now since I’m only familiar with the Dutch version.
Speaking of songs, I didn’t really remember if this movie had any. I only remember the ‘Heigh-Ho!’ song. But when I was watching, all the songs came back to me. Still, except for ‘Heigh-Ho’ and ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’, the songs aren’t that memorable.
Anyway, the queen says her famous words ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall…’ the mirror tells her that Snow White is more beautiful than her and the queen sends a hunter to kill Snow White. The hunter chickens out at the last moment and Snow White flees in a very scary wood (this made a lot of impact on me as a kid). Snow White eventually finds the house of the Dwarfs and instantly starts a big spring-cleaning. I found this very amusing. You’re being chased away into the scary wood because your evil step-mom wants to kill you, you find a house and then… you clean it. Because that’s what women were supposed to do in 1937.
Snow White falls asleep and the Dwarfs return home after working in the mine (Heigh-Hoooo!). Judging from what’s in the mine, they’re all 1000 times richer than the queen… Anyway, they found out that there’s some-one in the house and they assume it’s a house-cleaning killer beast. Right before they want to kill it, they found out that it’s actually a girl. Snow White explains who she is and all the dwarfs are honored to meet her. Except for Grumpy. He warns the rest for the wraith of the queen. I feel for Grumpy. I think he’s the only realistic thinker here. Snow White asks if she can stay in the house if she cleans and cooks (because she’s a good 1937 woman), and they all agree. After this, my memory is a bit fuzzy, so all that comes next is technically new to me.
Snow White made soup for the Dwarfs, but she forces them to wash themselves first. I think this is supposed to be a moral lesson for 1937 kids, but it seems quite weird now. Again, I can sympathize with Grumpy, who is grumpy (pun kinda intended) that an unknown woman forced herself into his house, cleans everything and forces them to clean themselves. Grumps, you were ahead of your time. Or maybe we’re all grumpies in the current age. After dinner they have a small party, Snow White tells them about Prince Charming, the love of her life who she’s spoken to for 1 minute or so, and they go to bed. Now another thing happens that’s totally into place in a 1937 movie but really weird now: Snow White prays to God and tells him she wishes that Grumpy will find her nice.
In the meantime the Queen found out that the hunter gave her the heart of a pig in stead of Show White’s heart and she disguises herself as an old hag to give Snow White the apple. The next morning, the dwarfs go to the mine again (and Grumpy seems to like Snow a little bit more). Snow White makes a pie (the one I remembered!) and the witch comes to visit her and tries to make her eat the apple. The forest animals try to warn the dwarfs but they’re too late. They chase the witch until she falls of a cliff by a convenient lightning strike. And then suddenly, slides.
On the slides we can read that the Dwarfs couldn’t bury Snow White because she was too beautiful, so they made a glass coffin and kept vigil around here grave. The Prince, who had been looking for Snow White all along, heard of the sleeping beauty (this pun is also kinda intended) in the forest and came to visit her. We can see seasons passing in the background. After the slides we see the dwarfs lifting the glass lid so that the prince can kiss her (necrofile). Snow White wakes up, everybody is happy, she is like K THNKS BYE to the dwarfs and leaves with the prince.
And they live happily ever after (and there is a castle in the sky. Because).
So what did I think of this movie? I like it in a history-perspective kinda way. Although it aged quite well, the story is shallow, and Snow White herself is shallow. She cleans, she cooks, she’s nice, she finds her prince. I really liked the slap-stick scenes with the dwarfs though!
So next up is Pinocchio, I’ll see you then!
Side Note: I decided to merge the US and the UK list and watch ‘The Wild’ anyway for the completion bonus.