Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Epic Films - Fantasy

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Review

walt film disney voice

1937 – David Hand (supervising director) –

It is hard for the modern viewer to believe that one of the world's landmark films was called “Disney's Folly” as it was being produced and that most cynics predicted that the costly venture would sink the fledgling studio and all its investors. But the idea was so new, so different—an animated film that was feature-length rather than the standard eight minutes, and one that told a story with detailed, developed, human characters. One skeptic was not sure if viewers' eyes could actually focus on animation for a full hour! However, it was Walt Disney who had the last laugh. Pushing the studio to the brink of bankruptcy, the film cost $1.5 million (Walt had even mortgaged his house and car), but made over $8 million in its first release. Furthermore, it was the financial and creative foundation that the Disney entertainment empire would build upon.

In 1934, Walt called in his animators and acted out for them the old fairy tale story from the Brothers Grimm. The story contained all the elements of a great movie. There was the lovely young girl abused and threatened by her cruel stepmother. Romantic interest was provided by the handsome Prince Charming, and comic relief by the little dwarfs and their eccentricities. There were complications, the tragedy of the Poisoned Apple, and the happy ending. By the end of his performance, the animators were convinced, and the same would be true of theater audiences as well. In the following months, Disney sent his animators to art school to learn to draw humans more realistically. Film footage was shot of action and dance sequences to use as models for animation. The drawing boards were enlarged to handle the more detailed imagery. In all, 570 artists created 250,000 drawings. A multi-plane camera was developed by partner Ub Iwerks that gave the images more depth and complexity than those in previous cartoons.

The result of such care was resounding success. Audiences worldwide adored Snow White and her sidekicks, and clamored for more feature-length animated films. A new industry was born, as well as new ties to marketing with Snow White dolls, clothes, and figurines. The Great Depression had reached its darkest days, but a cheerful heroine, songs like “Whistle While You Work” and “Someday My Prince Will Come,” and the sure hope of a happier tomorrow made the film a ray of light in the darkest corners of the globe.

Cast: Wicked Queen (voice of Lucille LaVerne), Magic Mirror (voice of Moroni Olsen), Snow White (voice of Adriana Caselotti), Doc (voice of Roy Atwell) Screenwriter: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Dick Richard, Merrill de Maris, Webb Smith Composer: Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Paul Smith Producer Walt Disney Running Time: 82 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards, 1938: Special Award to Walt Disney for his significant screen innovation of feature-length animated film; the award was an Oscar flanked by seven tiny Oscars. Academy Awards, 1938: Nominations: Score. Budget: $1.5M Box Office: $8M (in its first release).

Superman Movie Review [next] [back] Pinocchio Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or