Toon Talk: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Special Edition DVD
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Platinum Edition DVD Experience
A fully restored version of the groundbreaking motion picture Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs is the centerpiece for this gorgeously visualized and meticulously compiled DVD ... not just any DVD, but a "DVD Experience", as the Disney marketeers would have you believe. And for once they are correct in their lofty assumptions.
"Hosted" by the Spirit of the Magic Mirror himself, this two disc set is filled to the brim with a diamond mine-full of hidden treasures, from vintage trailers and radio programs to rare behind-the-scene footage and never-before-seen animation and artwork.
Snow White was certainly the "one that started it all": it has inspired every family film to follow and has entertained generations of children and adults alike. With this newly realized version, it is sure to continue that noble mission for many years to come.
The film itself certainly stands the test of time. Sure, Snow White herself can be a bit overdramatic at times, and a few of the scenes stretch on a little longer then necessary. But just the simple fact that this was the very first animated feature, the one that got it so right right out of the gate, and that it still holds up today is a testament to the storytelling genius of Walt Disney and the talent of everyone who worked on this film. Walt and all his artist are the ones who are celebrated here.
Still the Fairest of Them All: The Making of
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs:
Narrated by Disney Legend Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Beauty & the Beast), this "making of" documentary provides a wealth of archival footage and fascinating information about the making of the first full-length American animated feature film.
The documentary features extensive interviews with film historians (John Canemaker, Paula Sigman, Rudy Behlmer), animators past (Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson) and present (Andreas Deja) and current animation gurus Don Hahn and Roy Disney.
Rare footage includes Shirley Temple presenting the special 8-piece Oscar to Walt in honor of the film at the 1939 Academy Awards ceremony. "Isn't it bright and shiny? Aren't you proud, Mr. Disney?"
The Top Ten Things We Learn from this Documentary:
Not only was Snow White the first film to have the actual film soundtrack released on phonograph record, it was also the first film to have merchandise available on it's opening day.
The film made $8 million in it's initial release, an astounding amount in that era. It was seen by more people then any other film up to that time.
Walt's first feature was going to be a version of Alice in Wonderland combining live action and animation (reminiscent of his earlier Alice Comedies) and starring cinematic legend Mary Pickford. Shown here is one frame of the technicolor test of Pickford as Alice, the only footage that has survived intact.
The studio used the Silly Symphonies as a "testing ground" for preparation for their first feature. Such shorts as The Old Mill, Babes in the Woods and The Goddess of Spring tried out the animation of nature and animals, dwarfs and witches, and human figures, respectively.
The Disney artists were paid "five bucks a gag" for any contribution they made that ended up in the film, such as Ward Kimball's idea for the dwarfs noses to pop up over the foot of the bed when they first find Snow White in their cottage.
The final design for the Queen was inspired by actress Helen Gahagan's role in the film She.
During one story meeting for Snow White's flight through the forest, the artists were discussing her fall down a deep hole. One artist commented "Wouldn't a fall like that kill her?" It was at that point that they knew that they were creating a realistic, emotionally-involving story.
The creation of the revolutionary multi-plane camera occurred after several scenes for Snow White had already been completed. That footage was scrapped and reanimated with the new technology.
Snow White was dubbed into over twenty languages and, in another first of it's kind, special artwork was created for the film's release in each country to interpret written elements on the screen (the dwarfs' names on their beds, the Queen's spell book) into each countries individual languages.
With the profits from Snow White, Walt built the studios that are still standing in Burbank, California today.