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Toon Talk: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Special Edition DVD
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SNOW WHITE'S WISHING WELL
History and development can be found here.
Text only sections include a Walt Disney biographical timeline, a Snow White production timeline and the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
Storyboard to Film Comparisons:
You can use the "angle" feature on your DVD player remote control to toggle back and forth between the original storyboards and the final animation for several scenes, including the haunted forest and the "Whistle While You Work" sequence.
THE QUEEN'S DUNGEON:
The lost and forgotten.
John Canemaker explains how the animators, used to the short form, struggled with the storytelling techniques required for a feature. Along the way, several concepts were introduced but eventually cut. They all featured Prince Charming, whose role was significantly reduced due to the difficulty in animating him.
Snow White Meets the Prince:
Originally a lot more elaborate, this scene showed the Prince scaling the palace walls to profess his love for Snow White. When she succumbs to his charms, he launches into a series of gymnastic leaps for joy.
"Some Day My Prince Will
Come" (Fantasy Version):
Picture this: Snow White begins to sing her song of longing and is transported to a dreamland in the clouds where her beloved Prince sails in on a swan-shaped boat complete with a heart for a sail. Tiny little anthropomorphic star-mites are on hand to assist in the wooing. The two lovers waltz off into the clouds ...
Walt decided that they didn't need to visualize this song, that it was better to just show the dwarfs' reactions. But that dancing in the clouds part was eventually used, for the finale of Sleeping Beauty.
The Prince is Captured:
After the Queen spies the Prince and Snow White together, she has her minions capture him and imprison him in her dungeon. He later makes a daring escape to rescue his true love.
Narrated by (you guessed it) Angela Lansbury, this featurette details the process used by the DVD producers to restore the original nitrate negatives for Snow White back to it's former brilliance and clarity. It's now like you are looking at the original animation cels.
The soundtrack was also restored, with stereo elements added that were not available in 1937. In other words, you are actually hearing it better then the original.
THE DWARF'S MINE:
This section is filled with "rare treasures":
In his introduction, John Canemaker comments on how Walt "was a ruthless editor, even with his most beloved project." Up to just a few months prior to the film's release, several full scenes where cut from the film, some of them fully animated. Here's our chance to finally see what could have been:
The Witch at the Cauldron: Fully animated and colored, this sequence shows the now-transformed Queen preparing her cauldron for the poisoned apple. Spooky, skull-shaped steam rises from the evil brew.
The Dwarfs' Bedroom Argument: In this portion of the bedroom scene that was thankfully cut, Doc and Grumpy get into a full-out brawl as to whether or not Snow White can stay in their cottage. Rough pencil animation, with substitute voice track to replace the lost original.
"Music in Your Soup": This scene, where the dwarfs' noisily enjoy Snow White's freshly-made soup, was fully animated, ready for Ink and Paint, when Walt cut it. He felt that it didn't move the story along. But in this clip you can finally see Ward Kimball's animation and hear the unsung tune, which is available on the film's soundtrack.
The Lodge Meeting: A subplot for the film had the dwarfs' wanting to give Snow White a gift as thanks for her generosity. In these rough pencil drawings and storyboards, they decide on a bed for the princess, which leads to ...
Building a Bed: Rough animation and storyboards show the dwarfs at work building the bed, with the help of their forest friends, chock full of the requisite gags.
One can see how forward thinking Walt was in deleting these last three scenes, which were basically more of the same comedic shtick shown by the dwarfs in other areas of the film. Plus, they would have added a good half hour to the running time.
Original RKO Opening and End
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs was originally released by RKO with these opening and closing credits. When Disney created it's own distribution company, references to the previous studio were deleted from all prints. Here are recreations of how theses sequences would have appeared in the original, 1937 version of the film.
Disney Through the Decades:
A nice surprise for Disney history buffs, this feature shows the evolution of the Disney company, as told through the unprecedented nine theatrical releases of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.
Each decade is hosted by a different "Disney celebrity", including Roy Disney, Angela Lansbury (as you can see, she's all over this set), Fess Parker (Davy Crockett himself), Robby Benson (voice of the Beast in Beauty & the Beast), Dean Jones (The Love Bug, et al), Jodi Benson (voice of The Little Mermaid's Ariel), Ming-Na (voice of Mulan) and D.B. Sweeney (voice of Dinosaur's Aladar).
But their involvement is just the icing on a very impressive cake. In addition to the trailers for all the Snow White re-releases to date, there is rare footage of World War II-era patriotic propaganda shorts featuring the Seven Dwarfs and the Three Little Pigs, the 1964 World's Fair and Julie Andrews' Oscar acceptance speech for Mary Poppins.
While the video timeline does include some often over-looked facts (The Happiest Millionaire was actually the last film Walt personally oversaw, not The Jungle Book as is commonly referenced), there are a few glaring omissions: the importance of Cinderella's financial success, without which there would have been no more animated films; the development of the Xerox animation process with 101 Dalmatians; and such innovative later works as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Of note is the film's first successful re-release in 1944, after World War II and eagerly received by an American pubic weary by war. And now, fifty-seven years later, Disney's crown jewel returns, ironically, again in a time of international crisis, to provide fantasy-filled escapism.