April 8, 2011

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

I'm sorry to be posting this so late!  Somehow the week got away from both of us, but with a new film to watch tomorrow it was obvious that last week's review needed to get posted, and stat.

So, Snow White.  I grew up loving Disney movies (and still love them, and pretty much all things Disney) to this day, and since this is the film that started the whole thing I have to have a bit of a soft spot for it.  But it was never my favorite Disney animated movie.  I think as a young child that honor went to Cinderella and as I got older my loyalties switched to Sleeping Beauty (but only because Maleficent is such a badass).  Anyway, I'm supposed to be talking about Snow White!

Snow White is a really predictable story that pretty much everyone knows (and if you don't know it, what rock have you been living under??)  so I won't bother summarizing it.  But I do want to discuss the so-called Prince Charming.  Prince he may be, but Charming...not so much.  He's a creeper!  He spies on Snow White as she's singing her wishing song, and then without making any noise or anything just barges into her song and forms a duet, scaring the hell out of her.  She understandably runs away and he's left standing there calling after her, "Did I frighten you?" or something to that effect.  Yes, you frightened her, you dumbass!  Hence the screaming and running away.  The Prince is not very well endowed in the brains department it would seem.

After Snow White flees from the huntsman in the woods we enter a segment of animation brilliance.  The swirling colors, creepy shadows, whipping tree branches...all drawn and animated by hand.  It's nothing short of amazing, and I think we tend to take such things for granted these days because of how many movies Disney has made now.  I think we should all take some time to really watch these early classics and keep in mind that these weren't made with computers doing all the work.  Real human hands drew and painted every single frame of this movie, and the level of detail in each scene is astonishing.  Bravo, Disney.  This was a well earned Oscar, at least from an artistic and technical point.

And actually, most of the songs aren't bad either.  I'm particularly fond of this one.

They make washing up for supper silly and fun, regardless of your age.  All of us involved in this little movie project are adults and we all found this song entertaining and enjoyable despite being above the target age.  Although actually I wonder about that.  I'm not sure what the target age of this movie is.  Kids definitely enjoy it, but I know that early cartoons were not intended for children, but for adults.  They morphed into children's fare later on.  So possibly this film is intended for adults and that's why we like it so much.  Food for thought.

I have very complaints about this movie, partly because of my childhood fondness for it, and partly because there's frankly very little wrong with it.  I have another gripe about Prince Creeper though.  The dude is a necrophiliac.  Hear me out.  He thinks Snow White is dead, so he goes to pay his last respects.  He finds her in a glass coffin, and instead of quietly mourning like any normal person, he makes the dwarfs lift off the lid of the coffin so he can kiss her on her cold, dead mouth.  True, she's not actually dead, but he doesn't know that.  He thinks she's dead and he still thinks to himself that he's got to have himself a piece of that.  EW.

I guess my only other "complaint" has to do with Snow White's utter lack of any kind of personality, but that's not really a fair complaint because she wasn't supposed to have a personality.  That's a feminist invention born of the 1960s and 70s.  Disney females didn't really start developing personalities until then.  Probably the earliest example is Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty but even then it's pretty minor.  I don't think we see an actual personality in a girl until spunky Ariel in The Little Mermaid (which didn't come out until 1989).  After that personality is par for the course, although the male characters still fall short with the possible exception of Aladdin (but the Genie steals that whole movie.)

Since I seem to have wandered off topic again, I'll just wrap up here.  :D

Tomorrow's film is another one I've seen before, although not for a long time:  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

1 comment:

  1. I feel that I must have seen Snow White several times because...well, who hasn't? But some of it was entirely unfamiliar. I did not remember the silly washing song. I did not remember the astonishing and frightening animation as she runs through the woods (much too frightening for children, at least by today's standards). I did not remember how well the movie flows, or how carefully the characters of each of the seven dwarfs is developed. I mostly remembered the features that made the movie feel a little old fashioned: Snow White's squeaky, fluttery voice, typical of early radio singers, or the stylized flatness of her face. But I think I was just remembering little snippets of the movie that are shown over and over on movie channel retrospectives, etc. On this viewing, the movie did not seem as old fashioned as I remembered. After Snow White movie animation did not change much, at least not until the advent of Pixar.