Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937): Movie Review

1983-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs-poster1Talkie of the Week: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

USA 1937, 83 minutes, technicolor, A Walt Disney Feature Production.

Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.

Based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale of the same name.

Plot summary: When Snow White’s beauty outshines her stepmother’s, she is supposed to perish at the hands of the queen’s hunter. But instead of doing away with her, he allows her to escape to the woods where she soon finds shelter with the Seven Dwarfs.

Review: There are few animated characters who have a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Snow White does. She was Disney’s first princess, and 76 years after her debut, she’s still every bit as sweet, innocent and charming as ever. Created by Hamilton Luske and vocally brought to life by Adriana Caselotti, she remains a Disney favorite. A princess whose beauty is more than captivating; it comes from the heart.

Based on a fairytale by the German Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney’s Snow White may have disgruntled her stepmother, the queen. Her charm, however, bewitches everyone else she meets. Designed as a perfect 1930s belle, her skin is fair, her hair is dark and her eyes are sparkling with kindness. When she is sent to the woods in the company of the queen’s hunter, she is jolly and trusting. In her wildest dreams the young girl does not suspect her stepmother’s evil plan to dispose of her. But when the hunter fails to execute his orders, her heart breaks. Scared for her life, Snow White runs deeper into the woods, losing her sense of direction but never her heart. She finds a new home with the Seven Dwarfs and spoils them with motherly love and affection. Despite her simple life and seclusion in the forest, the queen still envies Snow White for her beauty and takes it into her own hands to put her stepdaughter to everlasting sleep.

For everyone who still remembers growing up with bedtime stories and family film Saturday nights, the end of this classic is still as fresh and vivid in memory as it ever was. And that’s the true beauty of Walt Disney’s first animated feature film. Like the hearts of his audience, Snow White never grows old. She may have changed voices over the years and seems a whole lot quieter than her quirky sister princesses from the 1990s through 2000s. But in general, she’s every bit as appealing as she was when she first bewitched moviegoers, critics and filmmakers alike. Her grace has outlasted even the loudest Hollywood image and she’s still a popular star in Disneyland. How many other beauties can say that of themselves?

Melanie Simone is a writer with a degree in American Studies and English. On Talking Classics, she savors her love for vintage Hollywood.

While Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs isn’t currently available on home video, Movie FanFare would like to know which of the dwarfs is your favorite. Don’t be bashful; tell us your pick in the comments!

 

  • Glenn

    I bought this on Laserdisc, DVD, and finally Blu-ray. It is my favorite Disney cartoon and the first full-length animated feature! I love all the songs and will never tire of watching it.

    • DMS

      It definitely never grows old, so true.

  • Wayne P.

    This classic is right at the top of Walt Disneys best-ever list, along with Bambi and Mary Poppins, but my ‘sleeper pick’, because its so unconventional compared to all his other fine features, will always be Fantasia…I only have it on VHS but the special effects and music soundtrack are still mind boggling, even in that now primitive format!

  • hypatiab7

    As much as I enjoy Snow White and Cinderella, my top five are:
    Bambi
    Lady and the Tramp
    Finding Nemo
    Fantasia
    The Great Mouse Detective

  • Cara

    I had a slightly creepy reaction to this movie when I saw it as an adult. When I was a child, I loved the movie, especially the songs. As an adult, I watched it and decided that Disney et al had drawn Snow White as if she were about 13 yrs old. I have, in the past, worked in the field of child sexual and physical abuse, and Snow White just looked too young to be carrying on with the Prince or anybody else.

    I’m not accusing Disney of child molestation, but he did have his problems with women. Almost all of his villains are women. Certainly the most powerful and memorable ones. The heroines, as a rule, are insipid, cardboard figures. Of course, that same thing can be said of most of his heroes. Tramp probably had the most personality of any Disney hero. Let’s hear it for Lady and the Tramp.