Thursday, January 06, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The first, and by far most memorable full-length animated feature from the Disney Studios, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" may have been superseded technically by many of the films that followed it. But its simple story of a charming little princess saved from the evil deeds of her wicked step-mother, the queen, by a group of seven adorable dwarfs made history when it was first released in December, 1937 and has since become an incomparable screen classic. [imdb]

And here we go, starting another year-long marathon... One(1) movie a week this time; far better than four(4).

We start the Disney Animated Classic canon with Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, and what a great start it is! I am very sure a lot of people would just be quick to brush aside this movie as “just Snow White,” but it really may very well be the most groundbreaking film of all time. If not at the top of that list, it’s at least in the top five(5).

Not only is it the very first full-length animated film, uhm... ever... but Snow White inspired other studios to make fantasy-based films, such as The Wizard of Oz. Basically, if this movie hadn’t been a success... Well, I hate to think of how many very beloved movies would never have been made.

Sure, you think “But it was Disney... of course it was a success,” but through the entire production, it was called “Disney’s folly.” Walt almost gave up several times, due to pressure from his brother, his wife and general lack of money. The production went over-budget by about 700%, and people consistently asked “Who would want to see a full-length cartoon?

Well, here we are, rather close to a hundred(100) years later, with computer animated movies and probably about a trillion animated films in general... Snow White still stands strong as being a brilliant movie.

Thanks to Disney’s restoration abilities, the picture, colour and sound is all wonderful and breath-taking. I watched the blu-ray release, and even on my normal tube TV it looks incredible. The animation alone even stands up to current animation. It doesn’t look choppy or too fluid... Not bad at all for a first movie.

Amongst the many, many, many special features (it took me an entire three(3)-day weekend to get through them all), they’ve included a good number of animated short films. These range from the first synchronized-sound cartoon of Steamboat Mickey all the way to the first use of the multi-plane camera, The Old Mill. (If any of you have never seen The Old Mill, go here and watch it.) All of these came chronologically before Snow White, and none of them are even remotely as smooth and clear as the movie.

You can tell they really went all-out on this one, knowing that this movie had to be absolutely perfect. The entire future of animation depended on it.