In 1937 Walt Disney brought to life the fairy tale, based on the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To the surprise of the many naysayers at the time, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became a hit with a gross income of over $184 million dollars in its lifetime ($8 million during theatrical run) with the many reissues of the film. To this day Snow White and the Seven Dwarf remains one of Disney’s most beloved classic. This will be the second release of Disney’s Diamond Collection so let’s see the treatment given to this wonderful title.
By now who doesn’t know the story of Snow White? Most adults will tell you that they grew up with fairy tales like Snow White and that it wasn’t as uncommon to hear it. Personally I probably seen various versions of the story, but at the end they are all alike. A story of a beautiful young princess who one day becomes the target of the queen’s jealousy. The queen questions her magical mirror with the unforgettable line “mirror mirror on the wall” to find out who is the most beautiful on the land. The mirror tells the queen that Snow White is still the most beautiful woman. The queen enraged arranges one of her loyal servants to kill Snow White away from the castle. The servant unable to kill the young princess tells her to run away. Frighten Snow White runs into the woods stumbling upon a house own by 7 “kids” as she first originally thought.
The 7 dwarfs begin their return home signing the unforgettable tune “Heigh-Ho”. Upon their arrival they find that someone had cleaned their home and that the intruder is sleeping in their beds. The quickly realize that Snow White is no threat and embrace her. The queen once again asks the mirror who is the most beautiful, without knowing that Snow White was still alive, to her surprise the mirror responds Snow White. The queen approaches Snow White and offers her a red apple, without her knowing that it will forever put her to sleep, the beautiful princess takes a bite that will forever make her sleep until a kiss from her true love awakens her once again.
So what sets Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs apart from any other animated film you ask? Well Snow White was that film that started it all, the story telling, and the artwork where nothing short of perfect. Several new techniques were used and implemented for the first time on animated films setting a milestone that will forever change the ways animation was done on the big screen. This is not the only Snow White story out there, but personally believe it’s the best told to date. Walt Disney had a lot to do with the success of the film, not only did he make the argument that adding the dwarfs to the story would a much better route, but his continued work, dedication, and closeness with crew really paid off in the end.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has remained as one of the most unforgettable classics that Disney has ever produced. With its enchanting story, unforgettable music, and delightful characters Snow White met everyone’s expectations when originally released and stands today with the same notion. It’s a classic that even by today’s standards still manages to capture the imagination of kids and adults alike, truly unforgettable.
Disney has done it again. The studio has set the bar high ever since Blu-ray began circulating in stores with beautiful transfers and quality that has been unmatched (with a few exceptions of course). There is no studio, in my opinion, that takes the restoration of their classics with so much passion and meticulous care like Disney does. Seven (7) months ago they brought us the beautiful restoration of another classic, Pinocchio, and now is Snow White’s turn. This is a 72 year old film and I must say I am impressed.
The transfer boasts an impressive 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode frame with the original 1.37:1 aspect ratio. I am pleased to mention that no artifacts or noise is detected throughout the film. The colors are vibrant which give an instantaneous eye popping reaction for those that saw the film years ago, the blacks are inky and deep, contrast is strong, and sharpness depends much on the original content. The fine detail not only is impressive but also reveals much of the artistic work behind this classic film. The restoration done on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has revitalized a timeless classic and Disney deserves nothing but praise for a job well done.
The audio boasts a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that I must say is impressive and such a needed upgrade from the previous releases of the film. Disney remained true to the original audio track and at the same time it gave the audio a much needed restoration. The dialogue is clean and clear. The fronts are heavy while the rears are used subtlety throughout the film. There are some scenes that pack punch, but film’s major triumphs is the music which hasn’t sounded this good before. Disney also provided a bonus for the fans; they have included a restored version of the films’ original mono track so you can hear Snow White as many originally first heard it.
Just Like the previous Diamond Collection releases, Disney has committed to release nothing but quality titles with quality content. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is packed with supplements. Still think Disney doesn’t have love for this film? Think again, this is a 3 disc release and every extra is shown in high definition. Some features from previous versions are missing, but the content on this release is abundant.
Audio Commentary – This features film historian John Canemaker which takes us through the production work and provides some insights and observations. Also, features interviews with Walt Disney which he goes over some technical information. This is one of the best audio commentaries I’ve seen in a while. It’s definitely worth a watch!
Disney View – This option can be enabled from the menu and what it does is simply replace the black bars on the screen when the film is rolling with alternating artwork from artist Toby Bluth.
Snow White Returns – This is a must watch; take a look at the reason why Disney never made a sequel to Snow White.
Deleted Scenes – Watch two never before seen deleted scenes from the film.
Family Play – This feature is a collection of several interactive games including “What Do You See,” “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” “Bejeweled,” “Jewel Jumble,” and “Scene Stealer.”
Music Video – “Some Day May Prince Will Come” by Tiffany Thorton.
The Princess and the Frog Sneak Peek – Watch a preview of Disney’s upcoming animated film.
Hyperion Studios – This is comprised of several different elements. They provide art work, featurettes, interviews, and much much more.
Hyperion Exterior – First we have “Where It All Began”. A studio introduction is followed by the history surrounding Snow White’s production. The second featurette is called “The One That Started It All”. This featurette deals with the impact that Snow White made on the film industry, its influence and its significance. Last but not least “Family Business” simply showcases the ideas of Walt Disney.
Story Room – This section is comprised of eight (8) featurettes so why don’t we dig in. First “Stories From The Story Room” features a few interviews with the story writers. Second “Five Bucks A Gag”, this featurette provides a look at what Walt would do to entice his writers to add humor to the film. Third featurette “In Walt’s Words: The Hunstman” a reenactment of a discussion between Walt and his writers. Continuing next is “Walt’s Night Prowls” goes over the fact that Walt would often dig through the trash cans of his animators salvaging ideas he thought they were worth to keep. “Gaby, Blabby, and Flabby” shows the viewers the difficulties of the team to name each dwarf. “Babes in the Woods” based on Hansel and Gretel’s story this is a cartoon shown in its entirety and is one of Disney’s early animated work. There are two hefty galleries “Storyboard Art Gallery” which contains 135 images and “Abandoned Concepts Gallery” which contains 63 images in total.
Music Room – This is comprised of 4 featurettes. First “Music Room Host” provides an introduction to the music room and provides a quick insight into the responsibilities of each of its workers. “David Hand’s Dirty Trick” provides an interview with David Hand and tells about a trick he played at work right before a deadline. “The Music of Snow White” an insight look into the film’s music. “The Skeleton Dance” provides a look at another of Disney’s early animation.
Art Department – This section is comprised of 6 featurettes. First “Creating the World of Snow White” covers much of the styles used in the film. Second “The Idea Man” includes some outtakes about artist Albert Hurter. “”Music Land” this is a Hurter symphony about a forbidden love between 2 instruments, one from the Land of Symphony and the other from the Isle of Jazz, very interesting by the way. “In Walt’s Words: Cleaning the Cottage” this featurette offers another reenacted conversation between Walt and his crew. Finally two image galleries “Visual Development Gallery” which has 146 images and “Gustav Tenggren Art Gallery” which has 16 images.
Character Design – “In Walt’s Words: The Dwarfs” another set of reenactment of several story meeting transcripts. Two image galleries finish off this section starring with “Character Design Gallery” which includes 5 images and “Color Test Gallery” with 12 images.
Background and Layout – “Setting the Stage” goes over the process before completing the shot. Two galleries round off this section “Backgrounds Gallery” which includes 25 images and “Layout Gallery” with 115 images.
Animation Department – This section is comprised of 6 featurettes. First “Bringing Snow White to Life” shows key influences and inspirations for the film. Second “The Animators’ Favorite Animators” shows the favorite animators of each artist. Third “Blowing Off Steam” shows what the animators used to do during their relax time. “Goddess of Spring” showcases Disney’s efforts to animate human like characters. “Playful Pluto” is an animated short that shows the initial effort to provide characters with some personality. Last but not least “Animation Art Gallery” with 39 images completes this section.
Live Action Reference – This section is comprised of 4 featurettes. First “Live Action Host” is an introduction to this section featuring John Huster. Second “Drawing on Real Life” explains on how Walt used his actors as a base for Snow White. “Giving Voice to Snow White” explains the process to cast the perfect actor for a voice over and also the casting of the actress for the role of Snow White. An image gallery “A Live Action Reference Gallery” with 26 images closes off this section.
Sweatbox – This section is comprised of 3 featurettes. First “Sweatbox Host” provides Eric Goldberg the opportunity to talk about the screening of each stage of animation. Second “Sweating it Out” showcases Disney’s perfectionism. Lastly we have “Deleted Bedroom Fight Scene” that presents a scene that cut from the film.
Ink and Paint – This section is comprised of 4 featurettes. First “The Challenges of Ink and Paint” shows the people who put those finishing touches to the film. Second “Life in the Nunnery” showcases the segregation between the animators, inkers and painters. Third “Flowers and Trees” is an animated short and the first Technicolor cartoon. Lastly we have an image gallery “Painted Cells Gallery” with 14 images to close this section.
Camera Department – This section is comprised of 3 featurettes. First “Decoding the Exposure Sheet” explores the process Disney used for the organization of the animated shots. Second “Stories from the Camera Department” showcases more interviews about the camerawork used on the film. Lastly “The Old Mill” is a symphony used to test the multiplane camera.
Sound Stage – This section on includes 2 featurettes. First “Walt’s Early Masters of Sound” explores the creation and way Walt implemented the sound effects into the film. Lastly “Steamboat Willie” explores the first Disney cartoon that features synchronized sound.
Walt’s Office – This section includes 3 featurettes. First “Working with Walt” features comments from crew about Walt. Two image galleries, “Publicity Gallery” with 34 images and a “Production Photos Gallery” with 21 images, round up not only this section, but the entire “Hyperion Studios” feature.
The One That Started It All – This features focuses on the influence left by Snow White, the impact on Disney, the film industry, and the constant criticism Walt endured during the production.
Classic DVD Bonus Content – This is content from a previous release of Snow White. “Disney Through the Decades” a documentary going over the different decades of Disney studios. “Animation Voice Talent” provides a look at the voice behind Snow White, actress Adriana Caselotti. “Dopey’s Wild Mine Ride” is an interactive game included in the extras. “Heigh Ho” is a karaoke feature.
BD- Live Functionality
Standard DVD – A third disc should be included with the copy of the film.
What more can be said about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that I haven’t already mentioned? The film is a work of art that has forever changed the animation industry and helped Walt Disney solidify his position as a creative animator. The film can be enjoyed by anyone and it comes highly recommended.