19th century for Snow White? Now that's unusual. I kinda like it, but it ignores all offscreen evidence — the comics depict Snow White's world as clearly medieval, soldiers and all. (Of course, much as it might be fun for historians like yourself to play that game, I think trying to match the Disney fantasy films to historical periods and countries is a fool's errand. They clearly take place in magical kingdoms that don't show up on maps, if not in a parallel world altogether; Maleficent had the right idea on this point if none else. Much sooner will I believe the elaborate fan theory that it takes place in Middle-Earth, if anything.)
Of course it's all fantasy, but that doesn't mean I can't spin out a lot of wild theories! You bet I'll be jumping through much smaller hoops only a couple of movies from now! The fun for me is picking out the various elements of different time periods, and coming up with some other way of explaining it. Because of course, historical accuracy isn't Disney top priority. (According to newspaper clippings in The Princess and the Frog, Mardi Gras takes place in April, rather than y'know, February.) But it's fun to approach it in a canonical sort of "when you exclude the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" sort of way.
Besides, with Keno Korner hold on, I've got to channel this line of thinking somewhere.
I'm doing a marathon of animated classics. Latest review: Bambi.
Post by That Duckfan on Sept 30, 2019 22:52:31 GMT
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - Disney's Legacy
In this part, we’ll cover sequels and further appearances (whether or not they can be found on Disney+ ―most cannot). The focus lies on animation, as that’s what we’re all about here, but I will try to include a little comic strip material as well. Sadly, I can’t begin to cover all comic spin-offs (nor do I want to), so we’ll stick to promotional adaptations for the most part. I won’t touch live-action appearances (remakes, sequels, or the likes of Once Upon a Time).
How did you first experience Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? I was able to rent the Blu-Ray near the end of my peak Disney period, but I’ve been familiar with the Grimm version since childhood. Seeing the movie again didn’t do much to change my opinion of it, though I’ve gained more appreciation for the historical role it played.
W GH 3711-01 and W GH 3712-01 Good Housekeeping (1937) Writ. Dorothy Ann Blank Art. Gustaf Tenggren Disney had a page in Good Housekeeping every month, where artist Tom Wood/Hank Porter would paint scenes of a short rhyme that tied in with an upcoming Disney animated short. For Snow White, they did something different, hiring staff writer Dorothy Ann Blank and concept artist Gustaf Tenggren to create a short storybook version of the movie. The writing is a blend of the original Grimm (especially the prologue) and the Disney movie almost verbatim. Tenggren was an authentic Swedish children’s book author, whose style did much to influence the look of the film. Good Housekeeping pages allow us to get a glimpse of his art style, which is very warm. It reminds me of his Dutch contemporary, Anton Pieck, whose drawings look like they come straight out of Disney’s Pinocchio.
ZS 3701 Sunday strips (1937-38) Writ. Merrill De Maris Art. Hank Porter, Bob Grant The comic strip version of Snow White actually improves upon the story in several ways. Snow White and the Huntsman (whose name is Humbert, apparently) have a brief exchange before he tries to stab her, a small character connection that I felt was missing in the movie. The Prince also gets a little more to do, sharing just a little more interaction with Snow White in the beginning (even if this earns him the unfortunate name Prince Buckethead). Without the song sequences (especially “Whistle While You Work”), the pacing is just a little more on point. And the art style is I daresay even a bit better than it is in the movie: Snow White’s eyes are more expressive, the Queen is given a bit of beauty make-over, and the sharp contrast between black and white works really well for some scenes. This is a great adaptation of a great movie.
Standard Parade for 1939 Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two Dir. Riley Thomson A promotional short to encourage an advertising campaign between Disney and Standard Oil. The Dwarfs’ make an appearance in what is technically their first appearance since Snow White, but the animation used was actually lifted from an early walking sequence that was cut from the film.
7 Wise Dwarfs (1941) Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines, The War Years Dir. Richard Lyford A short made for the Canadian war effort. Recycled animation shows the dwarfs lend their savings in return for war bonds. The war bond effort is something you hear very little about today, but it was a big deal in Disney’s wartime publications and propaganda pictures.
All Together (1942) Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines, The War Years Dir. Jack King A short parade in front of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. There’s a great variety of recycled animation on display, from Donald Duck and his nephews (Good Scouts) to Mickey Mouse and band (The Band Concert, with Horace Horsecollar lifted from Symphony Hour and Goofy from Mickey’s Amateurs). Pinocchio and Gepetto are also there, while the dwarfs are once again lifted from the same walking sequence. The animation here is noticeably choppier than in the Standard Parade of 1939.
The Winged Scourge (1943) Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines, The War Years Dir. Bill Roberts This is by far the most interesting of the dwarf shorts, a fully animated educational short on how to combat malaria (and the pesky mosquitoes that cause it). Some of the recommended methods are a little out of date now, such as covering a lake with a layer of oil in order to kill the larvae, or spraying toxic chemicals everywhere under the sun. But there’s also time dedicated to digging waterways in order to divert poisonous water, and placing screens on your windows and beds, which are still sound. The narration is a little heavy-handed sometimes, but it’s also a reminded how exposed even the most advanced economies were to common disease at a time still within living memory.
House of Mouse: “Pluto Saves the Day” (ABC, 2001) Season 1, Episode 13 Writ. Henry Gilroy Storyb. Robert McKnight, Paul Fisher, Thomas Bernardo, Ginny Suess, Garrett Ho Pete buys some sleeping apples from the Evil Queen to take over the House of Mouse, but Pluto saves the day. The pet-themed shorts included in the series drive home how little you can do with a Pluto formula: he gets put outside after some mix-up, saves the day, and is let in again. Oh, and Snow White makes a brief appearance, too.
Once Upon a Halloween (Direct-to-video, 2005) Shortly after her transformation, the Evil Queen decides to team up for the evil shenanigans she plans to unleash at Halloween. Her cauldron, after relating his origin story in The Black Cauldron, proceeds to unleash a litany of villains; sometimes in the form of clips, other times as montages with music. The Queen even sings a song, “Sidekicks and Henchmen”. It’s just a way to sell clips of Disney villains into a hour-long home video feature. The sequences are bookended by the camera panning around the Queen’s evil CG-animated lair, while she (conveniently off-screen) talks to her cauldron. The movie ends with the deaths of all the major Disney villains, including her own (spoilers?!). That does her, apparently.
Sofia the First: “The Enchanted Feast” (Disney Junior, 2014) Season 2, Episode 2 Writ. Craig Gerber, Michael G. Stern Storyb. Cathy Jones, Rossen Varnabov, Eugene Salandra, Lonnie Lloyd What makes this line of work interesting is that you get exposed to all kinds of new things. People like to harp on TV animation not being as good as it was in their day, but I can’t say that for this episode. An evil fairy (à la Sleeping Beauty, but yellow) is trying to steal our protagonist’s magic amulet by disguising herself as a sorceress. When things go sour, the amulet makes Snow White appear, who tells the story of the Evil Queen’s transformation. Moral of the story: appearances can be deceiving. She is then defeated by a trick with mirrors. It’s interesting to see Snow White’s in the role of wizened, more experience princess giving advice to the new generation, brief though it is.
The 7D (Disney XD, 2 seasons, 2014-16) Writ. Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver, Shea Fontana Dir. Alfred Gimeno, Jeff Gordon, Charles Visser, Tom Warburton And then there’s this series, featuring the seven dwarfs. Well, in name only. Only their core traits remain, while everything from their design to pretty much the whole world has been “updated”. That is, it looks like every other brightly-colored hyperactive animated series of the past couple of years. There’s a pretty good voice cast (among the dwarfs, we find Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Bill Farmer, and Dee Bradley Baker), but their talents are buried beneath a mountain of generic, characterless writing. It’s not that the plots are that much worse than the other two episodes I’ve reviewed, but paired with the style (or lack thereof) of the show, it’s not much to write home about. The jokes are hit and miss: sometimes the pace of the gags works in the show’s favor, other times they’re forced ‘hip’ or reference obscure nursery rhymes that, let’s be honest, nobody teaches their children anymore. It’s a show with some potential, let down by an unwillingness to distinguish itself.