Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) from Tuna
are all saying "What is this crazy fish thinking? A Disney
cartoon from 1937?"
This is an absolutely amazing restoration job on both the video and audio, but that's not why I want to talk about it. This special edition, being released next Tuesday, is the most impressive package in terms of special features I have seen to date, and Snow White is a very important film for many reasons.
Snow White was originally written as a Grimms fairy tale (Sneewitchen). Disney saw a silent version using real actors, and fell in love with the story. In the 30's, he was well known for his shorts, but realized that he would have to make feature films to grow his studio. Snow White was to be the first animated feature film. He also realized that, to pull it off, he would have to advance the state of the art in animation on several fronts. He invented a new animation camera (the multi-plane) to give a dimensional effect to backgrounds, modeled the animation of characters after film footage he took of performers moving, created an art school for his artists, and paid attention to every minute detail to create this masterpiece. You can make a good case for this being the best animated feature ever made. Indeed, several of Disney's later efforts were criticized as not being as good as Snow White.
This 2 disk set is the standard to which special features will be compared. On disk one, they have pieced together a feature length commentary from actual audio clips of Walt Disney. They have also included a video game played with the remote control, and previews of what will be found on disk 2. There is also a new recording of Barbra Streisand singing Someday My Prince Will Come, a Disney short which served as a test for Snow White, a karaoke sing-along to "Heigh-Ho"
The Second DVD contains the complete history of the making of the film, and amazing insight into the process of Disney animation, as well as four deleted scenes (including a deleted song), newsreel footage from the premiere, the original press kits, and more.
For those with kids or grand kids, this is a must own. For those with a real interest in film, and especially animation, you will spend hours on the special features DVD, and I found the film a total delight, which may mean that I am in my second (or third) childhood.
I really enjoyed the sneak preview of Robert Altman's modern day live-action version, although I thought Sigourney Weaver was a bit too old to play the ingénue.
But the film worked because of plenty of wacky mayhem from those dwarfs. Danny DeVito, as Grumpy DePalma, shines in his career role, while Christian Slater is uncommonly affecting in his portrayal of the enigmatic Sneezy Adams, showing us the tears behind the tragic sneezing disease. Tom Cruise reaches far beyond his usual range to play Leonard "Dopey" Kidman, although that proved to be an unfortunate choice of last names for his character. I also enjoyed Linda Hunt, who's again straying into Oscar territory with her dual role as two male dwarfs, the twin drug addicts, Doc and Bashful Lescoulie.
|And you had to love
Tina Turner as the "Acid" Queen and former Soviet leader
Gorbachev as the voice of the talking Russian space station,
I was less convinced by the two sporty dwarves. Spud Webb was wooden as basketball star "Sleepy" Floyd, but he wasn't asked to do much but dribble. Charlie Sheen seemed totally out of place in his recreation of "Happy" Felsch from the classic baseball film "Eight Men Out", and while he is not an exceptionally tall man, he just seemed too damned tall to be a dwarf.
Return to the Movie House home page