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SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
While Snow White (voice of Adriana Caselotti) dreams about a handsome prince (voice of Harry Stockwell), the evil Queen (voice of Lucille LaVerne), is obsessed about being "the fairest in the land". When her Magic Mirror reveals that it is Snow White and not she who is the fairest, the Queen instructs her huntsman (voice of Stuart Buchanan) to kill the young Princess. Allowed to escape into the forest, Snow White discovers a cottage belonging to seven dwarfs – Doc (voice of Roy Atwell), Bashful (voice of Scotty Mattraw), Sneezy (voice of Billy Gilbert), Sleepy (voice of Pinto Colvig), Happy (voice of Otis Harlan), Grumpy (voice of Pinto Colvig), and Dopey (mute). The dwarfs fall in love with Snow White, who takes care of them and their house while they work each day in the nearby diamond mine. When she discovers that Snow White is still alive, the jealous Queen disguises herself as an old woman and offers Snow White a gift of a shiny red apple, cursed with the poison of eternal sleep. Snow White bites into the apple and falls into a deep sleep, from which she can only be woken by true love's first kiss. The Prince kisses the sleeping beauty; the spell is broken and they live happily ever after.

"Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand,
wer ist die schönste im ganzen Land?"

("Mirror Mirror On the Wall Who is the Fairest of Them All?")

These are among the first German words that my Austrian father taught me as a little girl – from the story Schneewittchen, which he read to me from a book of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. But of course, I am not the only one for whom Snow White made an impact. Back in 1916, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's story made an impression on 15 year old Walt Disney; Snow White was the very first feature film he saw - a silent film version in 1916 starring Marguerite Clark. It seems fitting somehow, that Snow White became the first ever full-length animated film in 1937, when Disney invested three years, US$1.5million and the combined talents of 570 artists. Meticulous restoration has brought the picture and sound back to its original clarity; 118,000 frames have each been cleaned and restored, allowing audiences to rediscover the film in its original sparkling glory.

Considered a masterpiece and a milestone in film-making, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains cinematic enchantment for all ages. The magic and inspiration of the film lies in the detail created in Snow White's world. Every flutter of a bird's wing, the whisper of leaves in the forest, the reflection in the wishing well…. it's the minutia that brings this tale of good and evil to life. Take the scene when Snow White sings I'm Wishing, as she looks at her own reflection in the well. 'Do you want to know my secret?' she asks the six white doves. As they join her on the edge of the well, a different perspective is captured from the bottom of the well. The forest animals are more than incidental – from the baby deer, the squirrels, the blue birds, the tortoise and baby rabbits; they all have personalities, as do the forest trees whose branches become arms. By the time Snow White crosses the bridge into the world of the dwarfs, we are happily transported into Disney's magical world. Every sequence creates new magic - the spring cleaning of the dwarf's doll-like house is one of the most delightful; the dust is whisked away by fluffy tails, and all paws are busily helping. In today's age, the little men may well be described as height challenged and need psycho-analysis, but their charm is undeniable, while the choreographed sequences, toe-tapping songs and catchy lyrics are irresistible. You'll be humming and singing the tunes for days. Created in an age long before blondes have more fun, serene and graceful Snow White epitomises purity and goodness, and when the handsome prince rides by on his white steed to bestow that magical kiss (feminists may well squirm), we are swept up in the euphoria of the most sublime of romantic notions.

The DVD presentation is almost old fashioned in design. Presented as a very special event, the Edward G. Robinson lookalike Magic Mirror face guides us through all the offerings of the two-disc set; the navigation is easy to use with simple, yet effective menus. In fact, as Angela Lansbury notes in her introduction, there is indeed something for everyone on this DVD. Historic information, trivia (Deanna Durbin's voice at 15 was considered too old for the role of Snow White), and it is fascinating to watch the animation in split screen, showing old and restored footage. It is interesting to hear about the casting process: Walt Disney had a speaker in his office through which he would hear the voices of those auditioning. He did not want to see the actor/actress, and they did not know that Disney was listening.

The timeless music plays such a big part in the film, and although there were 25 songs originally written, only eight were used in the film. There's interactivity for the children – a sing-along to Heigh Ho, and a game called Dopey's Wild Mine Game, in which we venture through the mine with riddles and dead ends. It's quite a challenge to name the dwarfs in the order in which they march, and to match each dwarf by the instrument he plays. (I hope you fare better than I did!)

Without doubt, one of the great DVD highlights is the inclusion of Barbra Streisand's rendition of Some Day My Prince Will Come, complete with 100 piece orchestra. The sheer beauty of the lyric, music and animation, coupled with this extraordinary arrangement, is the epitome of romanticism.

There's much to learn about Walt Disney himself, the technologies, the restoration and we are invited to visit Disney through the decades from the 1930s right up to the new century. We can even see some of the different trailers released through the years. There's footage at the 1937 premiere, when stars like Marlene Dietrich, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and Shirley Temple made appearances, and even an audio Premiere radio broadcast.

A milestone in family entertainment on DVD, Snow White maintains the artistic integrity of the film, and through high definition, direct-to-digital technology, offers brilliant colour and crisp, clear sound, enabling us to enjoy this delightful masterpiece as it was intended.
Louise Keller

Published: November 1, 2001



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TRAILER

You can buy it HERE – next day delivery within Australia

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (G)
(US)

VOICES: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille LaVerne, Moroni Olsen, Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Otis Harlan, Scotty Mattraw, Roy Atwell, Stuart Buchanan

DIRECTOR: David Hand

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: October 10, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES:
DISC ONE: THE FILM

All new recording of "Some Day My Prince Will Come" Sung by Barbra Streisand, Newly-animated Magic Mirror Host, Dopey's Wild Mine Ride Set-Top Adventure Game, Heigh-Ho Sing-Along, Guided Tour Presented by Roy Disney and Tour Guide Angela Lansbury, Audio Commentary with Walt Disney, The Making of

DISC TWO: SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL

SNOW WHITE'S WISHING WELL
History and Development, Storyboard to film comparison

THE QUEEN'S CASTLE
Art and Design, Visual Development Gallery, Layout and Backgrounds, Animation

THE QUEEN'S DUNGEON
Abandoned Concepts, The Restoration

THE DWARFS' MINE: RARE TREASURES
Deleted scenes, Original Opening and End Credits, Disney Through the Decades

THE DWARFS' COTTAGE WONDER OF AN ERA GONE BY
Premiere, Trailers, Publicity, Vintage Black and White Short Subjects, Supplemental Audio

TECHNICAL FEATURES
LANGUAGES - English, Portuguese, Sub-Titles (feature Only): English, English for the deaf and hearing impaired







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