Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the one that started it all for Walt Disney. The first ever feature-length animated film, critics of the day called it “Disney’s folly.” Hardly anyone at the time believed a feature-length animated film could be successful, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would go on to be a hugely successful film, influencing the work of others even outside of its own genre of animation, such as The Wizard of Oz.
Walt Disney had been fascinated with the story ever since seeing a live-action silent film adaptation of the story in 1916. Like most Disney animated films, the story has its roots in the European faerie tales like those collected by the Brothers Grimm. The story is that of a beautiful young princess, Snow White, who comes of age and become so beautiful that her vain stepmother becomes jealous and decides to have her killed. The Queen sends her huntsman after Snow White to have her killed, but the huntsman grants Snow White a reprieve and she flees into a dark wood where she finds refuge amongst a group of seven dwarfs. The Queen, forever plotting, eventually poisons Snow White and Snow White falls into a deep sleep that can only be lifted by love’s true kiss from her prince.
Of course, in true Disney fashion, much of the darker elements of the tradition folktale are removed from this version of Snow White, including different attempts by Snow White’s stepmother to kill her. Even with the more diabolical elements of the story, which has many variations, left out, Snow White as told through the eyes of the Walt Disney animators has its moments of true horror and is very much a film of its time. It evokes elements of 1930’s horror films. Even more, it draws on the still evolving grand tradition of Hollywood special effects, like that of 1927 science fiction film Metropolis.
In order to elevate Snow White to a sophisticated level of filmmaking that the world of animation had never seen before, Walt Disney utilized his director’s eye and employed all the techniques of normal filmmaking to help move Snow White’s story forward. The pans, the edits, zooming — these were all things new or at least unusual in the world of animation. Walt was also ruthless in cutting any material he felt did not contribute to the story.
Although it has come to be associated with children’s entertainment, the film is a fantasy intended for adult audiences and there are some sequences that may be frightening for the very little ones among you, so make sure you watch it together with them. It’s a true classic and lasting evidence that animation is a true art form worthy of respect.
This “Signature Collection” release arrives with the identical transfer of the film as the 2009 Diamond Edition release of Snow White from Disney previously reviewed as such:
Snow White looks absolutely superb for its age in this new Diamond Edition from Disney. The studio continues to impress bringing their animated classics to high definition on Blu-ray Disc. The 1.37:1 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding from Disney has brought the film back to life in spectacular fashion. Colors are nicely saturated, line art is clean, source damage is hardly noticeable and film grain is still there, but not overwhelming. Blacks look deep and stable. Of course, due to its age, there are still some moments where the images look just a little soft, but it is never a distraction.
In comparison, the Diamond Edition DVD looks just a little bit softer overall with slightly more noticeable blocking in the fills and a bit less defined line art.
The audio is also identical to the Diamond Edition release, which was previously reviewed:
Snow White’s sound has been remixed into a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack for this Diamond Edition Blu-ray Disc release. Of course, the sound is limited to mainly some nice panning across the three front channels and a good bit of expansive ambience in the surrounds. The LFE is put to good use, offering the occasional weighty “thump” when needed. Overall, things are surprisingly clean and crackle-free in this now seventy-year-old film. Also provided is the fully restored original soundtrack in a true monaural 1.0 Dolby Digital configuration. There’s a bit more crackle there, but it has a fine amount of dynamics, still sounds very good for its age and provides a nice, historically accurate way to watch the film.
French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 dubbed versions are also offered.
The supplements on the “Signature Collection” are a whole new set of HD offerings, plus an audio commentary that includes recordings of Walt himself.
- DisneyAnywhere Digital Copy compatible with iTunes, VUDU, Google+, and Disney’s own Disney Anywhere app.
- DisneyView — Watch the film with scene specific artwork filling the sides of the screen rather than the standard black bars in this 1.37:1 (4:3) framed film.
- In Walt’s World: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Archival interviews of Walt Disney
- Iconography (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:16)
- @DisneyAnimation: Designing Disney’s First Princess (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:16)
- The Fairest Facts of them All: 7 Things You May Not Know About Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:37) – Disney Channel’s Sofia Carson runs down a list of trivia related to Snow White.
- Snow White in Seventy Seconds (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:12)
- Alternate Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:39)
- Disney’s First Feature: The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1.781; 1080p/24; 00:33:15)
- Bringing Snow White to Life (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:35)
- Hyperion Studios Tour (1080p/24; 00:30:36)
- Decoding the Exposure Sheet (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:49)
- Snow White Returns (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:44)
- Story Meetings: The Dwarfs (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:51)
- Story Meetings: The Huntsman (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:55)
- Deleted Scene: Soup Eating Sequence (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:07)
- Deleted Scene: Bed Building Sequence (1.37:1; 00:06:28)
- Animation Voice Talent (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:20)
- Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Roy E. Disney and historian John Canemaker with recordings by Walt Disney.
The Final Assessment
While this Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs signature collection can hardly count as brand new given the identical transfer of the audio and video, for those who were not on board with Blu-ray in the still somewhat early days of 2009, this will be very welcome edition, and the picture still holds up well, as does this timeless animated classic. The new set of bonus features will also be a boon to Disney fans of all ages.
Be the first to leave a review.