The first, and by far most memorable full-length animated feature from the Disney Studios, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” may have been superseded technically by many of the films that followed it. But its simple story of a charming little princess saved from the evil deeds of her wicked step-mother, the queen, by a group of seven adorable dwarfs made history when it was first released in December, 1937 and has since become an incomparable screen classic. —IMDb
In 1930, David Hand joined The Walt Disney Studios as its 21st and most ambitious young animator. It didn’t take long for Walt Disney to notice his knack for getting things done, and so he moved Dave (as he was called by his friends) into directing animated shorts such as, “Pluto’s Judgement Day” “Alpine Climbers” and “Little Hiawatha.” Later, in 1933, Walt promoted him to Production Supervisor of the Studio, and around that same time, entrusted Dave with directing the first full-length animated feature “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
As animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston recalled in their book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, Dave “was cavalier in transforming Walt’s dreams into animation.” Dave knew enough to recognize quality, and if Walt said, “Let’s get that into the picture,” Dave would make sure that it got in and just that way. If Walt said, “We can save money here; let’s keep the cost down,” Dave would use every shortcut in the book. He never confused… read more
Walt Disney first came to rely upon Wilfred Jackson’s genius and sense of perfection, the year Mickey Mouse was born, 1928. At that time, Walt had conceived the notion of marrying music and animation during what was the age of silent movies. Then a new kid in the Studio’s animation department, Wilfred devised a method of synchronizing animation with music, by using a metronome to mark time that could then be converted to a music track. The innovation, which was featured in Mickey Mouse’s debut film “Steamboat Willie,” revolutionized the entertainment medium and competing studios spent more than a year trying to figure out Disney’s production “secret.”
Walt quickly promoted “Jaxon,” as he was called, from animator to director. And as Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston wrote in their book, “Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life,” — "Jaxon was easily the most creative of the directors, but he was also the most “picky” and took a lot of kidding about his thoroughness."
Born… read more
When Ben Sharpsteen joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1929, he quickly became Walt´s right-hand man in animated and live-action film production. As Walt once wrote, “Concerning Ben Sharpsteen and his contributions to the development of the Disney organization, I want to say he played a very important part.”
Born in Tacoma, Washington, on November 4, 1895, Ben was raised in Alameda, California. He studied agriculture at the University of California at Davis and in 1917, joined the U.S. Marines serving in World War I.
A gifted artist, after the war he won a job with the Hearst International Film Service, working on such early animated series as “Happy Hooligan.” He went on to work as an animator at the Paramount Studio, Jefferson Films and the Max Fleischer Studio in New York.
A mutual friend recommended Ben to Walt Disney, who sent a letter inviting him to visit the Studio in Los Angeles. The day Ben arrived, Walt showed his prospective employee Mickey Mouse cartoons… read more
Praise from Eisenstein led to me revisiting this one. The dwarfs creep me out more now then they ever did in '94, but the fantasy set-pieces are still exquisite, with an authentically mystical fairy tale vibe that contemporary Hollywood animation has all but abandoned (sadly) in favor of irony and parody. It deserves mention alongside Cocteau and Melies—it was able to launch an Evil Empire for a reason. 5 stars.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs deserves canonical prestige not only for its successes in animation, but also its cinematic achievements. Built upon a simple tale of good triumphing evil, and a fair deal of screwball comic-strip antics, Disney's first masterpiece is a consummate work of art, incorporating visual, structural, and conceptual aspects of German Expressionism and Romanticism.