Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (…Dwarves?). I watched Disney’s “The Diamond Edition” with my kids, for whatever that is worth. It was a two-disc edition that I’m not entirely sure why a second disc was justified. The extras were interesting but relatively sparse. Considering sixty years of marriage is a Diamond Anniversary, presumably, that is the genesis of the coinage and not the fact that the box contains diamonds. Or scratch-repelling DVDs. Or special features of any value… Criterion, we realize you spoil us when you simply add your name and no fancy qualifiers.
This is the first film of its kind ever produced for the mass-market – a ninety minute animated feature. “It not only permanently established Disney as one of the foremost studios in the world but also advanced the state of animation to such a degree that it wasn’t until the advent of computer animation that anyone arguably pushed the form further” (Schneider). Essentially, that sums this Brothers Grimm tale up – an animated film that destroyed the boundaries of animation and set the bar high for any attempt at it for the next hundred years (which we haven’t even seen yet… it is that revolutionary). Part children’s entertainment, part universal human story, Snow White is not only the beginning – it’s the apex.
To be honest, I am not really looking forward to any of the Disney films on Schneider’s list. Some of them are dated, simple, and not as great as they are made out to be as they both under and overestimate the emotional sensibilities of their audience. They want to be everything to all people, and in doing that they reuse a lot of tropes that are Disney-specific and use sentimentality, music, and effective striking images to manipulate and evoke emotions from the audience over, and over, and over again. Just a quick glance at youtube will show studies of how they do it, where they do it, and even when specific elements of films are reused (sometimes literally)
That said, this is a seminal film as it is the first commercial risk taken with animation in a feature length that was to make or break Disney as an artist and businessman. He succeeded, and this became one of the greatest films of all time, not only because of what he did that no one had ever done before but because it is actually well executed.
Personally, I thought it dragged in places and the story made little sense… But man, does the artwork completely slaughter. There are so many beautiful images and gorgeous scenes and little details that make this a truly important work of art. There has been little since, at the volume that this is, that can compare in quality and overall scope. During this viewing, my main focus was the artwork.