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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first animated film, does contain a few scenes that might frighten young preschoolers. The scenes with the wicked queen are especially creepy, as are the parts when Snow White runs through the frighteningly enchanted forest, bites the poisoned apple, and when the Queen turns into the old hag. While the violence is far from bloody, the queen does order the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart. As is to be expected in a film made in 1937, Snow White is a passive damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by her true love, the prince.
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What's the story?
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, the first feature-length animated film in movie history, is the original Disney Princess. In a far off kingdom, a wicked Queen (voiced by Lucille LaVerne) is so evil she forces her lovely step-daughter Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) to work as a servant. Obsessively vain, the Queen is only happy when her slave in a magic mirror tells her she's \"the fairest one of all.\" On the fateful day the magic mirror informs her that Snow White is the fairest, the jealous Queen orders a huntsman to kill Snow White and return with her heart. Instead, the huntsman instructs Snow White to flee, and he takes the Queen a pig's heart. Eventually forest animals direct Snow White to a small cottage -- the home of seven dwarfs who become her little friends and protectors. The Queen's mirror, however, knows Snow White is still alive and the fairest, so the Queen will stop at nothing to get rid of her beautiful rival.
Is it any good?
Although Snow White may not be as brave as Mulan, as intelligent as Belle, or as talented as Ariel, she is, like Cinderella after her, the sweetest among the Disney princesses. Girls nowadays like their princesses and movie idols with a little edge, but considering Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was made in 1937, it's still a timeless tale, chock-full of the key ingredients to Disney's recipe for success: romance, mystery, mild peril, and music (more than 70 years later, people can still sing along to "Some Day My Prince Will Come") .
Snow White has it all, and it's a testament to the original Walt Disney animators that the traditional, hand-drawn animation can still evoke so much terror (the bulging eyes that creep out of the enchanted forest, or the menacing look of the two vultures), pathos (the sight of Snow White's outstretched hand after eating the apple) and tenderness (the dwarfs mourning Snow White's apparent death). Seven decades have passed, and this original wicked Queen is still the scariest of the Disney villains, and Snow White quite possibly the fairest of them all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how characters like Snow White might be different if they were created today, and what elements of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs make it a classic fairy tale.
How is the violence in Snow White different than the violence in other Disney movies?
Snow White is a traditional damsel in distress. How have depictions of princesses and heroines changed since 1937?
- In theaters: December 21, 1937
- On DVD or streaming: February 2, 2016
- Cast: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne
- Director: David Hand
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Character strengths: Compassion, Courage, Empathy, Humility, Integrity
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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