Favourite Films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

For this series of blog posts, I will be looking at ten of my favourite films in no particular order and explaining why they hold such significance in shaping my film viewings.

Beginning with Snow White always seems to make sense when I talk about films that inspire me because this was the film that defined my early years. Based on the classic fairytale that follows the titular character who is forced to live with seven dwarfs after escaping her evil stepmother. I remember watching my VHS every day for a few months. My video also had a behind the scenes documentary at the end which I loved watching time and time again.

Of course, Snow White isn’t a film to watch for complex female characters and you can’t argue that it’s feminist, particularly in today’s views. However, when I watched Snow White as a child, it wasn’t a case that I wanted to be like her but the artwork and the craftsmanship that went into creating it drew me in. I think it’s easy to forget that it was the first ever technicolour animated feature film and it’s all in colour as well. That’s a huge feat in film history.

One aspect that I love the most is the use of colour and the various palettes used throughout, particularly in the expressionist forest scene when she is running away from the Evil Queen. Despite this being Disney’s first feature film, he doesn’t play it safe as the forest transforms and becomes a culmination of nightmares. The trees have faces and logs become alligators as Snow White runs deeper and deeper into the forest. The green, grey and black palette than opens up to a brighter spectrum as the eyes that have been following her are revealed to be friendly woodland creatures. The visual style is designed to put the audience at a state of unease as we flit to and fro between the happy, joyful moments with the dwarfs and the plotting Evil Queen who transforms into the Old Hag in a bid to kill Snow White.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Another iconic aspect of this film is the music. Drawing inspiration from the woodland creature trills for “Whistle While You Work” to incorporating the sound of the mine digging into “Heigh Ho”. It is a film that it defined by its environment and it feels as though the art was the primary focal point that dictated the rest of the film.

Chances are you have probably seen this film but if not then you really should as soon as you can. It’s place in film history is undisputed and the love and care that went into making it more than paid off.

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