Blu-ray/DVD Review: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, The Signature Collection

Hi everyone!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is now out on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack. We received a copy of it to review, with the 1937 classic receiving some new bonus features – althought it is the older, timeless bonus features from the Platinum edition that deserve most of the attention. While the features are not divided up by new and old as they are on other discs, it is fairly easy to tell which camp most of them reside in. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature-length film, and the industry did not expect it to succeed. I won’t review the film itself because almost everyone has seen it, but watching the special features has given me great respect for how much work went into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is also the one Disney animated film where I really see the Grimm’s story in a big way.

Here are many of the bonus features, which I found pretty abundant.

In Walt’s Words: Just as the title indicates, this is Walt Disney talking about the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – including getting it financed. Archive footage includes Walt Disney signing the distribution agreement with RKO Pictures in 1936 for the “feature length cartoon”. He addresses “Disney’s Folly” and the Hollywood premiere. The film also financed the building of the Walt Disney Studios. This is definitely worth viewing!

Iconography: The movie visits modern day artists as they discuss and design Snow White imagery. Artist Nathan Sawaya, who speciaizes in LEGO and Disney artist Brittney Lee are featured here. As taken as I am with Sawayas work (which can be seen in A LEGO Brickumentary), I found this short bonus feature a little dull.

@DisneyAnimation, Designing Disney’s First Princess: Animator Mark Henn sits at a table with Art Directors Michael Giamo, Bill Schwab, and Lorelay Bove’, looking over sketches of Snow White and the dwarfs. Schwab notes that Grim Natwick designed Betty Boop and early Snow White drawings looked quite similar. This is a short feature, a bit light but still interesting.

The Fairest Facts of Them All: 7 Facts You May Not Know About Snow White: Sofia Carson from Descendants gives her twist on interesting film facts. Unfortunately, I found it hard to follow along with all the fluff in this piece and gave up trying to decipher what the facts were.

Snow White in 70 Seconds – If you are interested in a 70 second rap about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this is for you.

Alternate Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White: Walt Disney and his artists held story meetings between September, 1936 and May, 1937 about the first meeting of the Prince and Snow White. This feature does include the voice of Walt Disney (worth watching it for). At this time, they were trying to figure out what to do with the Prince, who ended up with a pretty small role in the film.

Disney’s First Feature: The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: This is a wonderful bonus feature, detailing the journey of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It includes interviews with animators Marc Davis, Eric Goldberg, and Ward Kimball (who recollected getting paid small bonuses for film gags). One interesting segment is about Albert Hurter, who brought his European sensibilities to the film.

Bringing Snow White to Life: Andreas Dejas, other animators and historians talk about the animators that predated the Nine Old Men, including Vladmir (Bill) Tytla (who animated Grumpy as well as Stromboli in “Pinocchio”). This is well worth a watch.

Hyperion Studios Tour – This feature was very different than I expected, and ended up being my favorite of all. Apparently it is shorter than it was on the Platinum release but I could have listened to those who worked at the Walt Disney Animation Studios back in the early days for hours.

Decoding the Exposure Sheet – Don Hahn takes us through a fascinating look at what it took to set up just one scene for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, including how Disney used a double exposure for natural shadows. There were 1300 scenes with 1300 exposure sheets.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is always worth picking up, I do recommend this in part for the digital copy (which includes a bonus Oswald short as well).