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Monday, April 27, 2015

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937 - Is It Too Frightening?


SOLD: Evil Queen Cel, Original production cel of the Evil Queen over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - 7 3/4 x 5 3/4", Image 9 1/4 x 7 3/4", Frame 29 1/2 x 26 1/4"; Framed using a black and gold wood frame, 4 acid free mats (the two outer suede) and UV conservation clear glass.


Development on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in early 1934, and by June Walt Disney announced to The New York Times the production of his first feature, to be released under Walt Disney Productions.  Before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Disney studio had been primarily involved in the production of animated short subjects in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series.  However, Disney hoped to expand his studio's prestige and revenues by moving into features, and he estimated that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could be produced for a budget of $250,000 (this was ten times the budget of an average Silly Symphony).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was to be the first full-length cel animated feature in motion picture history, and as such Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother and business partner Roy Disney, as well as his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it.  The Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the film, while is was in production, as "Disney's Folly."  Disney ended up having to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which would eventually ran up to a total cost of $1,488,422.74; an absolutely massive sum for a feature film in 1937!


SOLD - Original hand-painted and hand inked production animation cel of the Evil Queen; used during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937, Walt Disney Studios; Placed on a hand watercolor non-production background that matches the scene; Framed using a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, an inset hand-carved gold wood interior fillet frame, a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, a hand-carved gold wood exterior frame and Museum Image Perfect UV protective glass; Size - Frame 23" x 22 1/2".

After a long and difficult four years, on January 13, 1938, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall.  The film ran for five weeks in a row, the first motion picture to do so, and it could have played longer if not for prior commitments of the venue. It was to be the theatres' most successful engagement in all of the 1930s.  The film was loved by everyone and Disney, along with his animation team, had managed to make an animated film that the audience would believe!  The crowd would be sad and cry when Snow White bit the apple and was placed in a glass casket; and they would laugh, smile, and be happy during the song and dance numbers with the Dwarfs.  However, Disney was criticized by some for making a very scary film for children.


SOLD - Original hand-painted and hand inked production animation cel of the Evil Queen; numbered 129, and used during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937, Walt Disney Studios together with an original hand-painted reproduction background; Framed using a hand-wrapped linen mat, an inset gold wood interior fillet frame, a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, a hand-carved gold wood exterior frame and Museum Image Perfect UV protective glass; Size - Frame 24 x 27 1/2".

When the movie was played at Radio City Music Hall on its first release, the theater managers had to replace the music played when Snow White runs into the Dark Forest; because they were nervous that the kids would be too frightened upon hearing it.  Snow White's run into the Forest had another result;  young children were still so scared by the sequence, that they wet their pants.  As a result, the velvet upholstery of each and every seat held by a child, had to be replaced prior to every showing of the film.


SOLD: Old Hag (Witch) with Apple Cel, Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the Witch with the poisoned apple on matching lithographic background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - Witch 6 1/2 x 5 1/4", Image 9 1/2 x 13 1/4", Frame 29 x 20 1/4"; Framed with a black and gold wooden frame, three suede acid free mats, and UV conservation clear Museum Perfect glass.

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

The Walt Disney film's version of the Evil Queen changing into an Old Hag is very different compared to the original story.  In the Disney version, the Queen uses her dark magic powers to actually transform herself into an old woman instead of just taking on a disguise; as in the Brothers Grimm story.  Animation provided a transformation scene that is truly spectacular and the Disney team even made the event greater by utilizing the multi-plane camera; to make the room itself appeared to spin.  This sequence along with the flight of Snow White through the Dark Forest; caused the British Board of Film Censors (now, the British Board of Film Classification) to give the film an A-certificate (children had to be accompanied by an adult) upon its original release.  This resulted in a nationwide controversy as to whether the Forest and the Witch were too frightening for younger audiences.  Nevertheless, most local authorities simply overrode the censor's decision and gave the film a U-certificate (Suitable for children).

Walt Disney's response to the idea that the film was too frightening for children was, "I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty."  This may have been his statement, but he never made another film with such a scary villain.  Every film after Snow White had the main villain accompanied by a comedic sidekick; such as Maleficent and her Goons, Cruella de Vil with Horace and Jasper, or Medusa with Snoops.

To view the transformation of the Evil Queen into the Old Hag, click on the video below:

video