Thursday, July 2, 2015

Original Production Drawing of the Old Hag (The Witch) from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Original production drawing in red, blue, green, and graphite pencils of the Old Hag (The Witch) from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Numbered 367 lower right; On watermarked five peg hole paper and stamped with production numbers lower left; Size - Old Hag: 5 1/2 x 7 1/2", Sheet: 10 x 12"; Unframed.

The famed animator Joe Grant created the initial sketches of the Witch, which had some basis in the early Witch drawings from Arthur Rackham's illustrations from "Hansel and Gretel." After Walt Disney approved the character design; Norman Ferguson was given the task of animating her. There were early concerns that the Witch would be viewed by the audience as more of a laughable and entertaining clown rather than an evil old hag; however, Norm's animation skill won out and the character seems even more menacing than her prior Queenly form. The Witch is the only character in "Snow White" to look directly into the camera and therefore address the audience. With her one tooth, expressive eyes, and boney hands; Ferguson had a lot of choices in which to invoke fear and to scare. Despite her slow movements and apparent frailness, we all know there is pure evil afoot!

Close up of the Old Hag (Witch) production drawing.

After the Evil Queen has transformed into the Old Hag, she magically creates the poisoned apple. "With one bite of the poisoned apple, the victim's (Snow White's) eyes will close forever in the sleeping death." She places the apple into a basket and goes to the Dwarf cottage; and looking through a window, finds Snow White making pies. This scene opens with the Hag's shadow appearing inside the cottage, covering Snow White. The Old Hag asks Snow White what type of pies she is making and she responds, gooseberry. This drawing is from the next scene when the Old Hag responds:

Old Hag: "It's apple pies that make the menfolks' mouths water. [presenting the poisoned apple to Snow White] Pies made from apples like these."

Close up of the production stamp.

Close up of the production number.

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below: