Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon; the first animated feature in Technicolor. It was made and produced by Walt Disney Productions, premiered on December 21nd, 1937, and was originally released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on February 8th, 1938. Based upon the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, the film's plot has a jealous and wicked queen attempt to have her stepdaughter murdered, but the girl escapes and is given shelter by seven dwarfs who live deep in a forest. Snow White was the first major animated feature made in the United States, the most successful motion picture released in 1937, and, adjusted for inflation, is the tenth highest-grossing film of all time.
The movie was adapted by Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith from the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm. The film was supervised by David Hand, and directed by William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen.
Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother Roy O. Disney and his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it, and the Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the film as "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. He even had to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which eventually ran up a total negative cost of just over $1.5 million, a whopping sum for a feature film in 1937.
Snow White, which spent three years in production, was the end result of Walt Disney's plan to improve the production quality of his studio's output, and also to find a source of income other than short subjects. Many animation techniques which later became standards were developed or improved for the film, including the animation of realistic humans (with and without the help of the rotoscope), effective character animation (taking characters that look similar—the dwarfs, in this case—and making them distinct characters through their body acting and movement), elaborate effects animation to depict rain, lightning, water, reflections, sparkles, magic, and other objects and phenomena, and the use of the multiplane camera. Snow White is also looked upon as a triumph of storytelling skill in animation.
Critical and commercial successEdit
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937 to a widely receptive audience (many of whom were the same naysayers who dubbed the film "Disney's Folly"), who gave the film a standing ovation at its completion. RKO Radio Pictures put the film into general release on February 4, 1938, and it went on to become a major box-office success, making more money than any other motion picture in 1938. In fact, for a short time, Snow White was the highest grossing film in American cinema history; it was removed from that spot by Gone With the Wind in 1939.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature made in English and Technicolor, and won an honorary Academy Award for Walt Disney "as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field." Disney received a full-size Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones, presented to him by Shirley Temple.
The movie was also nominated for Best Music, Score. Well-known songs from the film include: "Heigh-Ho", "Some Day My Prince Will Come", and "Whistle While You Work".
Re-release schedule and home videoEdit
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first re-released in 1944, in order to raise revenue for the Disney studio during the World War II period. This re-release set a tradition of re-releasing Disney animated features every seven to ten years, and Snow White was re-released to theatres in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987, and 1993. The film was restored for its 1987 50th anniversary reissue and a more comprehensive digital restoration was done for the 1993 reissue.
Snow White was first released on home video in 1994 and on DVD in 2001. The Snow White DVD was the first in Disney's Platinum Series line of releases, and featured, across two discs, the digitally restored film, a making-of documentary by Angela Lansbury, an audio commentary by John Canemaker and (via archived audio clips) Walt Disney, and many more special features.
Snow White was first released on home video in 1994, and was released on DVD in 2001. The Snow White DVD was the first in Disney's Platinum Series line of releases, and featured, across two discs, the digitally restored film, a making-of documentary, an audio commentary by John Canemaker and (via archived audio clips) Walt Disney, and many more special features.
- The names of the dwarves (Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy) were created for this production, chosen from a pool of about fifty potentials.
- Snow White and her dwarf friends made a silhouetted cameo appearance in the 2004 movie The Lion King 1½. They can be seen at the near end, walking to their seats in the theater.
- The movie's title uses the word "dwarfs" which was the traditional plural of "dwarf". The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in three volumes from July 29, 1954 to October 20, 1955, instead popularised the spelling "dwarves". Both plural forms have been used interchangeably since then.
- A version with live actors based on the film, titled Snow White: The Fairest of Them All and starring Kristin Kreuk, was made in 2003.
- A live action martial arts version, called Snow and the Seven came out in 2006.
- Upon seeing the film, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein called it the greatest ever made.
- The song, "Someday My Prince Will Come" has become a jazz standard that has been performed by numerous artists, including Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson, and Miles Davis.
- There are numerous popular ideas as to the presence of occult significance or symbolism within the movie, mostly centered around the dwarves themselves. For example, one theory holds that the seven dwarves correspond to the seven chakras (or chakras), and that Snow White represents consciousness moving through them. Other ideas are less philosophically complex, such as correspondences to the altered states of consciousness inherent in the use of particular drugs. In one theory, Snow White is cocaine, which causes exhaustion (Sleepy), mood swings (Happy, Grumpy), allergies (Sneezy) and alteration of personality (Bashful, Dopey) eventually resulting in a trip to the doctor (Doc). 
- Adriana Caselotti (Snow White )
- Harry Stockwell (Prince)
- Lucille La Verne (The Queen /Witch)
- Moroni Olsen (Magic Mirror)
- Billy Gilbert (Sneezy)
- Pinto Colvig (Sleepy/Grumpy)
- Otis Harlan (Happy)
- Scotty Mattraw (Bashful)
- Roy Atwell (Doc)
- Stuart Buchanan (Humbert, The Queen's Huntsman)
- Eddie Collins (Dopey, The Seven Dwarfs' Baby)
- Jimmy MacDonald (Dopey's Rocking Horse)