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4 February 2009

On this day in history: Disney`s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released, 1938

In June 1934, Walt Disney announced the production of his studio's first feature length animation: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Previously the Disney studio had released short films such as those in the Mickey Mouse series. Disney's family tried to dissuade him from the venture, while other industry insiders referred to the moving picture as "Disney's Folly."

Production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had begun earlier that year with a team of writers adapting the original story written by the Brothers Grimm. Frank Churchill (music) and Larry Morey (lyrics) wrote the songs for the movie, while Paul J. Smith and Leigh Harline scored the incidental music. David Hand headed the directorial team having worked for Disney studios since 1930, first as an animator and later as animation director.

Disney chose Adriana Caselotti to play the role of Snow White, then later blacklisted the singer from appearing elsewhere so as not to spoil the magic of Snow White. Lucille La Verne voiced the Queen, eventually doing so without her false teeth to get the voice just right. The voice of Goofy, Pinto Colvig, provided the voices of two of the dwarfs: Grumpy and Sleepy.

Production took three years with costs spiralling from Disney's original budget of $250,000 (ten times more than his animated shorts cost) to nigh on $1,500,000. To continue funding production Disney had to mortgage his own home. Eventually, on 21st December 21 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premièred at the Carthay Circle Theater, Los Angeles to a rapturous reception.

On 4th February 1938 the movie went on general release grossing $66,596,803, a record amount. Snow White was the first full length animated feature requiring the development of many new techniques for which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Disney with a special Oscar (and seven smaller ones). Snow White was also the first American movie to have a soundtrack album released simultaneously.

2 comments:

Nora said...

Wow, really? Interesting. I love Snow White. I want to get the DVD! :D

Stepterix said...

You know, I don't think I have seen this movie all the way through. I have certainly seen clips of various scenes many timers.

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