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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live w/ Blu-ray packaging) by Director: David Hand
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B001V9LPWQ
Date: 27 September 2009 List Price $39.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com / Wikipedia / Show Official Info /

I remember watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on a black and white TV as a child but I was curious to see how it would look on a Blu-ray disc. Given that this masterpiece of animation was a landmark in cinematic history, I wanted to see how well this story would hold up 72 years after it first aired.

Director:
David Hand

Writing credits:
Wilhelm Grimm (fairy tales) (as Grimm) &
Jacob Grimm (fairy tales) (as Grimm)

Cast:
Adriana Caselotti ... Snow White (voice) (uncredited)

Walt Disney's decision to take the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, and make it into a full length animated feature was a bold one, especially one taken so soon after the Great Depression. From the beginning of production in early 1934 and and the official announcement in June 1934 to its big Hollywood premiere at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937, industry insiders called it "Disney's Folly". Until that day no one had ever made a feature length animated feature, only animated shorts. That was the day when Walt Disney not only proved his critics wron -- he made cinematic history.

When I first watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it was through the eyes of a young child. Watching it again on Blu-ray as an adult, not only was it still an immensely enjoyable story, I had a superior appreciation of the superb craftsmanship of the film. Watching the bonus features on both of the Blu-ray discs gave me a richer appreciation of the talent of the artists and their endless search for perfection, as well as that of Walt Disney himself.

While I had been seeing the same trailer for The Princess and the Frog for several months, viewing the Sneak Peek with writer/director John Musker and writer/director Ron Clements took the story much further. Set in New Orleans in the 1920s, this is the first hand drawn Disney film in years. The Sneak Peek showcases the first 5 minutes of the film. Some of it is fully colored animation, some of it is black and white animation that needs only colorization, and some of it is rough pencil animation with an audio track. Initially I was lukewarm about seeing this film but after seeing the exquisite detail in the fully colored animated segment, I really want to see this film.

I enjoyed watching Snow White Returns with Don Hahn, producer of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Probably intended to be a short rather than a full length feature, Snow White Returns incorporates two scenes cut from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, specifically the soup eating sequence and the bed building sequence. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, they are downright hilarious. While I don't know why Walt Disney decided not to make a sequel, even with the urgings of the artists, is beyond me. All I know is that I think it would have been a glorious film.

Disc 3, the second Blu-ray disc has the final bonus featurettes from "Backstage Disney". My favorite is "Hyperion Studios", an interactive featurette with Director Andrew Stanton (WALL-E), Director Ron Clements, Director John Musker, and Eric Goldberg and is well executed - just try picking out who from the 21st Century is in the 1930s still image before they turn toward the camera and begin speaking. It came as absolutely no surprise to me to hear that the principal animators were very proud and perfectionists - it shows in the loving details.

Whether you're a lifelong Disneyphile, a parent, a grandparent, or simply appreciate beautifully hand drawn animation, run, don't walk to the store for your copy (or copies) of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live w/ Blu-ray packaging). Or better yet, beat the rush and walk over to your computer to pre-order it from Amazon.com.

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