While not as awesome a princess as Belle, Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs was still and amazing feat of cinematic ingenuity.
Released in 1937, it was the first full length cel animated feature made. With a budget of $250,000, ten times the budget of a usual short film, it ended up costing $1,488,422. Fighting to get the film produced, with criticism from both his wife and brother and needing to remortgage his house to finish the film, it grossed $8 million internationally on its initial release, assuming the record of highest grossing sound film. Adjusting for inflation, it still ranks in the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.
At the 11th Academy Awards, Walt Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar for “a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”. In 2008, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs was named by the American Film Institute as the greatest American animated film of all time.
There were many changes that occurred during story development that resulted in the film that was released. The names of the 7 Dwarfs were chosen from a about 50 potential names, some of them including: Jumpy, Deafy, Dizzey, Hickey, Wheezy, Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty and Burpy. Also, the character of the Queen was initially going to be a ‘fat, batty, cartoon type, self-satisfied’ Queen. The story line was going to be more of a comedy, using the Dwarfs as comedic possibilities through the movie, and the Prince was going to be more clown like, serenading Snow White more comically. However, it was decided that the Queen should be a more beautiful, stately type, and that the story line should focus on the relationship between Snow White and the Queen, so many scenes involving the Dwarfs were cut.
The initial story line was also going to follow the original Grimm fairy tale more closely, with the Queen poisoning Snow White with a comb, the Prince arriving in time to remove the comb, and then himself being captured by the Queen. The Queen then puts him in a dungeon where she tries to convince him to marry her, and makes skeletons dance around him, in a display of power. The Prince refuses, and is left to die in the dungeon. Meanwhile, the Queen returns to Snow White with the traditional poisoned apple. The Prince manages to escape, but does not get to Snow White in time to prevent her being poisoned but does manage to save her with true love’s kiss.
That would definitely have been a more intricate story line, but there are few complaints about the story as it is, and its international success as a feat of modern cinema has certainly made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs one of, if not the, best American film ever made.