Just for clarification this is NOT about the social or cultural impact of Snow White in history, is more about the context and some hits Disney got for its first full link animated movie.
We are all familiar with the classic fairytale: a beautiful princess, a handsome prince in a far-away kingdom full of magic, an evil villain who’s willing to do anything against our heroes and of course the “happily ever after”. Well, it’s amazing how everything sounds so obvious, repetitive and even boring when we considerer how fast the world has changed in the last 80 years.
Now let’s picture ourselves back in the year 1937, don´t worry, just imagine it, your wi-fi will be fine; and keep in mind that the world of animation as we know it only has cartoons and short films from 5 to 45 minutes, and there are only three animated movies which probably you have never heard of: “El apóstol” from 1917, it’s the first mute and in black and white animated movie in history (also fun fact it’s from Argentina), after that “Peludópolis” in 1931 and “Le Avventure di Pinocchio” in 1936. The last two were the firsts animated movies in black and white to feature sound. I know right… whaaaaat? 1931? Yeah, and wait for it, “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” was THE first animated movie with sound and COLOR in history. In a way Walt Disney himself played the first turn in what we know today as animated movies.
We obviously have our favorite Disney song, I won’t spoil mine, thing for another day, but we are very familiar with Disney music, original, happy, sometimes so catchy that after a movie at least one gets stuck in our heads. Well I’m not sure if people got this after watching Snow White for the first time, but listening to the songs all over again makes me relieve the movie all together! And OMG don’t lie to me, I know every single one of us has at least sung “Heigh-ho” while waking somewhere or ok… at least whistle it. What I mean is, having an original score and have people notice it and like it so much that they keep listening it afterwards is not an easy thing. This turned into a kind of signature for most Disney movies
Another thing I would like to point out in this movie is the over dramatic villain, who you are 100% sure she is the bad guy, like gosh, the Evil Queen it’s willing to kill a seven-year-old girl just because a magic wall mirror said that she will definitely be the most beautiful of them all, and the queen is all like “oh no girl, there cannot be two of us in town”, so she tried to kill her… twice. You know, the first time sends a hunter to kill her but he lets her go; and then, the second one with the poison apple, which almost works but a prince passing by wakes her up with the true love’s kiss, oh yeah, the idea of true love and true love’s kiss is classic in most of these stories.
Of course, most girls have dreamt of a prince charming and live happily ever after, but then you get old and bitter and you realize there is no time for love and you have to pay bills, buy food and work and gosh I really want that prince charming! Sorry for that… what I mean is yeah, we are very familiar with this kind of stories, we get to love them or hate them as they go, but the departing point was this magical fairytale that revolutionized animated movies and magical stories in general.
Fun Fact: There is a rumor that the actress of Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) signed a contract that forbids her from singing for another character, because Disney didn’t want to some other character have Snow White’s voice.