Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. However, Disney's version is a bit more sweet and tame compared to the original version. This is my all-time favorite Disney movie and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have many fond memories of watching this movie over and over and singing along to all the songs when I was little. Snow White has always been my favorite Disney princess and she still is even though I am a little old for princesses and fairy tales. Since this is my favorite Walt Disney film, I thought I would share with you 10 interesting facts I learned about this film.
1. Walt's First Full Length Movie
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first full length animated film from Walt Disney Studios. Walt was only 15 years old when he came up with the idea for the film. He saw a presentation of the 1916 silent film adaptation. The film fascinated Walt and it left a lasting impression on him. He knew someday he would make his own version of Snow White. On December 21, 1937, his film premiered on the big screen at Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Hollywood was so sure that the film would fail that they labeled it as Walt Disney's Folly. Boy, were they wrong. Following a nationwide release on February 4, 1938, the movie went on to earn 8 million dollars internationally. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs held the title of highest grossing film for exactly one year, only to be knocked down by Gone with the Wind.
2. Snow White...Sexy?
Although the Snow White we know and love today is very innocent and sweet looking, she wasn't originally drawn this way. The initial sketches of the character show her with large eyes and long eyelashes, pouty red lips, and you also caught a glimpse of her ankle. She actually looked quite a bit like Betty Boop. However, Walt was not pleased with these sketches. He felt that she looked more like a flapper than a princess. He wanted her to be innocent and wholesome. He also wanted her to be in peasant-style clothing so she did not appear sexy in any way.
3. The First Soundtrack Album
This was the first film to ever have a soundtrack recording album released for it. A movie soundtrack album was unheard of and was considered pointless by the studios. So if you have any soundtrack albums that you love (I know I do), you can thank Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for that!
4. The Voice of Snow White
Adriana Caselotti is the speaking and singing voice of Snow White. Her father was a music teacher and her mother was a singer in the Royal Opera. Adriana's mother was also the first vocal coach of the famous opera singer Maria Callas. Over 150 girls auditioned for the role of Snow White, including Deanna Durbin. Walt was very picky on who he wanted to voice the character. After countless auditions for the role, he heard Adriana's voice and knew that he had found his Snow White. She earned $970 for her work on the film. However, Walt made her sign a strict contract stating that she could not act or sing in any other movies or radio programs. He did not want the image of Snow White to be ruined. Because of this contract, this was sadly Adriana's only major film role.
5. Snow White's Live-Action Model
Young dancer Marge Champion was the live-action model for Snow White. Her movements were recorded so the animators could observe them as a reference so they could bring an aspect of realism to the character. Marge later did modeling for other Disney characters such as The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, Maid Marion from Robin Hood, and the dancing hippo in Fantasia. Marge's first husband, Art Babbitt, was a top animator at Walt Disney Studios and he was the creator of the famous Disney character Goofy.
6. Official Hollywood Royalty
On June 28, 1987, Snow White was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with her very own star. She is one of the few fictional characters to receive this honor. Her star is located at 6910 Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
7. A Very Scary Premiere
At the end of the premiere engagement at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, all of the upholstery on the seats in the theater had to be replaced. The children were so scared by the scene of Snow White being lost in the forest that they wet their pants. I can only imagine how horrible it would be to have to clean that up.
8. Scary Adventures
Snow White has her own ride dedicated to her at Disneyland. Snow White's Scary Adventures is located in Fantasyland. On this ride, you get to witness her adventures up close and in person. This is one of my favorite rides at the park, and I have to admit that it did scare me when I was little. The ride has been at Disneyland since opening day on July 17, 1955. It is one of the few original attractions still in operation.
9. Walt's Special Honor
In 1939, at the 11th Academy Awards, Walt Disney won an Honorary Academy Award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film received this honor for being a "significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field." Walt received one full size statuette and seven miniature ones. They were presented to him by Shirley Temple.
It is possible we would not have full-length animated films today if Walt did not make this movie. I am so happy that he decided to turn this fairy tale into a movie because, in my opinion, the world would be a lot more sad without animated films. This is really the one that started it all.
10. Snow White and Her Many Fans
This film has acquired quite a fan base over the years. I learned of a few interesting people who say Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is their favorite film.
- Famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian has said this film was one of his favorites.
- Sergei M. Eisenstein, who directed Battleship Potemkin (1925) said it was "the greatest film ever made."
- Charlie Chaplin said that the film “even surpassed our highest expectations. In Dwarf Dopey, Disney has created one of the greatest comedians of all time.”
- This was actually Adolf Hitler's favorite film. Go figure.
If you have never seen this movie before, I highly recommend you do so immediately. It is a true gem and it is worth your time to watch.
© 2014 Danielle
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on December 27, 2017:
Nice article! Snow White is a cute movie for sure but the forest scene is definitely one of the scariest in Disney in general. I didn't like it when I was a kid either.
Children back then didn't have access to horror movies and video games like they do now, so I can't imagine how terrified the poor mites were back then! Bless whoever had to clean up all that pee-pee.
Danielle (author) from California on September 24, 2014:
You're welcome :D. Thank you so much for reading!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 23, 2014:
wow, many facts i didn't know, thanks