Friday, August 20, 2010
Snow White and the Seven Quick Takes
1.I've been seeing a lot of Snow White lately, courtesy of the nice folks at Netflix. The movie is certainly lovely, like a storybook brought to life. Critics have called it a masterpiece, and I guess that's accurate in a certain sense. A cinematic masterpiece, an artistic masterpiece, yes; a dramatic masterpiece, no. Snow White is not a dramatic heroine. She undergoes no change through the course of the movie. She acts not; she is acted upon. She reacts reflexively to circumstances. (This is literal: at one point a dwarf taps at her knee with a drumstick and her foot kicks up.) The prince is a dud and the dwarves are mere comic accessories. The queen is the only dramatic figure. She acts. She chooses. She dominates, until she's run off a cliff and smashed by a big rock.
I had always found Snow White's voice to be extremely annoying until I saw this video of Adriana Caselotti, the singer who recorded Snow White. The woman has a sweet bubbly personality that makes her voice seem real. If anything, the animation fails to capture the individuality of the voice.
3. I had always heard that J.R.R. Tolkien was so appalled by Snow White that he put it in his will that Disney could never make a movie of any of his books. Google isn't giving me much help in verifying that, though. Anyway, in The Two Towers, the song of farewell that Galadriel sings to the Fellowship begins, "O Snow-White!"
4. Of the prince, all I can say is, "Dude looks like a lady!"
5. The dwarves: weird, sexless little men. I love the interior of the dwarves' cottage, though it beggars belief that such bumbling fools could have produced such intricate carvings and artistic flourishes.
6. Want to see a real little princess with hair as dark as ebony, lips as red as the rose, and skin as white as snow?
7. The DVD goes back to Netflix today.