It’s rare now to see a true piece of innovation on the screen, to watch something that changes the shape of an industry. Snow White did that in 1937. It seems almost incredible that this film is now almost 80 years old. This book charts it’s story of a film that is rightly revered place in history.
The book is a comprehensive study of the roots of Snow White, it’s journey and it’s impact globally. It’s enduring resonance lies in the craft and genius that went into it, which is meticulously laid out here. The book details how the principal animators were chosen, how Snow White’s personality was created, why Snow White appealed to Walt Disney and his personal input to all facets of the film The book explains why all these choices were so important and brings a new understanding of how significant it was for Disney to break into feature films.
There are fascinating details from Studio life at Disney as well. New recruits were expected to draw for 8 hours a day, unpaid for three weeks in their bid to get a job at the Studio. There are details about Walt’s struggle to get Snow White shown in Germany (it wouldn’t be shown until after the war). Excitingly, the book also details the discovery of reams of sketches for a sequel to Show White, discovered in 2009, which had been completely forgotten and lost within the archives.
For me, one of the most incredible details was the credits list, where the authors’ took the trouble to name every production member, scene by scene, associated to the film. This book not only gives them a very deserved recognition for their work on the film, but also serves as a great historical resource.
I really don’t think there is anything out on the market that is this insightful into Disney and it’s processes. An absolute essential for anyone interested in film, animation and Disney itself, it’s a great companion piece to The Illusion of Life. It is utterly engrossing and the descriptions give you an insight into a world you simply couldn’t imagine.
It is no doubt text heavy, but the images of model sheets, early sketches break it all up. But, this is a book with visuals, not the other way around. It’s not a book to dip in and out of chapters, this is a visual history of the film that ranks as the greatest American animated film of all time, rated by the AFI. It deserves your full attention and to be read as an intricate study of one of the most genre-defining film events of the last century.