Monday, November 29, 2010

Disney's Magic (Part 2)

The entrance to the exhibition 
The trip to the Dreams Come True exhibition was definitely worth it. I got to know more in depth about the behind the scenes stories about Walt Disney production. The start of the exhibition was an introduction to Walt Disney, the one important man behind all our childhood fantasies and dreams. Then it was a rather thorough exhibition about Silly Symphonies (1929-1939), which consisted of The Ugly Duckling, The Three Little Pigs and The Piped Piper. There was even the a part of the cartoon of the 3 Symphonies I've listed above on screen to be watched, which is sadly only about 5 minutes each. But still, it was entertaining and fun! The exhibition also displayed sketches of the animation and a detailed explanation to how the cartoon was developed and produced.

The movie poster in 1937
Next, the exhibition focused on one of the most famous Disney movie ever made, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It certainly amazed me how old the popular cartoon was! The movie was finally put on the big screen in 1937, after more than 3 years of production. As during that period, cartoons only averaged about 6 minutes, thus Snow White was considered by Hollywood as "Walt Disney's Folly". However, the truth was exactly the total opposite, Snow White was a big hit, and still lives as part of our childhood  memory even till 2010. Snow White has become so famous that it's been replayed over the years and I believe that the story of Snow White that most of us are familiar with is the Disney's version. Contrary to the original story of Snow White by Brothers Grimm, the evil queen has a different and earlier death. The Brothers Grimm version has the evil queen put on heated iron shoes and danced to death as she attended the neighbouring country's prince wedding (not knowing that the bride was Snow White). Another main difference is the way Snow White was awaken. In the Disney movie, Snow White was awaken by a kiss from the prince but in the Grimms version, the poision apple dislodge from Snow White's throat (leading Snow White to wake up) when the prince servants stumble during the process of moving her coffin.

There would be no compromise on money, talent or time. We did not know whether the public would go for a cartoon feature, but we were darned sure that audiences would not buy a bad cartoon feature. - Walt Disney 

So does everyone still remember the names of the seven dwarfs? Disney production team came up with thousands of suggestions and finally decided the final seven which are Doc, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy and Dopey.  Another interesting fact that I knew from the exhibition was about the evil queen. Quite to my surprise, the image of the queen was actually inspired by the famous actresses of that time. Wow, if I was the actress I have no idea whether I feel privileged that my image was selected as the queen or disappointed as the character of the queen is hated by millions of children worldwide and for centuries.

The seven Dwarfs
The evil and jealous Queen

 Having grown up, after reading all the information and watching a short clip of Snow White again from the exhibition, one fact that struck me was how fortunate Snow White was when she clean the dwarfs' house. How good would it be to have animals volunteer and help clean the whole house and what Snow White basically does is just monitor the animals and sweep the floor a bit while singing with her sweet voice. If that can happen in reality, I bet I'll learn whole-heartedly how to sing perfectly (Just kidding, there's robots now that can do the job). Another fact that struck me was how iconic Snow White's dress had become. If anyone (usually girls) wears a dress with a blue top and yellow skirt sewn together, which has no collars and round sleeves with red flattened ovals, the first impression we have is that person is trying to dress up as Snow White, and it doesn't even matter if the person have a terrible voice, long hair or is tanned. Apart from that, I was totally amazed by the animators during that time. Being a not-so-talented artist, I could never come up with the images drawn by them, plus all the drawings for Snow White were hand-drawn. Oh, I just can't imagine how much time and effort is invested to complete this animation, no wonder it took more than 3 years!

Snow White and the animals
No matter what, I still like Snow White as it has a happy ending, where the princess is with a prince charming and that the good reins over evil. And lastly, I really like the ending of the movie where "they lived happy ever after" (though life's much more complicated than that).

Snow White and her Prince charming

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