Sometimes things ain’t seem like they used to be.
So the other day Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was on TV, and since I haven’t seen this thing in literally 30 years, I thought I would give it a go and see if it holds up.
First off, it is weird. This is not too surprising, coming from the Brothers Grimm. In fact the real fairy tale is much more violent and disturbing than the movie, but that is expected. But the strangeness of the film goes beyond the source material. Why the mirror would consider this pubescent little girl more ‘fair’ than the red hot queen is a bit perverted. Also, as stated many times over, the fact that she is so trusting of this septet of strange dwarves is a bit perplexing. In fact, Snow White is way too trusting of everyone. When the Queen disguised herself as an old crone, she easily sidled next to Snow White and instead of exercising any caution, invites her in! Why would she do this? She has lived a life of misery with her step-mom, who made her do janitorial work her entire life. You would think this would break her spirit, or at least make her think twice about being so open to others. Instead of being a harden and jaded soul, she is still a naive nit.
Secondly, the voice dubbing is….well….not good at all. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it was made in 1937 and was well ahead of its time visually. But not ahead in terms of sound. The songs are garbled, the voice acting is weak, and the characters do not even move their lips to the sound. Boooo!!! As a side note, Pinocchio came out 3 years later and did a much better job at dubbing.
But these are things have have been discussed before. However there is a third issue that I have never seen talked about with anyone in regards to this film: it’s about the dwarves.
I get that each one has a characteristic that is distinguishable. I mean there is the leader (Doc), a grumpy one (Grumpy), a happy one, (Happy), etc. OK, fine. Even though the names of the dwarves are oddly on-the-nose, I can deal with this. Hell, there is even a semi-retarded dwarf that cannot even grow a beard. A little heavy-handed, but OK.
I have known people that are dopey, sleepy, happy, grumpy, bashful, and doctors. But I have never known anyone I would describe as ‘sneezy’. That is not a thing. Ever. Not in 2017 and not in 1937.
Why make a ‘sneezy’ character? Is this something Walt Disney has seen, or can relate to in some way? Why not another human trait, like ‘Vanity’, ‘Handy’, ‘Hefty’ or any other type of more reasonable characteristic. The Smurfs did it, why not Disney?
There is nothing enjoyable about being around someone who is sneezy. All they are doing is tossing around their bodily fluids constantly, heightening the probability of getting you sick and becoming a ‘sneezy’ too. And to be Sneezy? What an awful fate. Always having an irritation in your nose, never can kick that tickle, so much so that becomes your name? A sneeze travels 100 MPH and the snot can travel up to 30 feet; continuous sneezing at least will hurt you badly and may actually kill you.
Is Snow White a classic film that should still be revered? Ehh, I can see both sides. It has beautiful animation and really started the industry of full-length animation movies. But it is dated and not sure it ages as well as other early Disney efforts. But whatever side you swear your allegiance to, there is no question that Sneezy is the worst dwarf ever in the history of dwarves!