In the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series we invite everyone to choose their favorite shot from a movie and explain why. This week's film is the impossibly influential Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) which launched Disney's feature animation empire. Given that the Snow White myth is the subject of two new films Mirror Mirror (reviewed) and the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsmen (interview tease) we thought it was time to take a look way back.
So Heigh Ho Heigh Ho, it's off to work we go.
When I think of Snow White these days my first thought is no longer the movie itself but my first trip to Disney World just three years ago with friends. On the last day of the lengthy trip my friends realized I hadn't been to the part of the park that had the oldest rides, the ones that were considered more for children and it turned out to be my favorite part. My absolutely favorite ride was Peter Pan (such gorgeous dioramas) but I remember Snow White best because I was startled by the nightmarish imagery. This is for children?
In my last two subsequent screenings of Disney's first classic, it all made sense. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) is much more adult in its terror than modern animated films ever dare to be, raising knives and clubs at its heroine, threatening her with non-consensual heart surgery, and throwing her into a haunted forest. It repeatedly threatens her with warped and clawed hands whether they're from trees, shadows, or evil queens disguised as old crones.
So it only seemed right that the iconic shot I'm choosing as best pans diagonally down from gnarled hands to a smoother one, the fairest of them all in point of fact.
Witch: Don't let the wish grow cold!
Snow: Ohhhh. I feel strange.
Witch: Her breath will still
Her blood congeal...
Though the entire scene is filled with implied terror this shot actually averts its gaze demurely the way the film doesn't in other scenes, unexpectedly making Snow White's poisoning by apple much scarier. Our focus here is entirely on the evil Queen's evil as it were, as her breathing and hand motions and whispering all ecstatically await Snow's demise. It's very creepy and makes Snow's collapse feel not just terrible but inevitable.
In order to live happily ever after, we close with a happier moment. My favorite shot in the film if not my choice for "best" comes in the film's very first minutes as Snow sings "♪ I'm wishing... (I'm wishing) for the one I love ♫" and listens to her own voice echoing back to her. It's an unexpected image (who thought to shoot from the well's point of view?) and it's also richly prophetic. When I see this shot I think of the movie and character echoing ever after in cinema through every princess, every "I Want" song and every fairy tale fantasy. It started everything and ripples still.
Heigh Hoooooooo ♫ It's Off to Blogs You Go...
In honor of Happy, Sleepy, Bashful and the like, we're giving these blogs dwarf names befitting their awesome choices for best shot. Click around to see why I chose these names.
- "Shiny" (Animation Revelation)
- "Flirty" (Cinesnatch)
- "Fabu" (Awww, the Movies)
- "Slippery" (Antagony & Ecstacy)
- "Dainty" (Okinawa Assault)
- "Juicy" (The Tomas Experience)
- "Bitchy" (Dial P For Popcorn)
- "Dreamy" (Encore Entertainment)
- "Grumpier" (Serious Film)
- "Thirsty" (Film Actually)
- "Moody" (Pussy Goes Grrr)
- "Vanity" (The Film's The Thing)
- "Purity" (Movies Kick Ass)
Next on "Hit Me"...
April 18th Serenity (2005) and/or "Firefly" (2002)
With two Joss Whedon related movies about to hit theaters (The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods) let's look at his feature film directorial debut. If you've never seen Firefly, the series on which this is based you can substitute the tv pilot for the feature if you want (one time only!). Both are available on Instant Watch.
April 25th Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
I've been itching for Gong Li lately and rather shockingly I've never seen this major film in her career. Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.
May 2nd Pariah (2011)
I thought we'd do something brand new on DVD (we never do that!). Mostly because I'd like more people to see this moving LGBT indie.