Compare the original tale by the Brothers Grimm with Disney’s film from 1937. Highlight a few differences and similarities. Why did Disney divert from the original version of the tale? What were the reasons? Consider the time when the film was made and also Walt Disney's own story.
The 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs includes a major element that the 1812 Grimm tale does not, the element of music and singing. Music intensifies a situation and adds more drama than if the scene did not have music. Think of the shower scene from the movie Psycho. That screechy violin track is famous because it adds so much suspense to the scene. Now imagine that without music.
The music in Snow White is iconic in the same way. Everyone knows the dwarfs’ song that they sing on the way to and from work. Without music the film would be less engaging and boring to watch. The dwarfs themselves add another layer to the Disney film that the Grimm tale lacks. In the original tale the dwarfs are unnamed and act in unison, there is no difference between the first and the seventh. In the Disney film, each dwarf has a name, a different outfit, and a unique personality. Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, and Dopey are more memorable than the Prince in the film, who only appears in the beginning and final scenes. The dwarfs drive the plot forward and act as Snow White’s guardians, trying to protect her from the evil Queen.
Walt Disney also used the film as an opportunity to showcase his greatness. He refused to give credit to his fellow animators and if he had to acknowledge them, they were in smaller negligible print while his name was on the first still in large letters-“WALT DISNEY”. He often changed and manipulated the tales to fit his message and agenda, discarding the original. Animation was viewed as the sole focus of the film, to showcase Disney’s impeccable talent. The actual plot came second. To Disney, these films were not about bringing the magic to everyone, he had an ulterior motive to get the audience to see how wonderful and talented he is.