Although there is a plethora of very popular Disney characters of very different natures, some can be classed as falling into certain categories, based on a main trait they share. Such is the group of “Disney princesses”, always strikingly beautiful, intelligent, kindhearted and innocent. These heroines are taken from timeless children’s fairytales and turned into protagonists of very successful animations. Among them are Cinderella, Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Snow White, the main character in a beloved Brothers Grimm fairytale.
The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs animation was released in 1938, being the most successful production released throughout the whole year. It was based on the well-known story of a charming princess named Snow White due to her unusually white skin, who suffered the envy and persecution of her diabolical step-mother, the Queen. Whilst Snow White is young and innocent, and equally unaware of her beauty, the Queen is obsessed not only with the girl’s looks but with her own, as she’s responsible for the famous vanity rhyme “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”, which she compulsively repeats before her magical mirror every day, to see if she still has a rival in the princess. If most cartoon villains limit themselves to petty injustices caused to the people they envy, this malicious character is a bit more grisly, as she orders one of her subjects to take Snow White to the forest and kill her, bringing back her heart as proof.
As expected, the servant is reluctant to do so and advises the girl to run deeper into the forest and find a new home. After a tiring journey, she reaches the cottage of the seven dwarfs, named Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Grumpy and Happy, presumably according to their personalities and tempers. She is made to feel welcome and remains there, doing the house work for the dwarfs, who work in a mine and have a habit of singing almost constantly.
The Queen however, after receiving a pig’s heart instead of the princess’s, decides to murder her herself, by hiding under the appearance of a poor old woman. When the Queen appears at the cottage in disguise, against the dwarfs’ good advice, Snow White’s generosity drives her to invite the beggar inside and offer her some water, which is when the Queen shows her a poisoned apple and convinces her to take a bite. The dwarfs arrive too late to stop her from collapsing unconscious, and think she has died, but even though they cannot revive her, they chase the witch off the edge of a cliff and she falls to her death, being devoured by vultures.
In the final part of the animation, the dwarfs mourn Snow White, as they had gotten fairly attached to her, and prepare her funeral. But before they have a chance to bury her, a prince arrives and is stunned by the beauty of the young woman lying in the casket, and stricken with grief because she was dead. As he kisses her, Snow White is brought back to life and marries the prince, bringing the story to the expected happy end.
One of the traditionally created productions exemplifying the ceaseless battle between good and evil, where (as only in fairytales) good always prevails, even with the passing of time, this animation has remained one of the favourites of children from all generations.