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Disney’s Enduring Masterpiece
Edward Oxford

Even after half a century, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” continues to enchant moviegoers by the millions. It is a story of magic, told by magicians.

KLIEG LIGHTS. Limousines. Reporters. And, on the marquee of the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood — back on that crisp evening of December 21, 1937 — the lights spell out the title of a new motion picture: Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

More than ten thousand fans are on hand. One hundred and fifty policemen. An orchestra of forty.

Star-watchers glimpse illustrious first-nighters—tuxedoed, silver- foxed—as they stride up the red carpet leading into the movie palace. Charlie Chaplin. Judy Garland. John Barrymore. Marlene Deitrich. Gary Cooper. Katherine Hepburn. Cary Grant. Mary Pickford. Charles Laughton. Ginger Rogers. Shirley Temple. The royalty of Tinseltown, come to see the first public appearance of quite a special princess. And, not least among them, a slim, shy-eyed, dark-mustached dreamer by the name of Walt Disney, accompanied by his wife, Lillian.

At 8:45 pM., the lights in the theater dim. The curtain rises. And the lilting "One Song" fills the vast darkness. .. .

The night would be—for Snow White, for her prince, for the dwarfs, even for the wicked witch, and most certainly for their creator and his many helpers—a cinematic triumph. A night when a hard-eyed Hollywood audience would cheer, scene after scene. A. night in which a motion picture legend would be born.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as the 1,500 viewers at its premiére were quick to perceive, turned out to be much more than a movie. Its 250,000 drawings, its timeless story, its golden music all somehow equated to splendid fantasy. To love. To the remembered joy of being alive.

The picture, in what seemed a twinkling, won worldwide acclaim. Reviewers—even the most steelhearted—were reduced to paeans of praise: ". . . perfectly delightful screen entertainment.” ". . . there has never been anything in the theater quite like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” ". . . exquisite imagery, delicate charm, breathtaking beauty." ". . . It has excitement, drama, wit, artistry, and a most potent magic.” ««_ . an inspired and inspiring work.”’ "Seeing it once is not enough. .. .””

And they meant it.



Source type Magazine
Volume 22.8
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 10
Pages pp. 30-39


Id 7150
Availability Free
Inserted 2023-02-18