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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 8, 2008
I recall being a child and listening to the record version, based on the movie. Actually, the record may have been the original movie, full length, put on a record. If it was edited and shortened, they certainly left in the best parts.

IMPORTANT INFO FOR POTENTIAL BUYERS: Several versions of this exist on VHS and/or DVD. The one you want is the one with Sandra Dee, Tommy Kirk and (as much as you may hate this part) the voice of Art Linkletter just before the movie starts. Why? Because that is the definitive version, the one you may recall from childhood if you are a Baby Boomer and the one that endures the test of time.

Not a typical Disney type of film, the movie and soundtrack contains all the basic plot outlines of The Snow Queen (two young children, a boy and girl fall in love until the evil Snow Queen hardens the heart of one) but it isn't overly prettified for children. I was absolutely entranced by both the film and music as a child and the clearly Russian flavor of the music, very romantic. Some of the animals have European accents. Patty McCormack (yes, the same child star who appeared in The Bad Seed) does a tour de force performance as Angel, the child torn between evil and good. Sandra Dee makes a fine Gerta.

When she sings the very lovely "Do What Your Heart is Feeling" I am still swept with nostalgia. It is a bittersweet song with lyrics that go, "Do what your heart is feeling...what is the point concealing...but do it while you're young...go after the one you love, he needs you..but do it, don't wait". Seeing these lyrics, stripped of musical background and put on the page, I realize how impossible it is to describe the plaintive quality of Sandra Dee's voice as she sings these words, the yearning and pain. I can only urge you to see the movie and catch the performances of her, Tommy Kirk, Patty McCormack and many others. The Snow Queen comes across as formidable as well, truly cold and heartless, never yielding. This isn't for very young children (or use your judgment about that).

This is a classic film but I am admittedly biased. I see it through waves of nostalgia and memories of kiddie matinees at the movie theatre, feet stuck to the floor (usually due to some candy tossed around by various children), entranced by the story of The Snow Queen.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2013
Assuming you are looking for the Russian animated (1957), dubbed into English version featuring the voices of Sandra Dee and Tommy Kirk, preceded by a live action introduction featuring Art Linkletter, the one that used to play so often on TV in pre-VCR days, that is. This version still sends shivers down my spine with its incredibly moving depiction of heroine Gerda's unstoppable quest to free her playmate Kay from the Snow Queen's clutches, a dedication that inspires almost everyone (and everything) she meets into similar efforts to help her. If you ever saw it, you know this; if you never saw it, you owe yourself (and your children) a viewing.

The good news is that you've found it right here from Osiris Entertainment (2009): The Snow Queen, which is essentially identical to the Westlake Entertainment Group (2004) version here: The Snow Queen, except that the Osiris version comes in a proper DVD box, not a flimsy cardboard sleeve. In addition The Snow Queen Plus Bonus Features contains this version along with several other things.

(Amazon has unfortunately grouped together the reviews of several different versions of The Snow Queen so before purchasing make sure to follow the links provided in this review in order to get the version you actually want.)

The bad news is that the print is in pretty sad shape: scratched, spliced, and so dark that the nighttime scenes are all but invisible. The soundtrack also has a lot of glitches, but wait, there's more.

The good news is that the film was recently restored, and this Films by Jove (2006) version is available here: The Snow Queen - Golden Antelope - Bench - Cyclist - Fence along with four other animated films also directed by Lev Atamanov with the original Russian soundtracks and English subtitles. Although the restoration isn't as perfect as you might have expected these days, the biggest improvement is that the nighttime scenes are quite clearly visible in their entirety.

The bad news is that the English dubbed soundtrack was NOT made available, not even as an option! IMHO this was an inexcusable lapse, particularly given the concerns of those involved over income being lost to public domain editions like the one I'm recommending instead. Well, if they'd had the sense to include the English dubbed soundtrack (preferably restored), along with the Art Linkletter intro, the montage accompanying Sandra Dee's song "Do It While You're Young", and the English Opening and Closing Credits with the title song (all preferably restored) as options, who would buy a PD version ever again? Now, anyone looking for the version they remember has no choice but to do so!

Discotek Media was faced with a similar problem when they reissued a trio of Japanese animated classics that also used to play regularly on TV in Fred Ladd English dubbed versions: Horus, Prince of The Sun (Little Norse Prince),The Wonderful World of Puss 'N Boots, and Animal Treasure Island. Besides offering the original Japanese soundtracks with subtitles, they also give you the option of watching the pristine restored film prints with restored versions of the old English dubbed soundtracks. Only a fool would buy a public domain or pirated version of these films now!

Note: If, like me, you were a little surprised when you first learned that this film was Russian not Japanese animation, it turns out there just might be a reason. It seems that a young Japanese animator who was discouraged and ready to quit and do something else went to see this film in a theater and came out truly re-inspired. The name of this young man whose future animation work was almost lost forever?

Hayao Miyazaki.

That's why his Studio Ghibli has released a DVD of the restored version with Japanese subtitles here: The Snow Queen.

Note: The 2-disc version of Fairytale Adventures from TGG Direct, the one that says "9 Hours of Animated Films" on the cover, turns out to contain a different print of this film on its second disc, without the Linkletter intro, without the annoying audio and video glitch at the beginning, but also without the entire sequence with the robbers! Not recommended.
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on February 7, 2007
"Snezhnaya koroleva' (1957) aka "The Snow Queen" directed by Lev Atamanov is a beautiful animated movie of my childhood that I'd seen dozens times back in Moscow even before we had a color TV. It is creative, colorful, sometimes dramatic and intense, and always poetic and moving Russian adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of voyages "The Snow Queen". Seeing it last night after such a long time together with my husband, we both agreed that this is one of the timeless classics. This story of the devoted heart of a little brave girl and the friendship and love which are above everything and are worth to fight for and to go to the end of the world, will never get old. Two best voices of Soviet stage and cinema participated in the narrating of "The Snow Queen", Maria Babanova - The Snow Queen and Yanina Zhejmo - Gerda. Zhejmo was absolutely charming as Cinderella in the Russian adaptation "Zolushka" (1947) which is also one of my all time favorites.

The film was released on DVD by the company "Films by Jove" with the original Russian soundtrack and English subtitles and is available from the company's site. Four more excellent films by Lev Atamanov are included on the DVD: "Golden Antelope", the Indian fairy tale and three short animations, "Bench", "Cyclist", and "Fence" adapted from the cartoons of Herluf Bidstrup, celebrated Danish artist, famous for his comics, humorous drawings, series of graphical anecdotes, and caricatures.
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on April 27, 2006
I have only recently discovered this animated classic and this DVD provided me with my first viewing. Westlake Entertainment have put together a good DVD release of `The Snow Queen', with an animated menu and scene selection as well as a quality cover.

The quality of the transfer is not great. However, this is to be expected considering the treatment that the public domain print would have received over the decades. The majority of the film is very dark and grainy and the soundtrack jumps occasionally. This serves to severely date the picture, making it appear much older than it is. However, this should not detract from the beauty of this animated feature. It is still very enjoyable to watch and can be appreciated by both adults and children.

The live action introduction with Art Linkletter could be considered by today's standards to be overly corny, but I believe it serves as an interesting example that gives viewers a look at how children's entertainment was presented almost 50 years ago.

This is a remarkable movie, with exceptional animation, great vocal performances and a wonderful soundtrack. I could only imagine how beautiful it would look with proper restoration.

*UPDATE* Osiris Entertainment's February 2010 DVD release of 'The Snow Queen' uses the same print that was used to make the Westlake Entertainment DVD.
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on December 14, 2005
This reviewer's criteria for awarding 5 stars is "BUY THIS NOW! If you might loan it to a friend, (who may 'forget' to return it,) buy several now!" And not the hokey introduction by Art Linkletter and kids (Look! There's Toby Tyler!) nor the even hokier introduction and narration by "Old Dreamey" a/k/a "the Prince of Dreams" and his magic "slumberella" such that, a la Pam Ewing, the story is presented as a dream Hans Christian Anderson had, the sometimes poor condition of the visual and audio on this re-found 60's jewel, nor the absence of bonus features can dissuade this reviewer from giving this DVD 5 shining stars. The animation draws one in and the voicing by another Disney original staple - Tommy Kirk; and Sandra Dee, and June Foray (voice of Chatty Cathy when we pulled the ring string, and Rocky the Flying Squirrel) remain as captivating and magical as I remember. This, "It's a Wonderful Life," and "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" are essential ingredients to my Christmastime viewing.
Parents beware - this version of "the Snow Queen" may not be suitable for very young viewers - those afraid of the Wicked Witch of Western Oz and her flying monkeys may be equally fearful of the evil Snow Queen dispatching her fiendish snowflakes. /TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer
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on July 3, 2005
This is the Universal-International release of Soyuzmultfilm's classic with Art Linklater's awkward intro tagged onto the beginning. While the dark splicey PD print leaves much to be desired, this is what I saw in a kiddie matinee showing in the 60s. The production holds up wonderfully, and I find Frank Skinner's lush orchestral score preferable to the electronic keyboard variet used on the print used in PBS' version (also available on dvd) A decent no frills edition.
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on November 3, 2006
This movie is a treasured memory from my childhood; along with The Grinch and It's a Wonderful Life, The Snow Queen was a Christmas TV staple until it just vanished. Finding it 30 years later was tough, but worth it. This Russian film is wonderful family viewing (although the sappy Art Linkletter intro is skippable), and you almost have to forgive the extremely poor quality of the print (which includes obivous missing chunks) and awful sound. Still, the story of the indomitable Gerda searching for her kidnapped brother rings as true as ever, and is also a welcome "girl empowerment" tale. Of course, it's harder to square the fact that the evil character is yet another dangerously cold woman ala almost every Disney baddie, but at least this one is drawn more along the lines of C.S. Lewis' queen. If you're willing to overlook the technical difficulties with this DVD, you'll find a wonderful story that has not faded with time.
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on January 27, 2014
This was my childhood favorite movie, I was elated to see it available on DVD I watched this EVERY Christmas season until my VHS tape wore out, so glad o ordered this DVD , great quality, and now I gave my childhood memory forever,
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on November 22, 2008
My daughter got involved in a very controlling relationship. It seemed to change the core of who she was. I tried to explain the story of the Snow Queen. I remembered this movie about the ice splinter getting in the little boys eye, it froze his heart and he was under the spell of the Snow Queen. He became a different kind of person and forgot all about those who truly loved him. But it was that same love that didn't give up on him that eventually melted that ice splinter and he was back to his old self. I purchased the movie that I must have seen over 40 years ago.
I like to think, though quite simply done and a bit antiquated, that she got the point somehow. All I know is the Snow Queen is gone and the splinter melted.

Thanks Amazon
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on April 6, 2014
For a 'disney-fied', somewhat faithful yet believable adaptation of the snow queen, watch the 2012 version. Or for a more character-driven alternate universe where the entire book never happens in the first place, watch Disney's "Frozen". But if you want an absolutely faithful version where everyone in Europe rampages around with their eyes and hearts impaled by brainwashing wasps made of a demon mirror that was cast out of heaven... that version doesn't exist (unless there's some obscure Russian miniseries I don't know about), but this is as good as you're gonna get. Kai has his descent into heartlessness, Gerda has the power to melt this affliction everywhere she goes, and nothing in this movie is out of place for purists.

As a film, it has high production value in the animation, the music doesn't sound out of place geographically, and the voices are adorable. However, the useless first ten minutes should have been replaced with something to explain the origin of the snowbees and the Queen. And for the rest of the film that is faithful, nothing is tooled with to make the odd magical situations feel plausible or give the characters any dimension. There's even a song near the beginning that's comically upbeat considering the morbid story they're telling, and that awkward, campy tone carries through the rest of the film. There is a touching scene in the middle that sums up the tone and meaning of the folktale pretty closely, though, when the youngest of a group of bandits frees all her tormented animals after Gerda works her charm, and some of them actually come back to console her. But then there's that ending. From what I understand of the story,(spoilers) she does literally pray for spring and it melts away all her problems. So don't get me wrong, this is almost impossible source material to handle cinematically, but it still seems rushed. There's no prayer, no buildup, no epic beams of light blasting from Gerda's magically incorruptible heart, no reasoning with the queen to melt her heart with kind words, nothing. The queen just fades away like the film ran out of budget to animate anything else. If you can enjoy the camp as much as the parts that are genuinely good, it's worth a watch. Otherwise, watch that other Russian version who's only flaws are looking like a student film, too many fart jokes, and complete lack of snowbees.
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