on October 2, 2001
I was extremely excited to receive this DVD.... Upon opening it, one gets the feeling that it is truly a special edition. The packaging is very nice: the DVD box is sturdy with two openings for each disk. The pamphlet inside the DVD is gorgeously produced and very helpful.
My first impression is that Disney has spent much time making this DVD user-friendly. There is an abundance of directions and drawings showing you what is on the disk and how to get there. Since there are two disks and a KINGDOM of information to pour through, these directions are very welcome (even to this seasoned DVD-viewer!)
Disney pulls out some familiar faces to make the experience as warm as possible: Disney himself appears in various footage; Angela Lansbury narrates the documentary and provides a "tour" of the disks; Michael Eisner shows up; and Barbra Streisand sings a specially recorded version of "Some Day My Prince Will Come".
SNOW WHITE, the movie, looks gorgeous and, although old fashioned, is quite wonderful. SNOW WHITE, the double-disk, is a lot of information to wade through. I am amazed at the amount of behind-the-scenes film that exists! Disney must have suspected that he was creating a classic - he filmed every aspect of it! I especially enjoy the HALL OF ART section. There are 3 halls of various story art (i.e. "The cottage"; "The castle"; "the Forest"; etc.) Although initially I found it hard to move from hall to hall, I eventually figured it out. The animated HALLS are extraordinary and the art that "hangs" there is incredible -- various renderings and attempts at bringing the story and locales of SNOW WHITE alive. It's even more incredible that Disney Co. held on to these papers for all these years.
Well, in case you can't tell, I highly recommend the special SNOW WHITE disks. You will spend days looking at everything that is included -- or you can opt to spend an hour and a half viewing the original,gorgeous film that started the Disney empire....
It's so wonderful to live in a time when Disney's strange behavior of taking their classics off the market can be circumvented by great Internet marketers like Amazon. I was able to buy this 5 Star Disney Princess classic recently for my young princess through one of Amazon's third-party sellers. And without that opportunity, my little princess may have outgrown Snow White by the time Disney released it again.
Let me just say that my little one was absolutely captivated by Snow White, and to think that she would be deprived by Disney itself from seeing it at her perfect age is criminal.
The story is familiar enough to any parent, so I won't go on about that other than to say that of all the Disney Princess classics, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty have some scenes that might scare a young princess under the age of 5.
But you should take advantage of purchasing Snow White or any of the other "off-the-market" Disney princess classics like Beauty and the Beast now via one of this site's resellers if you have a little princess of your own that might not appreciate it as much when Disney decides that it's time.
And indeed, you will enjoy Snow White or any of the other Princess classics as thoroughly as your young one.
Side Note on Resellers: Beware of exorbitant reseller prices; renting may be a better option if available. Also beware of REGION 2 resales; Region 2 DVDs will not play in most US DVD players. Look for Region 1 US Amazon resellers.
Side-by-side, I watched the Blu-ray disc of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs along with the regular DVD included in the Diamond Edition released in October 2009. Was the contrast between the Blu-ray and the original movie obvious? Yes. But, is the enhancement an improvement?
I am all for progress but as I watched the two versions together, although my eyes were drawn to the Blu-ray version for the vivid colors and clarity, there were definite problems with the changes. The colors are so bright that the misty original now looks like a current cartoon/animated feature instead of an old classic -- cheapened by the process rather than enriched. The original is filmed with a diffused gauzy sensibility in muted colors in both the background and foreground - a perfect balance and an expected setting for a fairy tale with a lovely princess, dwarfs, a wicked queen and a handsome prince.
In places on the disc, the Blu-ray contains inconsistent color enhancement. One scene - Snow White and the woodland creatures cleaning the dwarfs' home is a good example of the uneven application of the color saturation. The characters are harshly colorized in comparison to the subtle background - to the degree that it reminded me of a colorized classic black and white film where the backgrounds often remain in black and white and only the foregrounds are tinted. The dwarfs' mine scene is another example of the problem. So, parts of the movie are noticeably out-of-balance. The original looks like a work of art and the new version looks, although vividly colored, of lesser over-all quality and depth.
It is great to have both versions, and the extras are terrific, but sometimes "improvements" this drastic have the opposite affect and end-up detracting.
The home video BD/DVD release of the latest home video version of Disney’s 1937 classic full length animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” , will not be released until February 2nd, but – as a journalist – I was provided with an advance screener in exchange for an objective review. You’ve probably seen the film so there is no reason to spend time on it. It’s a CLASSIC. But this is first time it is available on Digital HD and “Disney Movies Anywhere” and they added about 30 minutes of NEW bonus material, so that’s what I’ll concentrate on here.
If you don’t already own the “Diamond Edition” release (from 2009) you will find literally HOURS of bonus featurettes here. These run more than the 83 minute length of the film. If you already have the Diamond edition, here’s what’s new:
1) A four minute “in Walt’s Words” short which has the audio of an interview with Disney in the 1960s melded with archival footage and stills.
2) A seven minute “Iconography” short which concentrates on three “artists/fashion n designers” who are Making money from “Snow White” tie ins. This is –honestly – a throw away, in my opinion.
3) A five-minute short on designing the characters with current Disney Animators paying tribute to the original artists.
4) A 4 ½ minute short (cross promoting Disney Channel star Sofia Carson) which gives you “7 Facts” you may not know about Snow White
5) “Snow White in 70 Seconds” – which “raps the plot” in – ACTUALLY – 61 seconds. (not sure why they call it “70 seconds”.
6) A 3 ½ minute “alternate sequence – using story boards for “the Prince Meeting Snow White”
The colors are bright and the transfers are great and – if you had your kids watching the previous disc, it’s probably scratched. So you “might want to upgrade”. If, like me, you don’t have the film on BD, you’ll get a lot for your money here with all the old and new bonuses.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
The Blu-ray looks fantastic. For this classic film from 1937 to look so vibrant, so spectacular, so beautiful 72 years later is a testament towards Disney's restoration and remastering. The picture quality is absolutely pristine. The new lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is magnificent. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition" is highly recommended!
For Walt Disney, seeing a play back in 1916 of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" based on the fairty tale by the Brothers Grimm definitely made the producer to attempt something that has never been done before and that is to create a full-length color animated film.
Known for their "Silly Symphony" animated shorts, the 1937 animated film definitely silenced anyone who thought that Disney was not able to pull off a full-length animated feature. Even Walt Disney's wife thought that no one would want to watch a film that starred dwarfs but needless to say, the film that was called "Disney's Folly" by naysayers would receive critical praise and even demand by fans for a sequel. The film would be not only be a classic animated film which was honored by the American Film Institute as the "Greatest Animation of All Time". Even today, adjusted by inflation, the film is considered one of the top 10 money making films in America of all time.
In 2001, when the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was released on DVD, the DVD was one of the films that were known for its innovation, winning a "Video Premiere Award" for "Best Overall New Extra Features" and nominated for "Best DVD Menu Design" and "Best New, Enhanced or Reconstructed Movie Scenes".
But now in 2009, the film makes its High Definition entry on Blu-ray with 1080p High Definition picture quality and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound. Also, a Disney Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack (two Blu-ray discs and a DVD version of the film) which comes out on October 6, seven weeks before its Deluxe Two-Disc Classic standard definition DVD which will be released on Nov. 24th. It's also important to note that a limited edition collector's set will also be available
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" gets its 1080p High Definition transfer and its absolutely beautiful. Viewers can choose to watch the film in its original 4:3 (1:33:1) format and watch it with DisneyView featuring Tony Bluth's artwork on the side (for those who have widescreen televisions). According to the guide included with this release, restoration experts took full advantage of the newest breakthroughs of digital imaging technologies to produce this classic. The process took nearly a year of cleanup and scanning over 350,000 frames of the original 75-year-old negative. And the digital artists then removed dust and scratches from the cels.
The picture quality is absolutely beautiful for a film that is 72-years old. The restoration and remastering has removed all dust and scratches. I don't think I've seen any blemishes on video. The picture quality is absolutely beautiful as art backgrounds just look absolutely divine. I don't think I have realized how exquisite the backgrounds were, especially the amount of emotion that went into the animation. Picture quality for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition" is definitely magnificent and I look forward to seeing Disney continue this trend of remastering their classic animated films. As for DisneyView, similar to "Pinocchio", Toby Bluth's painted borders that are on the sides of the animation matches the animation quite fine and was definitely my preference over standard black bars.
As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is featured in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1.
Audio is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), the original mono presentation and also French and Spanish 5.1 DEHT restored original theatrical soundtrack. The film is dialogue and music driven with the soundtrack being front and center channel driven. Music is also featured during the surround and rear surround channels as well. Dialogue and music is crystal clear and understandable. During the more emotional sequences, such as Snow White running away from home in the forest, definitely makes the room quite immersive, albeit a short while but overall, a good use of utilizing the music of Snow White through all channels. There are other parts that really come through on all channels such as a shriek by Snow White coming clear from the rear surrounds which was quite nice (and surprising). Overall, a solid lossless audio soundtrack for a 72-year old animated film.
As for the audio of the accompanying DVD, the DVD comes with an English, French and Spanish 5.1 DEHT soundtrack.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French and Spanish.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition" is absolutely loaded with special features. In fact, I think this is the most special features I have ever seen for any video release of a film ever. Special features range from 1080p High Definition and 480i Standard Definition. Soundtrack is in English, French and Spanish 2.0. Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish. Also is a booklet including a navigational overview of the special features included on both Blu-ray discs.
Special features included are:
* Magic Mirror - Using the latest in Blu-ray technology, the iconic magic Mirror guides the audience through the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition features with ease, serving as the host for an incredibly immersive experience. The Mirror will recognize viewing patterns, knows where the audience has left off and will even suggest where to navigate next. This marks the first use of this technology in a Disney Blu-ray release and provides viewers with the control to personally create a customized Snow White experience.
* DisneyView - Disney's pioneering animated feature is brought to the modern era of widescreen high definition viewing by allowing the user to expand their viewing experience beyond the original aspect ratio of the film. Utilizing Disney Blu-ray technology, acclaimed Disney artist Toby Bluth was able to draw beyond the borders of the classic full frame cinema and fill the otherwise dark edges of the screen with beautiful custom imagery, giving audiences a new view of the animated classic favorite.
* About DisneyView - Disney artist Toby Bluth tells how the movie inspired him to create the superb DisneyView art.
* Backstage Disney - Snow White Returns - (8:44) - Visiting Disney's Animation Research Library and finding newly discovered storyboards for a Snow White featurette that was never made. Also, the popularity of the dwarfs.
* Deleted Scenes - Two scenes that were cut out of the film. "The Soup Eating Sequence" (4:07) and the "Bed Building Sequence" (6:23)
* Audio Commentary - Featuring rare recordings from Walt Disney discussing "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and audio commentary by animation historian John Canemaker.
* The Princess and the Frog Sneak Peek (7:45) - Featuring a brief sneak peek of the opening sequence of the upcoming Disney animated feature film "The Princess and the Frog" and an intro by Director/Writers Ron Clements and John Musker.
* "Someday My Prince Will Come" music video - (3:34) A music video featuring Tiffany Thornton (actress from Disney's "Sonny with a Chance").
* Family Play - Featuring the following games: What Do You See? (Decipher the Scrambled Image), Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Which Princess are you most like? - With BD-Live, a personal message from their favorite princess will then call them on the telephone), Jewel Jumble (Test your Matching Skills - Players put jewels from the dwarf's mine in the proper order.).
* Screen Saver - Viewers can activate screen saver and choose the delay (to go on around 5, 10 or 20 minutes).
* Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go - (1:01) A trailer of Disney File Disc.
* Backstage Disney: Hyperion Studios - Audiences are digitally transported to 1937 to discover first-hand Hyperion Studios, the original studio Walt Disney himself built where Snow White was conceived and developed. Viewers will virtually walk the halls of this historic landmark, experiencing life at Hyperion Studios in the 1930s. This lengthy, informative and brilliant"Backstage Disney" feature contains newly dimensionalized archival photos, never-before-heard animator recordings, archival transcripts and rare footage of Walt himself revealing how Disney's gifted filmmakers crafted the very first animated feature.Hours of footage of the original studio that Walt Disney and the animators worked at in creation of the early Disney shorts and their first animated feature film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Even the sub-menus have content and comments from the animators who worked at Hyperion Studios back then.
- The One that Started It All - (17:08) Disney's first attempt at a full-length animated feature film and how naysayers responded to the film.
- Family Business - (1:57) Wilfred Jackson talks about working at Hyperion Studios
- View Where it All Began - (11:41) The history of Hyperion Studios
* The Story Room - Ken Anderson and Frank Thomas would talk about working with Walt Disney for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- Five Bucks a Gag - (1:46) Discussions of how Walt Disney would pay $5 or $10 for people to submit their gags.
- In Walt's Words: The Huntsman - (3:28) Ron Clements talks about how Walt Disney's meetings were back then and how they differ from how meetings are done today's animated films.
- Walt's Night Prowls - (1:52) How Walt Disney would go through the staff's garbage cans and post on the board of what he thought about the things they threw away.
- Babes in the Woods (8:04) - Walt's interest in European stories and how "Babes in the Woods" was originally based on "Hansel & Gretel".
- Stories from the Stories Room - (1:14) A story of how the animators would have thumbtack targets.
- Gabby, Blabby and Flabby - (1:14) A list of names in consideration for the Dwarfs.
- Abandoned Concepts Gallery - Using your remote, you can see the various pictures in the abandoned concepts gallery. Nine pictures per page, seven pages total.
- Storyboard Art Gallery - Using your remote, you can see the various pictures in the abandoned concepts gallery. Nine pictures per page, 14 pages total.
* The Music Room
- David Hand's Dirty Trick - (1:18) How David Hand upset Walt Disney
- The Music in Show White - (6:14) Michael Glachino (composer of "Up") talks about the importance of music and the music in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- The Skeleton Dance - (6:02) John Musker talks about Silly Symphonies and introduces the first musical short titled "The Skeleton Dance".
- Music Room Host - (:48) How staff would work together in the music room back then for Disney's animated shorts.
* Art Department
- The Idea Man - (1:41) Original recordings from Disney staff as they talk about the talent of Albert Hurter.
- Creating the World of Snow White -(6:53) The authenticity of the Brothers Grimm tale through visual styling. A European style and influenced by artists from Europe who worked at Disney on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- "Music Land" - (10:15) - Michael Giaimo talks about Albert Hurter who drew quick sketches and would create hundreds and thousands and showcase expressions. Giaimo introduces the "Silly Symphonies" animated short - "Music Land".
- Visual Development Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the visual development gallery. Nine pictures per page, 17 pages total.
- Gustav Tenggren Art Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the art gallery. Nine pictures per page, two pages total.
- In Walt's Words: Cleaning the Cottage - (7:03) Eric Goldberg talks about Walt's favorite sketch artist. Featuring recordings of Walt Disney.
* Character Design- Ward Kimball talked about how Hurter's sketches would go to character designers.
- In Walt's Words: The Dwarfs - (5:49) John Musker introduces a re-enactment of the Dwarf meetings.
- Color Tests Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the color tests gallery with nine images per page, two pages total.
- Character Design Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the five sketches.
* Background and Layout - David Hand talks about the layout man.
- Setting the Stage - (4:04) - Don Hahn talks about staging in animation. Viewing original artwork from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- Layout Gallery -Using your remote you can view through the layout gallery. Nine pictures per page, 13 pages total.
- Backgrounds Gallery - Using your remote you can view through the background gallery. Nine pictures per page, three pages total.
* Animation Department
- Bringing Snow White to Life - (11:33) A featurette about the nine key animators of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- Goddess of Spring - (10:04) Andrew Stanton introduces the 1934 Silly Symphony animated short, "Goddess of Spring".
- The Animators' Favorite Animators - (2:00) Old recordings from the animators talking about their favorite animators that they worked with.
- Playful Pluto - (8:09) Paula Sigman introduces us to personality animation through the animated short "Playful Pluto".
- Blowing Off Steam - (2:17) Milt Kahl about animators would blow off steam and the pranks they would pull on other staff members.
- Animation Art Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the animation art gallery. Nine pages per page, five pages total.
* Live Action Reference - Ward Kimball talks about how they wanted to accomplish "believability" for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- Live Action Host - (:50) John Musker talks about rotoscoping and more.
- Drawing on Real Life - (1:37) Wilfred Jackson and others talk about how they would act things out for the storyboards.
- Live Action Reference Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the live action reference gallery which features nine photos per page, three pages total.
- Giving Voice to Snow White - (2:46) - How Adrianna Castelotti was cast for the role as Snow White.
* Sweatbox - David Hand talks about the sequences of the film and having to approve them in a sweatbox.
- Sweatbox Host - (:53) Eric Goldberg talks about the screening and approval of their work and progress in rooms with no ventilation aka the Sweatbox and how the name continues to be used today.
- Sweating it Out - (1:09) Ollie Johnston would talk about working with Walt Disney in the sweatbox.
- Deleted Bedroom Fight Scene - (2:26) A fight scene amongst the dwarfs that was cut out during a sweatbox session.
* Ink and Paint - Marcellite Garner talks about working at Hyperion.
- Life in the Nunnery - (1:59) Lucy and Isabelle Wheaton talk about how the women (inkers and painters) were not supposed to fraternized with the men at the animation department.
- Flowers and Trees - (8:31) Paula Sigman talks about the color pallet. The first technicolor and animated film to receive an Academy award - "Flowers and Trees".
- The Challenges of Ink and Paint - (1:41) Marcellite Garner talks about how women were not in the animation department at the time. How women began as painters and became inkers.
- Painted Cells Gallery - Using your remote, you can view the painted cells gallery. Nine cells per page, two pages total.
* Camera Department - Wilfred Jackson talks about the camera department.
- Decoding the Exposure Sheet - (6:47) Don Hahn talks about the exposure sheet and the making of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
- The Old Mill - (9:06) Introduction to the first animated short by Ron Clements using the multi-plane camera, "The Old Mill".
- Stories from the Camera Department - (2:04) Eustace Lycett talking about working in the camera department.
* Sound Stage
- Steamboat Willie - (8:02) Eric Goldberg talks about sound in Disney. Goldberg introduces the Disney short "Steamboat Willy".
- Walt's Early Masters of Sound - (1:51) Jim MacDonald talks about the sound stage.
* Walt's Office - Maurice Noble, background artist talks about Walt.
- Working with Walt - (1:48) Wilfred Jackson talks about working with Walt.
- Publicity Gallery - With your remote, you can view photos of the publicity for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Nine pictures per page, four pages total.
- Production Photos Gallery - With your remote, you can view production photos. Nine pictures per page, three pages total.
* Classic DVD Bonus Features (featured on Blu-ray)
- Animation Voice Talent - (6:18) A featurette with interviews with the animators, voice talent and Disney historians in regards to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". How Walt Disney wanted the right voice for the characters.
- Disney Through the Decades - (40 minutes) A featurette covering Disney from the 1930's all the way up to the 2000's but also chronicling each release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" through the decades. Each portion is introduced by celebrities such as Ming Na, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury and more.
- Dopey's Wild Mine Ride - A video game to save Snow White in which viewers make decisions with their remote control.
- "heigh-ho" Karaoke Sing Along - (2:42) In this portion, viewers can choose sing-along (with music and vocals) or karaoke (music only) for the song "heigh-ho".
The included DVD comes with the following special features:
* The Princess and the Frog Sneak Peek (7:45) - Featuring a brief sneak peek of the opening sequence of the upcoming Disney animated feature film "The Princess and the Frog" and an intro by Director/Writers Ron Clements and John Musker.
* "Someday My Prince Will Come" music video - (3:34) A music video featuring Tiffany Thornton (actress from Disney's "Sonny with a Chance").
* Audio Commentary with Walt Disney
When the first "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" Platinum Edition DVD was released back in 2001, I felt that the DVD set the bar of the amount of special features and how innovative a DVD can be through seamless branching technology. Needless to say, the DVD won several awards for its technology and so, when the announcement came that "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" will receive a Diamond Edition Blu-ray disc release, I was curious to see how Disney could top themselves because that release was already phenomenal.
I have since gone through the Blu-ray release and all I can say is...Wow!
Disney has not only topped the Platinum Edition release, they have set the bar once again for a Blu-ray release and the amount of content that can be included on a Blu-ray and let alone, how awesome they were able to digitally restore the classic 1937 film.
There was no doubt in my mind that Disney would give their first animated feature on Blu-ray the best treatment as possible and as this release is a celebration of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", it's also a celebration of the talent behind the film. Those who were involved with Hyperion Studios that created the "Silly Symphonies" animated shorts back in the early 1930's and using the technology at that time and building it, in order to create their first full feature animated masterpiece.
In fact, not only do we get audio of those who worked on the film but we also are treated with those classic animated shorts such as "Babes in the Woods", "The Skeleton Dance", "Music Land", "Goddess of Spring", "Playful Pluto", "The Old Mill", "Steamboat Willie" and more. And to make things even more impressive, these shorts are featured in HD (not cleaned up but still much better than their DVD counterparts). This Blu-ray release manages to capture the various process of the film from creating the story, the music, the art, the backgrounds, the layout, the animation, the live action references, decisions at the sweatbox meetings, ink and paint and how women were involved in the animated process at the time, the camera department, soundstage, etc.
So much is included on both Blu-ray discs in terms of special features, so much went into restoring this film, that this release is one, if not the top video releases of all time. I have no doubt in my mind that probably ten years from now, this Blu-ray will be highly revered for its content.
I know that many people own the 2001 Platinum DVD Edition of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and are wondering if it's worth the double dip and the answer is YES! There is just so much included on the Diamond Edition, way more than the 2001 Platinum Edition. Also, if you are now wanting these classic Disney films in High Definition, its definitely worth the move to see this classic film in High Definiton. But I must say that you should not toss away your 2001 DVD edition because there are video clips such as the "Excerpt from The Story of Silly Symphony", "Excerpt from Tricks of Our Trade", "Camera Tests", "Abandoned Concepts", vintage audio (radio shows and spots are not included) and several songs and deleted scenes which are not included on this Diamond Edition release.
So, overall it's a no-brainer that "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition" is definitely worth it. For High Definition fans, the film looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray. And as mentioned, the sheer amount of content included in this release is absolutely incredible.
I really don't have any negatives but me being nitpicky that it would have been nice to have certain special features such as the vintage radio/audio content , a few deleted scenes, songs and video clip excerpts from the 2001 Platinum Edition DVD included on the Diamond Edition. And personally, for me that is the only thing that prevents me from calling this release absolute perfection. There was one other thing and that is my Blu-ray discs came in a black DVD case, not the standard blue casing. I was told that there will be two releases (in different casing, not inc. the limited edition) with one in a blue Blu-ray case and another using black DVD casing in order to educate those new to Blu-ray.
I do think that Diamond Edition and the Platinum Edition are quite different in terms of presentation of special features and the goals were quite different of what kind of special features would be presented. With the Platinum Edition, its solely focused on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and in the Diamond Edition, there is more focus on giving the viewer the history of Walt Disney and the animators of how they got from Silly Symphonies to using their skills and technology in creating the first animated feature film. So, as I have said earlier in my review, this release is more or less, a celebration of those who worked on the film and giving recognition to those animators and staff members who took part in that film and the work that they did earlier, that became instrumental in creating Snow White.
So, overall...the Diamond Edition is just incredible when it comes to the actual digital restoration of this classic film and a release that is absolutely packed with special features. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition" is a solid release that raises the bar of what Disney is capable of in terms of content in a home video release. This is truly a magnificent release and is highly recommended!
on October 9, 2001
Disney's first "Platinum Edition" DVD is a terrific 2-disc set that every DVD fan should keep for all eternity. (I received an early, free copy from Amazon which allowed me to review it before the Oct 9th release date. This is a promotion by both Amazon and Buena Vista.) The THX-certified video transfer of the movie is blemish-free, almost always sharp, and has only an occasional softness perhaps due to age. Colors look splendid. The sound is clean and without a scratch, although some dialogs lack detail. The 5.1 audio remix provides mildly effective separation and bass for the background music. Otherwise, it is neither better nor worse than the included original mono soundtrack.
The supplements on the first disc includes a 40-minute retrospective documentary that actually serves as a nice introduction of the supplements on the second disc. For nearly every aspect mentioned in the documentary, the extras on the second disc cover at length. There is an audio commentary track by historian John Canemaker that includes contemporary recordings of Walt reminiscing about the difficulties and fortunes during the making of the film. The commentary reveals that Deanna Durbin was once considered for the voice of Snow White, but she was deemed "too old". Canemaker, besides introducing each of Walt's recordings, also provides excellent scene-by-scene analyses. After the movie is over, Michael Eisner introduces Barbara Streisand's decidedly more mature rendition of "Somewhere My Prince Will Come". The first disc also includes four games -- two for set-top players, two as DVD-ROM content.
The second disc contains a large amount of archival material of the movie. There are over 400 stills (all high-quality scans) of pencil tests, backgrounds, layouts, character designs, photos of the voice talents, photos of the production, the premiere, the 1937 pressbook, merchandise, and posters. There are quite a bit of video content as well. Notable is a new, nicely conceived, 40-minute segment called "Disney Through the Years"; it chronicles SNOW WHITE's theatrical releases in every decade (all trailers are shown) as well as Disney's accomplishments through the years. There are the original credit sequences with the RKO logo. There are deleted scenes that were fully animated and dubbed, one of which is a spectacular soup-eating scene. There are scenes that were conceptualized but were abandoned before animation, such as a dream sequence for one of Snow White's songs. There is a segment about the film's restorations in 1987, '93, and 2001. There are also vintage video of voice actors, models for live action references, techniques used in animation (two excerpts of Disney's "Tricks of our Trade" TV show are included).
And there is more! There is a half-hour live radio broadcast of the film's premiere in which many celebrities are interviewed. There is another half-hour radio program in 1938 in which several songs from the movie are performed. There are two 4-minute radio interviews of Walt Disney by Cecil B. DeMille, one of which was recorded on the eve of the premiere. There are eight radio commercials from the 50s and 60s. There are recordings of two deleted songs, one of which, we are told, were only recently discovered in Disney's archives. There are also text screens about the film's production and Walt's life and career. A nice inclusion is the English translation of the Grimms Brothers' "Snow White."
Future Platinum Edition DVDs will include BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ALADDIN, THE LION KING, BAMBI, THE JUNGLE BOOK, CINDERELLA, THE LITTLE MERMAID, LADY AND THE TRAMP and 101 DALMATIANS. It disappoints me that DUMBO will not be a Platinum Edition (it will come out Oct 21st as a "Gold Edition" DVD). It irks me even more that only one Platinum Edition DVD will be sold each year for only a limited time; thereafter it will be put on a TEN-YEAR moratorium. This will no doubt lead to buying frenzies, so run, don't walk, to your nearest personal computer and order this SNOW WHITE DVD right away. I do not oppose releasing one Platinum DVD per year, since I understand it takes time and care to produce these great discs. But I do oppose Disney's long-standing policy of putting their video releases on moratorium for long, long periods. Their rationale has been that if people own the movie on video, they may not want to see it in theaters. Not true. Seeing this spectacular SNOW WHITE DVD has actually increased my desire to see the film in a theater.
on September 5, 2001
Finally, finally, FINALLY, Disney is releasing one of their films with a format, media and extras that do it justice. I'm an adult (most of the time), with no kids, but I still can't buy and receive this DVD soon enough; I think it has to be the best value of the year. I don't personally really care for Disney's more recent efforts, but there's no denying the magic of its early works, and Snow White is the perfect title to kick off this incredible-sounding Platinum Collection.
One thing that I have never been a fan of, though, has been Disney's marketing and sales schemes (VHS and DVD alike), and these Platinum titles, while finally doing justice to both the movies and the fans, will likely just add to the overall confusion for most buyers. The Limited Edition and Gold Collection DVD's already released are somewhat substandard; they are generally devoid of any extra DVD features and often are shortchanged technically (lack of widescreen or surround audio when available, etc.). They certainly don't hold a candle to the upcoming Platinums, which features tons of extras, innovative and wonderful-sounding DVD navigation schemes, incredible color and sound enhancement, and pretty much everything a fan could hope for in a Disney DVD. However, this being Disney, not everything could be good news of course, and with the Platinum Editions, the bad news comes with the ridiculous marketing plan for them; 1 per year for the next 10 years (Snow White being the first of 10). Until Disney to come to its senses and shortens that moronic release timeframe, however, we at least can have a taste of the incredible potential in this line with this first release.
Whether you were lucky enough to have a childhood touched by the magic of the early Disney classics, or if, like me, you weren't that lucky but have the alternate fortune of experiencing these titles for the first time with these mind-boggling Platinum Editions, this should be the easiest, most no-brainer DVD purchase you make all year. And for those able to pre-order and get another DVD for free (Limited/Gold Edition, but still), the deal becomes almost criminal to pass up.
Thank you, Disney, for what you're giving fans with this wonderful new line of Platinum titles. (Now if you'll PLEASE just release them more often than over 10 years! :O )
on October 2, 2009
Disney has been most generous of late in guiding their customers toward the future by releaseing titles such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as reasonably priced combo packs that include both the DVD and Blu-ray discs. Since there are many who long to make the switch to high definition but haven't quite committed, these sets allow them to enjoy the experience on standard DVD for the time being, and then when they finally do go Blu-ray, they won't have to re-purchase the disc...they'll already be set, and finally see what they've been missing.
It's the Blu-ray I want to pay more attention to, because if you think this movie has looked glorious on past digital issues (and it certainly has), you are in for a revelation that will leave you smiling and speechless. If you didn't know, you'd never EVER believe this was a seven-decades plus old movie. It is absolutely pristine and spotless in a new 1080p transfer. The colors are more vibrant and beautiful than ever before, and all the incredible detail of Walt Disney's imaginative direction renders through with a clarity I would dare say not seen since 1937 movie screens.
After a quick comparison, I cannot tell you that the effort Disney put into the DVD presentation is worth any less than four stars in its own right, but such a comparison is inherently unfair. Or, at least it WOULD be, except that Disney gives us both in one package. The DVD is clean, clear, and colorful, and will certainly make fans without Blu-ray exceedingly happy...but again, Disney uses Blu-ray technology to the absolute apex of its capabilities here. There's nothing like seeing a true cinematic classic looking more stunning than ever before, and Disney and Blu-ray teamed together offer fans nothing less than that kind of experience.
Also, with this combo pack, you can opt for the experience your home theatre allows. With both discs, you can experience the film with a restored original mono soundtrack...intriguing for purists, but for me, you have to go with one of the digital surround remixes. On the DVD, you get the terrific Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and on the Blu-ray, a brand new uncompressed DTS 7.1 offering.
Disney's use of technology for these new mixes is respectful; they don't try and create an experience that Walt never intended, but by opening up the dynamic range, giving the bigger scenes a little more space on the front and middle stages, and using the subwoofer to add a little more menace to the scarier scenes, the original experience is not lost, but simply enhanced. And the musical orchestrations sound more vivid and lush than ever before...a wonderful audio presentation!
Going from Platinum to Diamond in status makes me wonder if there are enough precious and rare materials in the world for future Disney editions...but no matter. This Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack offers hours and hours of fun, informative and interactive features. I'm sure to miss a few, so forgive me, but I will try to be as complete and organized as I can.
With either disc one (DVD) or disc two (Blu-ray), you can enjoy a commentary with animation historian John Canemaker, featuring archival clips of the late great Walt Disney offering his thoughts on his breakthrough achievement. There is also a new music video for "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Disney Channel star Tiffany Thornton, plus a sneak peak at the studio's next big offering The Princess and the Frog.
The second Blu-ray disc offers some Family Play games through BD LIVE...you can play alone, or you can challenge others to beat your scores. "Jewel Jumble" is a neat twist on stacking games like Tetris, while "Mirror Mirror" will show you which princess you're most like...I opted not to play that one. "What Do You See?" challenges you as to how fast you can recognize a blurry image coming into focus.
A very cool and very new extra is the archival look at a film that was never made: "Snow White Returns". Using recently discovered artwork and notes, we can get a feel of what a planned but ultimately scrapped sequel might have been like. Some classic extras are here as well...two animated scenes that were never completed and cut from the film, including the famous soup bowl song and the dwarfs building a bed together. Enhanced View mode fills the black bars at the left and right (this film is in its original 1.33:1 mode) with some lovely and comparable artwork from Toby Bluth.
The third disc, also for Blu-ray, contains more bonus features from the previous Platinum Edition DVD, including one of my favorite interactive games, "Dopey's Wild Mine Ride". Can you race through the mines and gather your friends in time to save Snow White? There is also a look back at Walt Disney's original Hyperion Studios, the retrospective Snow White featurette "The One That Started it All", a look at the voice talents, the "Disney Through the Decades" featurette, and the "Heigh-Ho" karaoke sing-along.
A genuine classic has gotten the kind of treatment high definition fans would hope for, but thanks to this Diamond Edition combo pack, all fans of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs can enjoy a beautiful and feature-packed presentation. Then, for those who don't have Blu-ray and eventually get one, they will have the chance to see what they've been missing, and wonder why they waited so long!
I was absolutely ecstatic to receive a preview copy of the Blu-ray edition of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES. This is one of those films whose importance in the history of the movies is simply impossible to over emphasize. While Disney had been one of the most important animators of the thirties, but by no means the only one. The Fleischers were doing a string of utterly delightful short films as good or better than what was happening at Disney, not merely with Betty Boop and Popeye but a number of superb cartoon fantasies. What separated Walt Disney from his fellow animators was producing a feature length animated film. As has been recounted in a number of works on SNOW WHITE, many thought this was an incredibly Quixote film to make. Most felt that it was going to be a failure, that most people would not be willing to sit through a long color. Some of the reasons strike us as silly, e.g. that the bright colors would hurt the viewers eyes after a while and they would leave to rest their eyes. (This may sound silly, but remember that in the years that this was being made, from around 1933 through 1937, most studios had only one or two color cameras - e.g., when Orson Welles was making CITIZEN KANE, RKO offered him one of their few color cameras, but he turned it down, preferring to do the film, but the offer showed how important the film was to RKO.)
Luckily, SNOW WHITE was a huge hit (unlike the next few Disney feature length films, which turned a profit, but only a minor one). And it is easy to see shy. The film is a technical marvel. Although it has been superseded by all of the films that have come after it. What is astonishing is how close to perfect the film is in every aspect.
The film looks absolutely spectacular on Blu-ray. The colors have never looked better, but the real improvement is in the sound, which is crisper and fuller than ever before. It has been reedited for compatibility with surround sound. I've always loved SNOW WHITE, but I don't know that I've ever been as delighted watching it. I'd seen it a couple of times in theaters as well as on VHS, but those prints were usually somewhat worn. (Several fellow students and I went and saw this at a college film society; one of the students was the daughter of a major member of the Disney studios, a man who wrote screenplays for several of the major studios, designed some of Disney's major characters, and directed several films.) The print here is not only perfect, a high def TV with a Blu-player and surround sound makes possible a viewing experience never before possible.
SNOW WHITE features one of my favorite sequences in any Disney film. The Huntsman has been ordered to kill Snow White and to that end he approaches her in the woods. At the last second he is unable to carry his task out. Instead, he warns her that her life is in danger and that she must flee to save her life. So she runs immediately into the forest, where her terror turns everything she sees into a threat. Logs in a pond appear to her as alligators. Tree limbs are the arms of monsters who are trying to snag her. Tree trunks appear to be ghouls. Finally, in exhaustion she collapses in a small clearing, where menacing eyes look out upon her. As she calms down the eyes are revealed to belong to bunnies. And deer. And chipmunks. Quail. Sparrows. Bluebirds. It is a wonderful sequence, as Snow White's imagination transforms the world into a savage and menacing place.
One interesting feature of the disc is the so-called Disney View option in watching the movie. You can either watch it in the original 4:3 ratio with black on each side or you can use the Disney View option, in which animator Toby Bluth (brother of Don Bluth) provides frames on each side of the image. I was a bit dubious about this before trying it, but I have to confess that I like it a great deal. I like that this is entirely optional. I liked the results quite a bit, but I could understand if someone else did not. The effect is very much like in older theaters where large curtains were opened just far enough to reveal the screen. If you don't like it (my daughter and I both loved it), just opt for the 4:3 version.
This Diamond edition does contain three discs. The first is a DVD copy of the film. The second is a Blu-ray copy. The third is a Blu-ray bonus disc with both extras produced exclusively for this Diamond Edition and features that were produced for the previous DVD version of the film. There are so many extras that it is difficult to list them all. There are a great number that are intended for small kids and I'm going to pass on these. I have close to no interest in those so I'll focus on the ones that I find especially interesting. One especially interesting feature deals with what was intended as a sequel to the feature film, a short that was worked on but not completed, a project entitled SNOW WHITE RETURNS, in which the Seven Dwarves make a new large bed for Snow White. I loved the feature on Hyperion Studios, where you got to go on something of a virtual tour of the site where SNOW WHITE was produced. You see period photos of the various parts of the studio with interview clips from some of the people who worked there.
Given the excellence of the film, the double versions, the large number of special features, and the historical importance of the film, this Blu-ray/DVD set is very nearly a perfect release. Some Disney films (like the recently released PETE'S DRAGON) I can only recommend for small children. But this is a film just about everyone should own. If you have small children, you need it for them. If you are a student of the history of film, you need it for the important role it played in the development of the medium. And if you are a fan of great animation, you need it because this is the film that gave birth to the animated feature film. And on top of this it comes at a really decent price. This disc definitely falls into the "Must Own" category.
By the way, not only did the film through its huge success make possible all future feature length animated films (though it is fascinating that other studios didn't immediately attempt to emulate Disney - both MGM and Warner Brothers had great animated departments that combined with the resources of the main studio might have been capable of making a feature length film), it inspired one live action film. Howard Hawks directed BALL OF FIRE, based on a Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett screenplay. In that film seven stuffy scholars engaged in writing an encyclopedia and living together in a Manhattan mansion provide temporary sanctuary to a gangster's moll on the run (played wonderfully by Barbara Stanwyck). The film has also entered our consciousness in ways that make possible other narratives. For instance, Snow White's singing to birds has been parodied in a variety of films, most memorably in SHREK (where Princess Fiona's warbling causes a bird to explode) and in Disney's own brilliant live action film ENCHANTED. And it has become customary to refer to various people by the names of one or another of the Seven Dwarves.
You could never accuse the guys at Disney of being on the cutting edge of progressive social thought, but they sure knew about fun -- and the current crew augments that same idea of fun with the latest technology by coming up with the best bells and whistles I've seen on a DVD. There are two discs to hold it all -- pretty remarkable when you condsider that the movie itself is only 84 minutes long.
The movie looks and sounds great .... a beautiful restoration. Images are sharp, sound is clear. You can listen to the original mono soundtrack, or an improved digital track in English or French. If you choose French, even the opening sequence of a printed fairy tale book appears in French. Pretty cool.
The extras include Streisand singing 'Some Day My Prince Will Come'; a karaoke edition of 'Heigh Ho'; a 39-minute documentary about the making of the film narrated by Angela Lansbury; audio commentary by Walt Disney himself, pieced together from archived materials; an animated short used to test some of the animation; and Dopey's Wild Mine Ride -- a great little trivia/puzzle game -- and that's just the first disk!
The second disk is spectacular -- there are dozens of elements here, but I will mention (what I consider to be) the best: storyboard/film comparison; scenes deleted from the film (including a great scene of the dwarves making Snow White a bed, with comments penciled in by an animator); camera tests; featurettes about the voices, audio sessions, restoration of the film, and artistic concepts -- layouts, backgrounds, character sketches and development; publicity materials (posters, photos, trailers, radio commercials); and a timeline of the history of the film *and* Disney studios.
The amount (and quality) of extras is truly incredible; and there is a well-designed print brochure, as well as on-disk tours of the material, to help you find your way around.
This is a great version of a wonderful film -- and an exemplary use of the DVD format.