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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Platinum Edition

By the mid-1930s, few could challenge Walt Disney's status as the most innovative animator in Hollywood. His small studio had been turning out the "Silly Symphonies" shorts for several years, even producing the very first talking cartoon (1928's "Steamboat Willie") and the first color cartoon (1932's "Flowers and Trees"). But Disney was hoping to expand his animation company into something larger, and he knew that the only way to do it was to get in the feature-film business, where the greatest profits could be had. Hence his decision to produce Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the world's first feature-length animated movie, which was dubbed "Disney's Folly" by Tinseltown wags during its production, but went on to become the most successful film of the year with its uncanny mix of music, multiplane animation, and visual pranks. And as if that weren't innovative enough, Snow White was also the first film to have toy tie-ins for sale the day it arrived in theaters, as well as an accompanying soundtrack album (which featured the popular tunes "Whistle While You Work," "Heigh-Ho," and "Some Day My Prince Will Come.") The film remains as sweet and charming as ever, with animation that still looks astounding today, and after restorations in 1987 and 1993, with further digital touch-ups in 2001, Disney has released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as their first "Platinum Edition" title, a two-disc set that's swimming with extras, but is also scheduled to go on 10-year moratorium after a limited time. In addition to the flawless full-frame transfer (1.33:1) and audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 or the original mono (DD 1.0), Disc One features a "Guided Tour" of the DVD set with Angela Lansbury; the 39-minute documentary "Still The Fairest of Them All: The Making of Snow White"; a commentary featuring recorded interviews with Walt Disney, and hosted by film scholar John Canemaker; the 1934 Disney short "The Goddess of Spring," which was a "test" project for Snow White; a "Heigh-Ho" sing-along and "Dopey's Wild Mine Ride" trivia game; and "Some Day My Prince Will Come" performed by Barbara Streisand over a video montage. Meanwhile, the real geek stuff can be found on Disc Two, including a look at the history and development of the film; the original Brothers Grimm version of "Snow White"; storyboard-to-film comparisons; still galleries of original concepts, layouts, backgrounds, camera tests, and more; a look at several abandoned ideas for the film; a history of the Disney Studios; newsreel footage; theatrical posters and publicity materials; a look at the three restorations; vintage featurettes; and rare audio recordings. Dual-DVD keep-case.
—JJB



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