1st Disney Movie Made
Any Disney Film You Choose Is Part Of A Long History
The 1st disney movie made was also the first full-length animated film ever. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a ground-breaking concept; it is not surprising that nay-sayers and critics were quick to criticize the entire project. It was believed that people would not pay to watch a cartoon, that watching a cartoon of that length might be hazardous, creating undue eyestrain leading to blindness, and that adults would not be interested in the theme of the story. The project was known as Disney’s Folly.
Only the deep commitment of Walt Disney himself and his willingness to stake the future of his company on the outcome of this film saved it from dying from lack of sponsors. Disney had first conceived of the idea of a feature-length cartoon while watching a screening of the story with live actors in 1917 as a 15 year-old newsboy in Kansas City. The Disney film was budgeted for $250,000; three years of production brought the price tag on the movie to $1.75 million and its first release world-wide grossed over $8.5 million. In December of 1937 the official release date, children paid ten cents to view the movie.
To say the film was an outstanding success is to understate its impact. Not only was it financially successful, but it proved that animated characters could create the same kind of emotional impact on viewers as live actors do. Disney followed this first feature film with dozens of others continuing to the present, but few have matched the world-wide appeal of Snow White, although British children were not allowed to attend showings of the movie without a parent as it was deemed too scary for them.
The attention to detail in every single cell of the movie is documented by hundreds of pages of storyline meeting notes. Disney insisted that every sequence and every cell be artistically superior and that it move the story along. He did not hesitate to discard hundreds of hours of work if the final result did not meet quality and continuity standards. Over 750 animators spent three years of their working life completing the animation. Dozens of actors and actresses voices were auditioned before selections were made for the major speaking roles. Many of the radio and movie personalities of the day were included in the actor list.
In 1938 the contribution made by Disney studios was recognized by presentation of an Academy Award Oscar for Special Award – Animation. Nor has the popularity of the movie died over the years. It has been reissued eight times, including a complete clean-up, computer digitization and re-release in 1993. It was released as a home video version in 1994.
The songs from the movie, some hauntingly beautiful such as Someday My Prince will Come, and others just plain fun, like Heigh Ho and Whistle While You Work, are still popular choices for children’s choruses and vocalists today. Images from the movie appear, not only in Disneyland and Disney World attractions, but on dozens of children’s toys, dishes, and clothing items.