15 Jan: New York meets Snow White

Disney’s long-awaited feature ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ was rapturously received at Radio City, New York, inspiring three-hour queues for tickets. The reviews that America woke up to on 14th January 1938 were euphoric: a masterpiece had landed.

“It is a classic as important cinematically as The Birth Of A Nation”, Frank Nugent wrote in The New York Times.  “You’ll not, most of the time, realise you are watching animated cartoons”, he continued. “And if you do, it will only be with a sense of amazement”.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the technical feat of creating the world’s first feature-length animation (nicknamed ‘Disney’s Folly’) was all the more remarkable considering the inexperienced cartoonists on the crew; reveal why the UK censors very nearly classified it as unsuitable viewing for children; and challenge the notion that the Disney version of the Grimm tale is any less morbid than its literary forebears… 

Further Reading:

• ‘THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; The Music Hall Presents Walt Disney’s Delightful Fantasy, ‘Snow hite and the Seven Dwarfs’-Other New Films at Capitol and Criterion’ (The New York Times, 1938):


• ‘The Making of Snow White’ (Disney, 1994): 

• ‘Disney’s Folly: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (Neatorama, 2012):


Want to hear more ‘Snow White’ chat from the team? There’s over SEVEN MINUTES of extra content today, cut for time from today’s episode and exclusively available to our top-tier subscribers. Head to patreon.com/Retrospectors to support the show and get exclusive bonus content each week. Thanks!

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