In 1934, Walt Disney announced the production of his first feature animation film, to be released under Walt Disney Productions. Although not Disney’s first animated project and certainly not the first animated feature film to be made, “Snow White” managed to do something that others preceding it could not: it advanced the art form like no other film during its time.
Despite its impact not just in animation but in cinema history as a whole, when “Snow White” was first in development, many people doubted the project. Even those close to Walt Disney like his brother and business partner Roy Disney and his wife Lillian Disney, tried to talk him out of it. While in production, the Hollywood industry referred to the film as “Disney’s Folly.” But Disney saw the potential that it held; he saw something special about the project that no one else around him could. And with a soaring budget of $1.49 million, Disney even mortgaged his own house to help finance the film’s production.
The critical and commercial success following Snow White’s release in 1937 proved that Disney’s tenacity was worth it. The film was a tremendous success, with many reviewers hailing it as a genuine work of art, recommended for both children and adults. “Snow White” went on to be a pioneer for animated features and became Disney’s first masterpiece.
Watch the video from “One Hundred Years of Cinema” to learn more about how Disney managed to bring the story of “Snow White” to life through intricately crafted visuals, sound, and characters to create a timeless masterpiece.