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Special feature: Popular screen adaptations of 'Snow White'

The legendary German fairy tale 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was adapted for the screen by Walt Disney Pictures in animated form and released on this day, December 21 in 1937. The film went on to create history, not only for it's outstanding production values but also as the world's first feature-length animated film.

The tale of 'Snow White' has been adapted numerous times on the big screen and on television. We take a look at some famous versions...

A still from Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'
A still from Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'

Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1937): The animated film is considered the most famous adaptation of the fairy tale. Notable changes were made during production to make it suitable for the general audience especially children. In a memorable change, all 7 dwarves were named and personally introduced by Walt Disney himself in a special theatrical trailer that combined live-action and animation. It was also made in the format of an animated-musical thus introducing the heroine as a singing Snow White. The evil queen orders the huntsman to bring Snow White's heart after killing her in the woods. In the original story, he was instructed to bring her lungs and liver. Snow White is presented as a young girl in the film, possibly a teenager. Furthermore, the queen only tries to kill Snow White once in the film with the use of a poisoned apple as opposed to the original where she tries to murder her more than once. In the original source, the evil queen is forced to dance to the death while wearing a pair of glowing-hot iron shoes, while in the film she dies by falling down a cliff, after the dwarfs had chased her through the forest.

Sarah Patterson (Snow White) and Diana Rigg (The Evil Queen). (Below) The dwarves. Pic Courtesy/YouTube
Sarah Patterson (Snow White) and Diana Rigg (The Evil Queen). (Below) The dwarves. Pic Courtesy/YouTube

The dwarves from 'Snow White'

Snow White (1987): The most notable variation in this American film adaptation was the death of the Evil Queen, played by veteran English actress Diana Rigg. When informed by the mirror that Snow White is alive, the angry queen hurls and object at the mirror causing it to crack. She starts aging rapidly as the mirror continues cracking and transforms into an old hag after reaching Snow White's wedding with the prince. After being humiliated by the crowd at the event she leaves and simultaneously with the mirror in her castle, disintegrates into a pile of dust. Actress Sarah Patterson essays Snow White. The film retains the earlier attempts of the Evil Queen to kill Snow White by presenting her a silver bodice and a poisoned comb.

Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen in 'Snow White and the Huntsman'
Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen in 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart of 'Twilight Saga' fame stars as the titular Snow White in this film. Chris Hemsworth, notable for her performance in 'Thor' portrays the huntsman ordered to kill Snow White while Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron plays the Evil Queen Ravenna. The film makes a noteworthy variation by presenting as a warrior in order to overthrow the queen, and the huntsman is shown as her mentor and possible love interest. The Dwarves were played by actors of average height who had their faces digitally transmuted onto small bodies. This caused a protest from the Little People of America. Furthermore, the evil queen is portrayed as a woman obbsessed with immortality and using spells to drain the youth of the young women in the kingdom. Also, the climax is significantly different with a final duel between Snow White and the queen.

Monica Keena plays Snow White in 'Snow White: A Tale of Terror', while Signourney Weaver essays the Evil Queen. Pic courtesy/YouTube
Monica Keena plays Snow White in 'Snow White: A Tale of Terror', while Signourney Weaver essays the Evil Queen. Pic courtesy/YouTube

Snow White: A tale of Terror (1997): The TV film adaptation has many significant differences from the original text. Firstly actress Monica Keena, who plays the Snow White of the title is given a different name, Lily Hoffman. The seven dwarves become combative miners, one of whom enters a romantic relationship with Lily. Snow White's father is a wealthy man rather than a king. Actress Sigourney Weaver, who essays The Evil Queen role as Claudia is shown as a much more powerful sorceress. She dies after Lily destroys the Magic Mirror, the source of all her power during the climax. Sigourney Weaver received an Emmy Award nomination as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination as Outstanding Lead Actress in a TV Movie for her critically acclaimed performance as Claudia.

Sara Paxton as Rachel Witchburn (The Evil Queen) and Amanda Bynes as Sydney White (Snow White) in a still from the film
Sara Paxton as Rachel Witchburn (The Evil Queen) and Amanda Bynes as Sydney White (Snow White) in a still from the film. Pic/Santa Banta

Sydney White (2007): Amanda Bynes essayed, Sydney White the modern counterpart of Snow White in this adaptation. The film gives a more mdoern and upbeat 2000s treatment to the fairy tale. Snow White or in this case, Sydney White is a student who sets off to attend college at SAU and pledge to her mother's once dignified sorority. The film has been alternatively titled, 'Snow White and the Seven Dorks'. The dwarves are reimagined as seven socially inept boys, 'the dorks' of the title. Sara Paxton plays Rachel Witchburn, the tyrannical president of the student council and the head of the sorority that Sydney wants to attend (the Evil Queen of the story). The university's website takes the place of the magic mirror that Rachel visits each day to check her popularity. The poisoned apple is presented as a computer virus that Rachel uses on Sydney's computer. Actor Matt Long plays Tyler Prince, the most popular boy in the college, a parallel to the Prince of the story.

Julia Roberts and Lily Collins in a still from 'Mirror Mirror'
Julia Roberts (Evil Queen) and Lily Collins (Snow White) in a still from 'Mirror Mirror'

Mirror Mirror (2012): In this version, Snow White, played by actress Lily Collins and Prince Alcott, played by actor Armie Hammer fall in love first sight. Popular Hollywood actress Julia Roberts essays The Evil Queen Clementianna, Snow White's wicked stepmother, who rules the kingdom after Snow White's father the king, played by actor Sean Bean of 'The Lord of the Rings' fame leaves to fight a great evil that has invaded the land but never returns. Queen Clementianna drugs the prince with a love potion in order to usurp his kingdom. Snow White breaks the spell with a kiss as opposed to the Prince kissing a seemingly dead Snow White in the original story. The film has a powerful beast the terrorises the land, who turns out to be Snow White's father. The most notable departure from the fairy tale is the poisoned apple scene. The Queen enters Snow White's wedding with the prince, dressed as an old hag and presents but the apple. But unlike the original story Snow White doesn't eat it. She recognises the Evil Queen and forces her to consume the apple thus destorying her and the magic mirror. The film's epilogue implies that one of the dwarves named Grimm goes on to write fairy tales.

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943): In what is perhaps considered the most controversial re-telling of the Snow White story, the theatrical cartoon short reimagines all the story's characters as African-Americans. Due to its racist portayal of African-Americans the cartoon has been banned from television and was not released on home video for many years. A major difference from the story shows Snow White brought back to life from the kiss of one of the dwarves instead of the prince. The dwarves are portrayed as diminutive army men.

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