Snow White (2001 film)
|Snow White: The Fairest of Them All|
|Directed by||Caroline Thompson|
|Produced by||Matthew O'Connor
|Written by||Caroline Thompson
|Based on||Snow White by the Brothers Grimm|
|Music by||Michael Convertino
|Editing by||Margaret Goodspeed|
|Production company||Hallmark Entertainment|
|Release date||October 28, 2001|
|Original airing||March 17, 2002|
|Running time||93 minutes|
Snow White: The Fairest of Them All, is a 2001 fantasy and adventure film, co-written and directed by American filmmaker Caroline Thompson and produced by Hallmark Entertainment. The film was first released theatrically in Europe, and subsequently aired in the United States on the ABC network as part of their series on The Wonderful World of Disney in March 2002.
Based upon the traditional Snow White folktale first recorded in 1812 by German folklorists, the Brothers Grimm, the film deviates from earlier interpretations of the story in several respects. Set in a fantasy kingdom, it tells the story of Princess Snow White (Kristin Kreuk), and the attempts of her malevolent stepmother, Queen Elspeth (Miranda Richardson) to eliminate her. Trying to escape the Queen Elspeth's machinations, Snow White flees to the forest, where she befriends Sunday (Michael J. Anderson), the leader of the seven dwarves, and together they plot the monarch's overthrow.
Reviews were mixed, with Miranda Richardson's performance coming in for particular praise, but Kristin Kreuk's coming under criticism for being too bland. The film would subsequently be released on DVD.
A couple living in the woods, John (Tom Irwin) and Josephine (Vera Farmiga), have a daughter named Snow White (Kristin Kreuk), but Josephine soon dies. Distraught, John flees his home with Snow White, and caught in a blizzard, accidentally frees a bewitched djinn, the Granter of Wishes (Clancy Brown). In thanks, the creature grants John three wishes: nourishment for Snow White, a kingdom in which to raise his daughter, and a queen by his side. To obtain the latter, he appoints his own sister, the sorceress Elspeth (Miranda Richardson), to be queen, transforming her from an old crone into a beautiful woman.
16 years later, Prince Alfred (Tyron Leitso) visits the kingdom, becoming enamoured with Snow White. The jealous Elspeth casts a spell over her servant, Hector, whom she orders to kill Snow White; he cannot bring himself to do it however, instead bringing the Queen the heart of a wild boar, which she devours. Snow White meanwhile flees into the forest, where she meets with the seven dwarves, each named after a day of the week, who befriend her and welcome her into their home. Upon using her magic mirror to learn that her stepdaughter is still alive, Elspeth kills Hector, imprisons her husband, and turns Alfred into a bear.
Plotting to kill Snow White, the Queen disguises herself and travels to the dwarves' house, where she convinces Snow White to bite into a poisoned apple, leaving her paralysed. However, appalled by her behaviour, the Granter of Wishes removes her privilege, transforming her back into a crone; enraged, she accidentally destroys her mirror, losing her magic powers, and is attacked by the gnomes whom she had imprisoned. Turned back into a man, Alfred discovers Snow White, and awakens her with a kiss; together, they then ride away from the kingdom, with King John back in control.
- Miranda Richardson as the Evil Queen Elspeth, The Evil Queen, Snow White's evil stepmother
- Kristin Kreuk as Snow White
- Karin Konoval as Elspeth's Old Crone form
- Tom Irwin as the King John, Snow White's father
- Vera Farmiga as the Queen Josephine, Snow White's mother
- Tyron Leitso as the Prince Alfred
- Clancy Brown as the Granter of Wishes
- Michael Gilden as Monday, the red dwarf
- Mark J. Trombino as Tuesday, the orange dwarf
- Vincent Schiavelli as Wednesday, the yellow dwarf
- Penny Blake as Thursday, the green dwarf
- Martin Klebba as Friday, the blue dwarf
- Warwick Davis as Saturday, the indigo dwarf
- Michael J. Anderson as Sunday, the purple dwarf
- José Zúñiga as Hector
In order to write the script, Thompson went back to the original written account of "Snow White", published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. She came to the decision that the folktale was about the "fear of change", as two women, Snow White and her step mother, came to adjust with the changes that they were facing in life. Noting that the original 19th century folk tales were far "darker" in content than most 20th century adaptations, such as Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), she sought to utilise some of these dark elements in her adaptation. The idea for the Green-Eyed One was introduced by co-writer Julie Hickson; Thompson noted that he was a "genuinely moral being" who tried to help people, comparing him to the genius of the peace found in Late Medieval literature.
Upon reading the script, Kreuk noted that she had been "entranced", believing that the main message that audiences would take away from the film was that of not judging an individual's personality based upon their physical appearances. Richardson thought that Thompson's adaptation was "much more in keeping" with the ethos of the Grimm tale than subsequent adaptations due to its "darker" nature. Praising Richardson as being perfect for the role of Elspeth, Thompson asserted that she had been "a blast to work with." Thompson noted that she cast the actors to play the dwarves according to their own individual personalities; she remarked that Davis was a "phenomenal actor" while Blake was "so funny" and Anderson was a "genius". Together, she thought that they brought an "array of talents" to the production. Anderson himself claimed that he identified with his character, the "philosopher of the group", and really enjoyed playing the role. Commenting on his character of Wednesday, Schiavelli noted that he was miserable because "he really thinks that he's a dwarf" even though he isn't.
Thompson would also praise her "magnificent collaborators" in costume and set design. The set designer noted that they constructed a castle that they felt was best described as "Viking art nouveau".
The film was released theatrically in Europe and the Middle East in 2001, and debuted in the United States on March 17, 2002, when it was broadcast as part of ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney series. Both Region 1 and Region 2 DVDs of the film were released. Reviewing the Artisan DVD release for the Combustible Celluloid website, Jeffrey M. Anderson praised its "gorgeous full-screen transfer", featurette, and cast-and-crew biographies, but highlighted that it contained no director's commentary track.
Laura Fries reviewed the film for Variety, describing it as a "unique and lavish production that certainly warrants attention" but warning that it would be innapropriate for young children. Asserting that ABC had made a "big mistake" by airing it as a part of their Wonderful World of Disney series, she thought that it was "often nightmarish", harking back to the original Grimm version more than the better-known Disney adaptation; in particular, she singled out the "evil queen/witch" and "satanic messenger who grants wishes". However, she praised David Brisbin's set design, remarking that he had created a kingdom which was "equal parts gingerbread baroque and David Lynch" and that Thompson "clearly relishes" in this universe. Noting that the "magnificently villainous performance" from Richardson "virtually steals the show" from the "doe-eyed" Kreuk, she believes that the latter does "little to upgrade" the image of Snow White as the most victimized of fairytale characters.
Writing for The New York Times, Hal Erickson praised the film for mixing its "more frightening aspects" with "slapstick comedy and awesome special effects". Jeffrey M. Anderson reviewed Snow White for the Combustible Celluloid website, awarding it three stars out of four. Remarking that Thompson "completely eradicates" the Disney interpretation of the folktale, he praised her directorial debut, noting the influence of Tim Burton but claiming that she offers "a more universal sweetness" than he does. He notes that while remaining accessible to children, the film still "drinks more deeply of the story's dark elements". David Parkinson of Radio Times awarded Snow White two stars out of five, praising Richardson's performance and comparing it to that of Sigourney Weaver in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. He also acclaimed the casting of Schiavelli as the tall dwarf, but in contrast, he criticised Kreuk's "inanimate performance", seeing her as a "dull heroine".
- A Look Behind the Scenes (NTSC Region 2) (DVD) (in English). Warner Vision International.
- Erickson, Hall. "Snow White: The Fairest of Them All". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Anderson, Jeffrey M. (2002). "Snow White (2001)". Combustible Celluloid. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Fries, Laura (13 March 2002). "Snow White: The Fairest of Them All". Variety. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Parkinson, Davidsen. "Snow White". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.