Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prod. 2001 - Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (I)

It has been some time since my last posting. Since I currently am in Denmark where my feature drafts reside, I thought it would be time to look at Walt Disney's first, most personal and maybe greatest feature film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Now - this blog is called A. Film L.A., and I also intend to show highlights of 21 years of A. Film history in the next months, as I uncover them in our archives.

But first, here is the first installment of the draft to Snow White. The new Blue-Ray disc may have given new life to the film, but the producers have again missed the boat with the draft info, readily available to them, as they could have added this as a subtitle track throughout the film, for all to see and learn from. Now it seems that I have to do this, instead - again. Ok, here we go:

Seq. 1-B "First Queen & Mirror Sequence"
- Woolie Reitherman's mirror and Art Babbitt's Queen
Seq. 2-A "S.W. & the Prince in the Garden" - Song: "I'm Wishing"
- Jack Campbell, Grim Natwick and one scene by Marc Davis (Snow White), Milt Kahl & Eric Larson (animals), Paul Busch (Reflections of Snow White)
Seq. 2-B "Queen Orders Snow White's Death"
- Art Babbitt (Queen) and [Max] Gray (Huntsman)

We can read in several sources about the usage of rotoscope in Snow White, and it seems to have been considered a "savior" by the folks in the production department. The usage on Snow White was pretty much as we used to work with Don Bluth on "Troll in Central Park," where we were supplied with (photo)stats, and then had to draw the characters on separate sheets in their proper proportions over those. On the other hand, the Prince was pretty much traced precisely, much like the Fleischers used to do. At its best, which was most often the case, it cannot be detected. Even with the rotoscope, Snow White is a beautiful film, and the sequences that came straight out of the animators' pencils rank among the highlights of the craft.

One of the things I would like to lay to rest in my postings in the idea that Grim Natwick was "pushed out" by Ham Luske in the draft. Grim is credited for about half the scenes with Snow White, and it is interesting to "Spot the Grim or the Ham," for where Ham drew a child, Grim drew a young woman. At the D23 expo, it was pointed out by one exhibitor that there is one scene where one can see Snow White evolve from Ham to Grim to Ham - or was it the other way around? Try and see for yourself!

The standard disclaimers are, of course, in effect. This means that a draft was NOT meant as a historic document. It was a go-to list, and if anyone needed to speak with the person responsible for a certain scene, this was the listing that named that person. It is possible that, when Grim left, the name on the scenes he worked on that were not finished at the time was changed to Ham, as I believe Culhane was exchanged for Norm Tate in the Pinocchio draft. Not out of spite or to gather credit, but to have a person to go to for an assistant, an inker or a painter with questions. drafts can also have mistakes, we know this. Also, not always is the Directing Animator credited. Example: Bambi on Ice, animated by Frank Thomas, has his name on only a few of the scenes, but he was responsible for the entire sequence. I hope this clears things up a bit...

More A. Film things very soon!
And remember, I really like comments, especially when they help illuminate things some of us may not have thought of!

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Anonymous Michael J. Ruocco says...

YES! Hans, you are awesome!

I'm looking forward to hearing about your studio & it's history too. It's been a while since you last mentioned it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 1:25:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Paul Reiter says...

Hans, this really made my day (I was almost drooling when I saw this). Thank you so much. Now I really wish I had the movie on hand.
What I found interesting was that on the director's space the # 1, 2, or 3 appear on the first, second, and last page. Barrier writes in that while David Hand was the main director, that Jackson and Sharpsteen also directed a few scenes. What I am wondering is which director is referred to by each number, do you have an idea?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 5:55:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous David says...

Hello Hans.

I will be keeping an eye open to see if artist Hank Porter is mentioned in any of your material. I am currently writing his biography.

Porter worked on Snow White, but when the light from the animator's tables strained his eyes, he was transferred to Merchandise and Publicity Art.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 9:44:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous John V. says...

I was wondering if the directors were numbered, but I suspect that the "director" field was just being used to indicate what order the sequences were to go in. I guess we'll find out when more of the draft goes up.

By the way, it seems one shot of Snow White was also animated by Hugh Fraser, unless "Fraser" refers to Marc Davis (credited as Fraser Davis in the Bambi opening credits)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 6:14:00 AM PDT  

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