Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snow what? Snow White!

Ralph used to have a joke with our daughter when she was very small about the fair maiden.
He'd say "Snow What?" to her and she'd yell out "Snow
White!" In honor of those fun times, I bring you a column I wrote in August of (ahem) 1987 for a now-defunct daily paper.

"... And they lived happily ever after"

Heigh-ho, heigh ho.
You too will be singing those words if you go see the best film of the summer - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
Yep, my husband and I saw this magical movie adaptation of Grimm's fairy tale last weekend and were enthralled by its charm and innocence.
The 1937 vintage animation is Walt Disney at his finest. From the beginning when Snow White sings: "I'm wishing...for the one I love" to when the Wicked Queen (Snow's stepmother) looks into her mirror and asks: "Magic mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" the movie sparkles.
Rarely have the forces of good and evil been so clearly defined. Snow White, the fairy princess, is surrounded by white doves while the Wicked Queen hangs around with ravens and buzzards.
The W.Q. despises Snow - she's jealous of her beauty - so she tells one of her henchmen at the palace to kill her. But he cannot go through with it and Snow winds up running through the Evil Forest until she meets the sweetest little group of animals this side of paradise. She sings, the bluebirds sing, the bunnies twitch, and the deer and the antelope play.
She tells them she needs someplace to live and they lead her to a cottage that's cozy but cluttered. Guess who lives there? The seven dwarfs, of course.
Snow can't stand the dirt and gets her animal friends to help clean up the mess. And as they work, they whistle and burst into song.
Meanwhile, the seven little men are out mining for huge, brilliant diamonds in a nearby mine.
But when these happy little guys get home that night and see all their cottage lights ablaze, they are scared out of their wits. "Maybe it's a ghost or goblin!" they shriek in unison.
They send Dopey inside to find out who or what is there. Of course, it is only our heroine, Snow, sound asleep in the bedroom.
They stare at her and Grumpy, who is suspicious of all women, declares: "She's female and full of wicked wiles."
After she wakes up, she tells them she will make dinner, but not until they wash. Grumpy is appalled. Wash? With soap? And water?
Eventually, however, he grows to love Miss White, as do his peers.
When her evil stepmother - enraged at her superior beauty - tricks her into eating a poisoned apple, she falls into a trance-like sleep and both the dwarfs and her animal friends are convinced that she has been murdered.
Since they cannot bear to bury her, they put her in a glass casket instead and set up an eternal vigil.
But she only sleeps until her Prince comes and kisses her awake and takes her away on his white stallion, off into the sinking sunset.
Unlike most mass-appeal movies made these days, this one has a simplicity and beauty that take your breath away.
It vaults you back to a different time, a different place, when people left their doors unlocked and trust was a common coin.

Go see it. It will leave you with tears in your eyes. But as you leave the theater, those tears will be replaced by a sense of exaltation, of innocence regained.
And as you walk toward your car, you will begin to hear a voice, way off in the distance, singing: "
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's home from work we go."
And then you will realize the voice is yours and you will find yourself wishing, with all your heart, that Snow White was not a fairy tale, and that you too could live happily ever after.


Odat said...

LOL Thanks for the memories!

Sarah Caron said...

That's a great column! *Sigh* Snow White is one of my favorites - I saw it for the first time in Milford at the now destroyed fourplex by the mall. Good times.

Patti said...

Odat: you are most welcome. Isn't Snow wonderful?

Sarah: Thank you much. Ah, the Milford fourplex. I remember when it was a oneplex. Really!