Posted on Oct 19 2009 by Greg

It's getting more and more difficult for Blu-Ray resisters to resist getting Blu-Ray, now that The Wizard of Oz and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are available in crystalline clarity. The new Snow White Diamond Edition has so much new material, that when you combine it with the previous Platinum Edition (which still has some features not included on the new release), it can almost be thought of as "The Art of Snow White, Volumes 1 and 2."

In addition to the picture quality, the new Blu-Ray offers an interactive Magic Mirror feature, an immersive visit to Disney's Hyperion Studio, where Walt and his staff worked until Snow White's huge success made the Burbank location affordable.

But my favorite, and if you've read my earlier reviews you know where I'm going with this, is the audio commentary. Animation historian John Canemaker, who wrote the excellent Making of the Animated Raggedy Ann & Andy book among other important works, provides a diamond mine of information -- with none other than Walt Disney himself providing his own comments through interviews.

It's one thing to read about Walt and Roy Disney getting feature film negotiation advice from Charlie Chaplin, it's downright amazing to hear him explain it in his own words. Walt describes in a vivid, straightforward manner (frequently punctuating with a Jack Benny-like "ya see") his feelings about his artists and their relative skill levels, his insecurity about his status as a "cartoon maker" rather than a filmmaker and his unabashed excitement about new gadgetry.

You can even hear Walt admit that he actually hated Snow White for a while because he wearied of living in its shadow and having every subsequent project compared to it. That's the sort of frustration you may not have thought about in hindsight, since Walt did so much since, but it underscores the importance of this film -- perhaps the one project that made everything after it possible. You also get a real feel for how much of Walt Disney's personality and performance are in Snow White.

Canemaker points out that Snow White paved the way for feasibility of the film fantasy genre, leading to The Wizard of Oz, and also the technicque of weaving story with songs in a seamless narrative, usually credited to Broadway's Oklahoma! (and more recently in animation, The Little Mermaid).

There are two Blu-Ray discs included, loaded with the features, plus a standard DVD of the feature as well. The commentary appears on both formats (and was included on the Platinum Edition and most likely the laserdisc).

But if you're on the fence about Blu-Ray, this is a chance to compare the two and decide. If you'd prefer the whole thing in DVD, it is apparently going to be released on November 24, but of course without the interactive technologies only possible on the new format.

<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next >>

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Book Purchase | News & Events | Blog Tracks | Greg's Picks | Links

Mouse Tracks - The Story of Walt Disney Records