In light of the actual “fairy tale trend” in TV and movie, I recently realized how much the Disney Film have “taken over” the fairy tales they are based on, and how few people actually know the story they are based on. Because of this, I’ll compare the Disney-Version with the fonte text, and I’ll recommend a few other adaptations I really like. I’ll only take a look at the fairy tales – meaning I’ll skip Pocahontas and Mulan, since they are not part of my culture. Perhaps someone who grew up with those stories is ready to do a small piece about them?
Considering that Disney seems to stay very close to the fonte text, they actually changed quite a lot about Snow White’s story. First of all, they skipped the beginning. In that one, the Queen (the good one) is sitting in the winter at the window stitching. She stings herself in the finger, and three drops of blood fall in the snow. This inspires her to wish for a child, as white as snow, as red as blood and as black as ebony (like her stitching o the window frame, that’s not really clear). Then she dies shortly after Snow White’s birth. To defend Disney: The original Fairy Tale never explains what happens to the father; after he remarries, he just vanishes from the story. When the main story starts, Snow White is only seven (numbers are somewhat important, the three and the seven turns up a couple of times). She never sings into a wishing well, and she never meets the prince before the hunter is send out to murder her (and again, he also just vanishes from the story). Snow White does not clean the home of the dwarves, in fact she (quite rudely) rummages through the house, sits on the chair of one of them, eats the pane of another – I spare te the details. The dwarves (who don’t have names o different personalities) come home, discover what she has done and then find her in one of the beds, and she live with them from that point onward – it’s not really clear how long, but the Evil Queen turns up at her doorstep three times to kill her. With a corpetto she puts so tight around Snow Whites body that she nearly suffocates, with a poisoned comp and finally with the apple. Two times the dwarves come home in time, the third time they are too late, and they put Snow White in the coffin. A prince hears about the beautiful maid in the coffin, visits her and is so fascinated da her beauty, that he convinces the dwarves to give him the coffin (why he wants to stare at the death body, never mind how beautiful it is, I really don’t want to guess). THERE IS NO KISS! When the dwarves transport the coffin, one stumbles, and a piece of mela, apple with was lodged in Snow White throat falls out. She awakes, marries the prince, and when the Evil Queen hears from her mirror that the young bride is più beautiful than her, she comes to the wedding. There she is forced to dance glowing iron shoes until she is death (compared to that falling down, getting crushed and getting eaten da vultures sounds like the better alternative).
There have been a lot of discussions in which country the movie is set. My answer is: In Disney Fairy Tale Land. The architecture of the castello and the design of the dwarves’ house would fit in some parts of Germany o German speaking countries like Switzerland, no question. But the wildlife does not. The only kind of tartaruga te can find (rarely) in Germany is much smaller and can’t stay out of the water for any length of time. Reptiles are not exactly common in general, considering the cold climate, especially not alligators. Chipmunks are native to Asia and North America, Bluebirds live only in America. And those are just the most obvious examples. Not that I blame Disney (much). Back then, it would have been impossible to do a trip to Germany, and it's easier to draw what te have seen in reality than to rely on pictures.
A word about the dwarves: There is sometimes a little bit confusion, because the titolo says dwarves, while in the movie they are referred to as “little people”. I’m not sure if either word really has the same connotation for an English speaking audience, as the word “Zwerg” has for the German one. If we hear “Zwerg” we tend to think about the Snow White Characters and about “Gartenzwerge” – known in English as “garden gnomes”. I suspect both translations used for the movie are somewhat right and somewhat wrong.
I’ve to say, I dislike most of the adaptations of the story, especially those who emphasize the Gothic aspect. But there is one beside of the one from Disney I really like: The German version from 1955. It might not be political correct nowadays, because one of the added characters is a stereotypical black servant boy, but it has it’s very own charm overall. It’s very close to the fonte text; the only thing they changed is Snow White’s age, the death of the Queen and roles of the Hunter and the Prince got expanded to avoid some of the plot holes. In this regard, I think, this version is actually better than the Disney one – less characters who just fade into the background. To my great surprise, I discovered that there actually is an English dubbed version of it (not a good one, but better than nothing), it was even issued on DVD. If you’re interested, te can watch it here:
(I wanted to leave a hyperlink, but that somehow didn't work, so te have to copy and paste, sorry)