Snow White whistled while she worked, and started a phenomenon

Snow White whistled while she worked, and started a phenomenon

Snow White whistled while she worked, and started a phenomenon

Disney animated movies are such an ingrained and familiar part of modern culture that it's impossible to imagine a world without them.

But all great things have to start somewhere, and for the very first animated feature from Walt Disney Productions we have to go all the way back to 1937, when an adaptation of a classic fairy tale made a big impact.

The start of a great tradition
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs begins with a traditional fairy tale premise - a beautiful but lonely young princess is tormented by her wicked stepmother, the vain and spiteful queen.

Terrified that Snow White's beauty will outshine her own, the queen orders a huntsman to kill the princess, but he takes pity on the girl and allows her to escape. Snow White flees through the woods and comes across a cottage belonging to the titular and now iconic dwarfs. She agrees to look after their home if they allow her to stay, and one of cinema's greatest friendships is born.

Arguably the highlight of this part of the film is the musical number Whistle While You Work. Joined by squirrels, songbirds, rabbits, deer and even a couple of turtles, Snow White merrily sings and dances while tidying up the disorderly cottage.

Along with Someday My Prince Will Come and Heigh-Ho, this song helped to start the tradition of Disney movies using catchy tunes and music to tell the story and bring their characters to life.

It also created the recurring Disney motif of characters getting help from animal friends and taking a plucky, 'can-do' approach to challenging tasks. This would be repeated in 1950's Cinderella, and many years later affectionately parodied in 2007's Enchanted.

Of course, in Disney's very first animated feature Snow White's happy existence with the dwarfs doesn't last long. The wicked queen soon learns that she is alive and creates a poisoned apple that will put Snow White into a 'sleeping death', giving rise to more moments and images that would go down in cinema history.

Changing the movie business
It's no exaggeration to say that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs helped to transform the movie industry. It was the first full-length, traditionally animated motion picture, and demonstrated that these sorts of films could be a success, critically and commercially.

While the movie was in production, it was dismissed as 'Disney's folly', and Walt Disney himself had to mortgage his house in order to finance it. His boldness paid off when the film had its full release early in 1938 and made four times as much at the box office as any other motion picture released that year.

By May 1939, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had reached a total international gross of $6.5 million, making it the most successful sound film of all time. Today, it remains one of the American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 greatest American films, and in 2008 the AFI named it the greatest American animated movie of all time.

Here at Aurora, we don't have rabbits, birds and other woodland creatures to help us work, but we can guarantee that our human professionals have the expertise required to keep your workplace or business premises sparkling clean and looking great.


Posted by Julie Tucker