Thursday, April 05, 2007

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Original theatrical poster for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Directed by William Cottrell
Wilfred Jackson
Larry Morey
Perce Pearce
Ben Sharpsteen
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Dorothy Ann Blank
Richard Creedon
Merrill De Maris
Otto Englander
Earl Hurd
Dick Rickard
Ted Sears
Webb Smith
Gustaf Tenggren
Based on the fairy tale preserved by the Brothers Grimm
Starring Adriana Caselotti
Lucille La Verne
Pinto Colvig
Roy Atwell
Billy Gilbert
Scotty Mattraw
Otis Harlan
Harry Stockwell
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) December 21, 1937 (USA)
Running time 83 minutes
Country Flag of United States United States
Language English
Budget $1,488,000 USD (est.)
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 animated feature, the first produced by Walt Disney Productions. Although it was not the first full-length animated feature to be produced (the 1917 Argentinian film El Apóstol holds that distinction, and there are seven other earlier ones), it was the first animated feature to become widely successful within the English-speaking world and the first to be filmed in Technicolor.

Snow White was produced by Walt Disney Productions, premiered on December 21, 1937, and released generally to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 8, 1938. The film was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith from the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm. David Hand was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the film's individual sequences.

The plot of the film explores the true story of a jealous and wicked queen's attempt to have her stepdaughter murdered, but she escapes and is given shelter by seven dwarfs who live deep in a forest. Snow White was the most successful motion picture released in 1938, and is the tenth highest-grossing film of all time within the United States when adjusted for inflation.[1]

Cartoons make children happy and amaze not only kids , but also adults and among them filmmakers . We would imagine that Brahim Sayah was influenced by the making of early cartoons such as Snow White and the seven dwarfd and developped his rythmographic techniques wihtin this idea.(Allal)

Brahim Sayah, reflecting memory and image of a nation

Designed by a beautiful cinematic signs , Brahim Sayah’s visit card was a wonder and magical tool that any cinemagoer would love to have and marvell at.Ever since 1948,this giant man of cinema had worked in movies either in his native land Morocco, or his inspiring second country, France.
In his elegant manner of debating and talking , Brahim Sayah was a didactic and practical man .His soft and spiritual face reminds me of a great Tarkovskian actor , Erland Josephson in ‘Sacrifice’ .He was certainly a man of rythm and had a sense of great vision in montage .This echoed his golden age of dubbing stage great French and Indian movies for the Arab world especially Grand Maghreb audiences .

The dubbing was expicilty done into arabic slang .That time American and Italian movies were prevailing Grand Maghreb theatres . People would find it difficult to go to cinemas because of street repressions by the colonists . Brahim Sayah volontarily exiled to France where he met brilliant technicians of editing and dubbing whose influence played a major role to make him become a master in his work. He was a remarking man who had great impact on Moroccan memory. He knew what he proudly did in his past, either as a dubbing rythmographic man or simply as a dialog writer and looping cutter . He kept siting with intense care and tenderness that he was a man of Doublage , a common french word that even the most prolific sound designer in America , Walter Murch would use .

In his cultural filmic background , he knew classical french cinema ,Nouvelle vague and Sergei Eisenstein movie ‘Bronenosets Potyomkin’*and mainly ‘ the conversation ‘ a unique movie about sound by Francis Ford coppola.
Brahim would see this movie too many times because it gave him power and feeling of the sound « It's a film that has an intensely single point of view. Everything in the film is seen or experienced by Harry Caul [Gene Hackman]. You know he's a soundman, and the film never lets you off the hook, so after a while, you just begin to accept the fact that you, too, are a soundman and you, too, should consider that sound is important. » .

One of his inspiring french movie he firstly worked with was ‘ Le Bossu ‘directed by Jean Delannoy in 1944. It was dubbed stage into classical arabic with excellent arab actors and actresses like Jamil Ratib, Mona wassif , Hassan Baba, Hanae and Mohammed Kabssi. Amazingly the mood of working was artistically fervent between arabs and french .Most of his technicians were french such as Delparthe,Transpurse and Jacques Orth. Because this technical experience was a marvellous success , Brahim with his french team worked in other french movies ‘ l’homme qui rétrécit ‘ directed by Jack Arnold and later on ‘ children of the sun ‘ directed by Jacques Sévérac.

Francorex films , a production compagny admired Sayah’s artistic achievements, proposed to him an Indian movie called ‘ Saki and the lamp of Aladin’ . Although Indian movies were and still so long in metrage about 3000 and 4000 metres, Brahim Sayah was impressed by this genre of cinema, full of beautiful colours ,romantic scenes and godlike lyrics sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore and Mukesh . It especially reminded him of his dear country,Morocco . The Grand Maghreb actors and actresses would compete so hard and so well to have the leading roles . Hamido Ben Masoud and Ahmed Ziani would dub stage great indian actors like Filip Kumar and Shammi Kapoor , others like Haj Omar, Mohiedine Bostarji from Algeria and Ali Ben Ayad , ex- director of Tunis Theatre would dub stage other heroic roles too . Humor and exquisite jokes would be inserted into cinematic dialogs by Taeb Saddiki , a Moroccan dramaturge who proudly honored the era when he worked with Brahim Sayah. Gaumont and Pathé kept having an eye on Brahim Sayah ,and In fact, they proposed him other great projects like ‘ FanFan La Tulipe ‘ starring Gerard Philip, ‘A toi de jouer callagan ‘ Ces Dames préférent le Mambo’ and ‘ Ulysse’ starring Kirk Douglass . These projects were dubbed stage by the master with the help of actors and students namely Nour-eddine Ayouch who superheads now a production house in Morocco. These films were distributed in the middle east and north of Africa .

Indian cinema had a tremendous influence on Brahim Sayah .His double culture and exquiste intellect of his personality illuminated his mind and character to work on Hindi movies such as ‘ Mother India ’ directed by Mahboob and ‘ Dosti ’. In 1950, Telma the compagny that installed the first national television in Morocco signed with him a contract to dubb stage Hindi movies . The master called Rabat and casablanca actors and actresses inluding the ones who were with him in France . Mustapha Mounir, Habiba El Madkouri excellently performed with precise diction and tones roles of Nargis and Amitabh Bachchan. Unforgetable Hindi movies dubbed stage into Moroccan slang are still in the memory of cinemagoers and just recently on ‘ Thursday cinema ‘ televised program in the first channel were diffused . They were still loved and too many Moroccans still learnt by heart these movies songs mentioning ‘ Al Hariboun Min Jahannam ‘ Emir Ahmed ‘ and ‘ Mangala ’.


Actors and Actresses


1952 - 1963
Mohammed Kabssi –Taeb Saddiki
Hamido Ben Masoud Ahmed Ziani
Mohiedine Bostarji Ali Ben Ayad Jamil Ratib Mona wassif Hassan Baba– Students in France –Nour-eddine Ayouch…

1963 - 1974
Studio Swissi-Morocco

Rabat artists : Hamido.Larbi Doughmi, Abdel razzak Hakam, Habiba al Madkouri, Hassan Joundi Adessamad Dinia Aziz Mawhoub
Casablanca Artists :Zaki El Howari Wafaa El Harraoui Mohammaed Said Afifi Hassan Skalli Mhammed El Habachi Omar chanbouth khadija assad , Taeb Saddiki.. ;

1974 - 1975/76

Rabat artists : Hamido.Larbi
Doughmi, Abdel razzak Hakam, Habiba al Madkouri, Hassan Joundi Hamadi Tounessi,Latifa Alaoui, Haj Fannan ;Mohammes Karrat ;
Casablanca Artists :Hassan Skalli and his wife , khadija assad , Taeb Saddiki…


How Brahim Sayah was inspired to dubb movies remained a mystical fact.
Indeed, Brahim as a proud man in his country , he marched the Mohamed the fiveth avenue one evening in the late of the fiveties, and then he decided to watch an American film at a movie theatre called EL Colisé .Unfortunatly this theatre became a coffee-shop now. when the film finished , he just asked himself why he could not translate foreign movies into Arabic so that all kind of people would taste the magic of cinema.And that was it .

His theory to work on dubbing was interestingly professional . In the auditorium of the Swissi studio , he would never start to dubb quickly . Taking time to read and reread the movie , was a technical skill so that to achieve the best . In fact, Brahim watched and listened to movies very carfully . He intended to know first the ryhtm, then the pace and at last the tone of the drama . His ears would have then interesting vibrations and only then the master began to dub stage .Brahim stood vey long times in front of mirrors so as to repeat lines . He observed very carefully his lips and his tonic accent . Nowadays , in big post- productions , they use technical terms like ADR, Pitch, SFX and so on .The task was heavy but Brahim Sayah insisted passionatly to do and redo the translation from the language of text into the new language of image and time.Any dubber in the world would be amazed about Brahim ‘s techniques to finish his montage. Sayah divided his filmic sequences into loops in order to work easily. Another technique of Brahim was to use a rythmographic theory .That means, he projected transparent cinematic loops marked by a black line so that it could be easily read for the actor to say his lines .The image and the written word were a hell of a task for him though he was helped by his friends and artists .

In this context Walter Murch states « There's a different weight that a moment (of picture and sound) carries in film, compared to the same moment conveyed by the written word. Everything in film is specific: this person with this colour hair, saying these lines in this way, dressed in these clothes, lit by this light slanting at this angle, with these sounds in the background, etc. These details are always on screen. Every time you see a certain character, you are reminded of his haircut, his gait, the colour of his eyes. A novelist need mention eye colour only once. The mass of all those details, and therefore the amount of processing that your brain is obliged to do, gives a heft to film that text, which is suggestive and allusive, does not command. So you can often "take corners" in text - make sudden leaps and transitions - at speeds that would wreck the film. On the other hand, sometimes the opposite is true: The old saw that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is quite valid under the right circumstances. »

Recently, I watched actors and musicians, all fitted with earphones, as they recorded dialogue and music. Actors followed a rhythmic pattern in speaking, and the director followed a prescribed tempo in wielding his baton. Each syllable, each musical note, started on a musical beat and ended on a musical beat.
Recently, I watched actors and musicians, all fitted with earphones, as they recorded dialogue and music. Actors followed a rhythmic pattern in speaking, and the director followed a prescribed tempo in wielding his baton. Each syllable, each musical note, started on a musical beat and ended on a musical beat.

Graphs of the voices, with the words uttered, were delivered to the artists who, studying the graphs and listening to the voices, created the action, forming mechanically with pen-and-ink lips the words being played back to them.

When an animator drew the various lip movements required to form a word, he frequently consulted the sound track, to know precisely in how many frames he must complete the drawings. When the dwarfs tumbled into dishes and glassware, knocking them crashing to the floor, he listened to the sound film that he might synchronize the pictures to the noise.

Sound presents a constant problem to the cartoon maker, for he cannot store noises on film in concrete vaults for future use, as in the case of live action. Here, again, he must match action and noise, frame by frame.

In one scene, one of the dwarfs climbs the stairs, becomes frightened, and the six other dwarfs, taking fright, run pell-mell into the dishes. Falling crockery sounds like something entirely different through a loud speaker, so the sound crew carefully stacked an assortment of boxes on the sound stage, hung the mike near-by, and recorded the series of bumps and crashes as they tumbled to the floor. Later, artists, listening to a play-back of the sound track, matched it bump by bump, the pictures being drawn to synchronize with the noises. Breaking glass later was matched when two men dropped a large pane eight feet from a ladder to the floor.

Other actions called for in the script complicated the sound men’s job. How would a talking mirror sound? What kind of noise would seven dwarfs make when eating soup—and, more important, how could the noise be represented on the sound track? Posers, these problems; but ingenious magicians with sound solved them.

IT WAS decided that should a mirror ever actually speak, there would emerge from its silvered surface a sepulchral, masculine voice. For weeks, voices were recorded in boxes, through sheets, before sounding boards. At last a sound technician hit upon the idea of building a square box with old drumheads stretched taut over five sides, leaving an opening in the sixth. Through that opening an actor placed his head, spoke the prescribed lines into a nearby mike, and became the talking mirror.

As for the soup, seven studio workers sat at a table for a day and a half, intermittently sipping malted milk and eating wafers. Short, quick “slurps” represented tenor parts; long “slurps,” bass.

When the dwarfs washed their faces and sang, seven men skilled in the recording of unusual sounds stood around a water tank the size of five bath tubs, alternating washing their faces and dipping their heads into the water, singing at times while their faces were submerged. The underwater sounds being recorded by a shielded microphone. And to represent a character slushing through a fanciful swamp, the tank was filled with mud, and a man walked in the mud several hours, in tempo with a metronome whose tick-tick came to him through earphones.

Meanwhile, application of color, which has achieved great perfection in cartoons, has become as mechanical as the creation of sound effects. For a full-figure shot, Snow White appears in fifteen tints, selected from among 350 standard colors available in the studio paint shop. These vary from tint 685-1/2 (yellow shoes) to pastel 23 (cheeks). When she sings, six colors are added to her eyes and mouth for close-ups, these ranging from orange-yellow on
the lids to light red for the lips. Upon each drawing is noted the particular colors to be added to the several areas, and thereafter scores of girls complete the many paintings by spotting colors according to number.

PAINTINGS on three to seven cels appear in a single shot, the number depending upon the action and characters. In its simplest form, usually four cels are used.

Suppose Snow White is photographed singing. For this sequence, provided her figure is to move, the lowest cel contains the “setting,” perhaps a wall of the house. Next above appears her body, minus arms and head.

To show the necessary movements, which match the song recorded several weeks earlier, two cels, one containing a painting of her head and the other
her arms, are placed in series above her body. After each exposure, new cels are put in to take the place of these.

This process continues for perhaps sixty frames, enough to complete a well-rounded word. Projected at standard speed of twenty-four pictures a second, the many paintings blend to create the necessary illusion of motion in color.

ONCE past the animation stage, which consists of completing the multitude of drawings representing whole and part figures, making the cartoon was largely mechanical, although requiring a precision found in the finest machine manufacture.

“Ink and paint” represent the manufacturing bottle neck, for a movie cartoon can progress no more rapidly than skilled hands complete the multitude of drawings. Since this cartoon required an average of twenty-two individual painted cels for each foot of completed picture, 166,352 finished paintings were exposed to the camera.

These moved at the rate of ninety feet of film daily through the camera, which, requiring 1,960 paintings every twenty-four hours, represent the world’s biggest and most exacting job of paintingGraphs of the voices, with the words uttered, were delivered to the artists .(, studying the graphs and listening to the voices, created the action, forming mechanically with pen-and-ink lips the words being played back to them.(