Translate

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937 - Is It Too Frightening?


SOLD: Evil Queen Cel, Original production cel of the Evil Queen over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - 7 3/4 x 5 3/4", Image 9 1/4 x 7 3/4", Frame 29 1/2 x 26 1/4"; Framed using a black and gold wood frame, 4 acid free mats (the two outer suede) and UV conservation clear glass.


Development on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in early 1934, and by June Walt Disney announced to The New York Times the production of his first feature, to be released under Walt Disney Productions.  Before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Disney studio had been primarily involved in the production of animated short subjects in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series.  However, Disney hoped to expand his studio's prestige and revenues by moving into features, and he estimated that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could be produced for a budget of $250,000 (this was ten times the budget of an average Silly Symphony).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was to be the first full-length cel animated feature in motion picture history, and as such Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother and business partner Roy Disney, as well as his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it.  The Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the film, while is was in production, as "Disney's Folly."  Disney ended up having to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which would eventually ran up to a total cost of $1,488,422.74; an absolutely massive sum for a feature film in 1937!


SOLD - Original hand-painted and hand inked production animation cel of the Evil Queen; used during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937, Walt Disney Studios; Placed on a hand watercolor non-production background that matches the scene; Framed using a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, an inset hand-carved gold wood interior fillet frame, a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, a hand-carved gold wood exterior frame and Museum Image Perfect UV protective glass; Size - Frame 23" x 22 1/2".

After a long and difficult four years, on January 13, 1938, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall.  The film ran for five weeks in a row, the first motion picture to do so, and it could have played longer if not for prior commitments of the venue. It was to be the theatres' most successful engagement in all of the 1930s.  The film was loved by everyone and Disney, along with his animation team, had managed to make an animated film that the audience would believe!  The crowd would be sad and cry when Snow White bit the apple and was placed in a glass casket; and they would laugh, smile, and be happy during the song and dance numbers with the Dwarfs.  However, Disney was criticized by some for making a very scary film for children.


SOLD - Original hand-painted and hand inked production animation cel of the Evil Queen; numbered 129, and used during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937, Walt Disney Studios together with an original hand-painted reproduction background; Framed using a hand-wrapped linen mat, an inset gold wood interior fillet frame, a hand-wrapped linen mat liner, a hand-carved gold wood exterior frame and Museum Image Perfect UV protective glass; Size - Frame 24 x 27 1/2".

When the movie was played at Radio City Music Hall on its first release, the theater managers had to replace the music played when Snow White runs into the Dark Forest; because they were nervous that the kids would be too frightened upon hearing it.  Snow White's run into the Forest had another result;  young children were still so scared by the sequence, that they wet their pants.  As a result, the velvet upholstery of each and every seat held by a child, had to be replaced prior to every showing of the film.


SOLD: Old Hag (Witch) with Apple Cel, Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the Witch with the poisoned apple on matching lithographic background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - Witch 6 1/2 x 5 1/4", Image 9 1/2 x 13 1/4", Frame 29 x 20 1/4"; Framed with a black and gold wooden frame, three suede acid free mats, and UV conservation clear Museum Perfect glass.

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

The Walt Disney film's version of the Evil Queen changing into an Old Hag is very different compared to the original story.  In the Disney version, the Queen uses her dark magic powers to actually transform herself into an old woman instead of just taking on a disguise; as in the Brothers Grimm story.  Animation provided a transformation scene that is truly spectacular and the Disney team even made the event greater by utilizing the multi-plane camera; to make the room itself appeared to spin.  This sequence along with the flight of Snow White through the Dark Forest; caused the British Board of Film Censors (now, the British Board of Film Classification) to give the film an A-certificate (children had to be accompanied by an adult) upon its original release.  This resulted in a nationwide controversy as to whether the Forest and the Witch were too frightening for younger audiences.  Nevertheless, most local authorities simply overrode the censor's decision and gave the film a U-certificate (Suitable for children).

Walt Disney's response to the idea that the film was too frightening for children was, "I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty."  This may have been his statement, but he never made another film with such a scary villain.  Every film after Snow White had the main villain accompanied by a comedic sidekick; such as Maleficent and her Goons, Cruella de Vil with Horace and Jasper, or Medusa with Snoops.

To view the transformation of the Evil Queen into the Old Hag, click on the video below:

video

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Original production cel of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961


Original hand painted production cel of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Cruella De Vil: 6" x 6", Image 7 1/2" x 10"; Unframed.


Cruella along with Maleficent are two of the most favorite of all the Disney villains, and they were both animated by Marc Davis. The character of Cruella De Vil was created by Dodie Smith for his novel "101 Dalmatians" in 1956, but it was Davis's visual interpretation that the world remembers. Although some of Cruella's traits were based in the novel, Davis along with Bill Peat, morphed the character by making her razor thin and exaggerating her oversized coat onto her thin frame. The long cigarette holder was modeled on one Davis used himself. Inspiration was also drawn from Hollywood legends Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, and Rosalind Russell. Movement, according to Davis, was consistent "like someone you wouldn't like," and another inspiration was based on "one woman I knew who was just a monster. She was tall and thin and talked constantly - you never knew what she was saying, but you couldn't get a word in edgewise."

The voice of Cruella was provided by Betty Lou Gerson. She had worked for Disney prior as the narrator for Cinderella, but her voice talent as Cruella De Vil is her tour de force! The highly pitched phrase "Anita Darling!" is completely iconic and has become part of Disney pop culture.

This is absolutely perfect cel of Cruella De Vil from the scene when she appears just after the birth of Pongo and Perdita's dalmatian puppies. She says, "Fifteen. Fifteen puppies! How marvelous! How marvelous!" In this cel her red gloved hand is up near her face and she is smiling in udder excitement.  She is wearing her classic mink coat; her cigarette with holder, along with the top of her purse can also be seen.


Original production cel of Cruella De Vil without the background.

To view the scene which this cel was used to create, click on the short video below:

video

Original production cel of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox), from "Pinocchio," 1940


Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Foulfellow (Honest John) from "Pinocchio," 1940; Set over a Courvoisier air brush background with a calligraphy titled mat; Framed with two mats, gold wood frame, and glass; Size - Foulfellow: 6 1/2 x 5 1/2", Image 6 3/4 x 7 1/2", Frame 15 x 14 1/2".


Norm Ferguson (Fergy) was the animator responsible for bringing both J. Worthington Foulfellow (The Fox) and Gideon (The Cat) to life.  Fergy is most remembered for his creation of Pluto, but his animation of both Foulfellow and Gideon was one of the true highlights of the film "Pinocchio."  The inspiration for Foulfellow (also called Honest John) was the classic vaudeville acts; with the actor's overdone dialogue and skill at improvisations.  Foulfellow was a very fast talking and persuasive Fox, who would not give poor Pinocchio time to think or respond before moving forward with his own plan to better himself, at the expense of his poor victim.  Although dressed in a top hat, gloves, and a cape; all of his clothing is old, ragged, and with patches throughout.

Walter Catlett provided the voice of Foulfellow and endowed the character with a wonderful sophisticated style, that added to the level of sophistication to this petty criminal.  Catlett had started is own career in vaudeville and new how to impart that style into his reading of Honest John.  In addition, Walter Catlett's voice was also great for Fergy's animation; as it allowed for facial expressions and for mannerisms that enhanced the feel of Honest John.  This combination was perfect and really helped in the development of a much more brilliant character, and one of the most entertaining in the film.

This is a wonderful cel of the Honest John from the very famous scene in "Pinocchio" which occurs at the The Red Lobster Inn where the Coachman meets with Honest John (Foulfellow) and Gideon.  All three are seen smoking, Honest John and Gideon both have cigars and The Coachman has a pipe.  Foulfellow is always looking to make some money and in this cel he is wondering how to make a deal with the evil Coachman; the dialog is below:

Foulfellow: So, Coachman, what's your proposition?
The Coachman: How would you blokes like to make some real money?
[pulls out a big bag of gold pieces, which he drops on the table with a loud clank]


Framed original production cel of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox).

To see the cel made from this drawing in the film, just click on the short video below:

video