Cine Suffragette
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Cine Suffragette

The women behind “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)

Snow White does chores (Source: reproduction)
The beginning of a groundbreaking movie (Source: reproduction)

The color girls at Disney’s studio

Cel animation is a woman’s work — at least in the backstage. Most of the animators credited in the opening credits of “Snow White and the seven Dwarfs” are men, but most inkers and painters were women.

A painter working in a cel for “Pinocchio” (Source: Vanity Fair)
Inkers and painters in the 1950s (Source: reproduction)
This magazine article from 1963 presents the several stages of animation. Minnie and Daisy are the inkers and painters (Source: National Geographic, 1963)

The inspirations for Snow White — Hedy Lamarr, Marge Champion and Adriana Caselotti

One of the biggest challenges in making the movie was animating the human characters in a way that didn’t look artificial. That’s why the Prince is barely seen in the film — all efforts were put in animating Snow White. And with the search for naturalness in mind, Disney started the tradition of having actors perform the scenes for animators to get inspired. In the end, Snow White’s looks were a mix of three girls.

Hedy Lamarr in 1933 (Source: reproduction)
Marge Champion poses as Snow White (Source: reproduction)
Adriana Caselotti (Source: reproduction)

The inspirations for the Evil Queen — Joan Crawford and Lucille LaVerne

Snow White should be the fairest one of all, but the Evil Queen — whose name is Grimhilde, by the way — shouldn’t be a distant second. In order to create the animated personification of evil beauty, the animators drew inspiration from some of the most famous screen sirens of the 1930s.

Helen Gahagan in “She” (Source: reproduction)
Comparison of the Queen’s and Joan Crawford’s faces (Source: reproduction)
Lucille LaVerne has fun posing as the witch (Source: reproduction)

Walt Disney’s mother

No, Walt Disney’s mother was not the inspiration for Snow White nor, luckily, for the Evil Queen. But the story of her life — or rather, the end of her life — is closely tied to the success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

Flora Disney is the second from the left. Walt Disney is in the far right, and next to him stands his only sister, Ruth (Source: reproduction)



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