The Grimm Brothers “Snow White: A Tale of Terror”
Snow White has been adapted and retold many times over the years, yet it has largely been ignored as a dark and somewhat tragic story. This version was the original before Disney turned it into a fairytale cartoon. The producers have employed many strategies to make the content suitable for various target audiences by changing the mise-en-scene. Halfway through the film is a panning shot of something that has captured Snow Whites attention. “Panning is a method that requires you to move the camera while taking the photograph. When done correctly your moving subject is sharp against a blurred background.
It is used frequently when following a moving subject, as it travels across your view”. A person leaning against a tree. The music turns from being gentle to dramatic and suspenseful music. Snow White (wearing a white silk dress with a red cloak) moves towards the man who she knows. The white dress symbolises a clean and innocent person. Also by seeing the type of clothing worn you can associate what time period it is”It tells us immediately whether the film is set in the present and what society and/or culture it will centre around.
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It may also provide a clue as to the part the character will play in the action. (Costume, Hair & Make-Up, costume) . He looks distressed. The camera moves closer and closer to the man. As he starts to move the camera moves along side with him slowly, moving down his body to reveal a dagger. The music changes to a faster and more action type of music. A chase begins. Snow White is being chased in a forest by her friend with a dagger. The camera angles are from the man (point of view) at Snow White and from a first and third person view from both the characters. As the chase is in a forest the chase is never in a straight line dodging trees and stumps.
Quite predictably she falls to the ground then gets back up again. She falls again but this time down a hill and unable to stop rolling she drops in a hole. The man goes away thinking that he can’t get her now. Snow White is in a dark place with the only light getting through from the holes in the roof of the cave. From the music going fast it slows down as she walks on. There is a lot of dust in the air as it can be seen through the light. A new scene opens which looks like the man involved in the chase hitting the camera with a large rock. There is no music but a sound of a pig screaming.
The man is hitting it with the rock. The camera angle is from a low point of view as if you were 2ft tall looking up. Blood is squirted on his face as he hits the pig. The man stands up and the camera moves back to reveal the dagger again. He takes it out and moves down out of shot. The man returns to the evil step mother putting a pouch on the table. The step mother is looking out of the window as a thunder storm starts. A sign of a thunder storm starting gives the step mother a evil edge as the audience may think that she started it. When the pouch is placed on the table the camera focuses on the pouch.
The step mother’s image is blurred. No music or sound is used until the pouch is opened to reveal a raw heart. Step mother kisses the man, he is scared of her. Camera focuses on the tow faces as she kisses him. The man is told to put the heart in the evenings stew. The next scene focuses on a plate being laid on the table. Sounds of cutlery being moved by the maids can be heard. Words are exchanged. The picture then focuses on the step mum taking a spoon and taking a piece of stew onto the spoon and into her mouth. The camera only focuses on the spoon until it reaches the mouth.
The camera moves to the husband who is worried about where his daughter maybe and plays with his food. Just before he puts the food into his mouth a man walks in with news that Snow Whites horse has been found. The next scene jumps to Snow White climbing a forest hill. The thunder storm reaches her and she looks down to see a carcase. The screen flashes and she can see a wolf with glowing eyes, the wind picks up. The music picks up as she runs into what looks like an abandoned cottage. As she walks in a wolf howling can be heard from a distance.
The cottage is dark with only light ource being a broken window, this effect is called chiaroscuro “The term “chiaroscuro” was originally derived from the Italian linguistic compound describing the opposing forces of light -“chiaro”, and dark -“scuro”, within an artistic context. ” The music becomes mystical. You can hear the sounds of bones banging together and then the sounds of rats. Snow White jumps when she hears the rat, then a rat runs past and the music hits a loud note then back down again. Day becomes night as people are looking for Snow White. You can hear the sounds of the horse’s hoofs hitting the floor.
The thunder storm is well under way as it starts to rain heavily. The scene changes to a camera angle taken from below the castle, then to the bedroom where the wife is on the bed with what looks like half a heart. She begins to laugh as she runs the heart down her mouth, down her neck and to her breast. The heart leaves a thick blood trail. The music becomes more evil as she laughs and gets off the bed and dances around the room with the heart which she thinks is Snow Whites, she continues to laugh. At this point the audience should realise that all the intentions of the step mother are bad.
She is an evil character. It is obvious that she doesn’t care all the suffering she has brought to her husband. The scene changes to her husband on a horse galloping fast. The laugh continues although you can not see the step mother, this is called a sound bridge. A huge thunder roars and lighting rips across the sky and the horse jumps onto its two feet throwing the man onto the floor. The scene changes again to the step mother and she is still dancing and laughing thinking that her step daughter is dead. The camera is behind her not too close and you can see her whole body (a mid-shot).
In the room you can see and hear Snow Whites rot weiler barking and jumping. As she dances in round circles and laughs even harder she begins to cough and falls to the floor. The heart drops near the dog and the dog eats it. The music becomes more violent as she coughs harder and brings up the piece of heart she ate earlier. Her coughing up the heart is a meaning of something has gone wrong and Snow White is not dead. The heart in her hand drops to the floor and the camera jumps to a candle mounted on a cabinet which has the mirror inside. The candle relights.
The camera focuses on the candle blurring the step mother away. A voice from the mirror which is actually her voice says “you know the truth, you’ve failed”. The scene then jumps to a round window with a flower shaped frame. A figure which looks like the grim reaper goes past with axe and all. The camera then pans down to reveal Snow White sleeping on the floor. Then the camera pans across the floor to a pair of feet on the floor. The feet move along and see some more. The camera stays on the floor only revealing the feet of the people walking. On person stops and lowers his pick axe and walks toward Snow White.
As the camera gets closer Snow Whites face gets brighter indicating that the camera is taking a first person view as the light source. The light gets closer and closer and Snow White wakes up. A body from behind grabs her and puts there hand across her mouth and says not to say a word. At the point of her waking up the music gets louder and louder. While watching this film the audience would get a mixed felling as at the start of the film the mother of Snow White dies and the husband must cut the baby out of the mother to keep it from being eaten by the wolfs.
After that you get to see Snow White as a child playing hide and seek with her minder. At this point the audience would get a safe feeling as Snow White is in a castle and her father has protection at each door way. I recorded the film from channel 4 at 12:35am. I’ve had the tape for a while and cannot remember when it came on. The Grimm Brothers have produced many more stories which Disney has turned into fairytales such as “Beauty and the Beast”.