Written by Nigel Lewis-Dawson
Enter Stage Right – Sir Walt Disney
Disney’s first full length cartoon was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”, originally named “Sneewittchen” or “Little Snow White” in the 1812 volume.
It is true to say that nearly everyone other than Disney, even family members, thought this as a serious error of judgement on Disney’s part and the end of Disney Studios. The proposal was christened “Disney’s Folly.”
I have a feeling that nearly 75 years later there are a few people still eating their words.
The Disney company used several other tales that appeared in the Brothers Grimm original 1812 publication. Disney does not attribute all these stories to the Brothers Grimm, but attributes other authored versions of the story: -
- Sleeping Beauty
- Tangled (Rapunzel)
- Order of Seven (Snow White)
- Cinderella (Charles Perrault)
There may be other stories similar within the Disney catalogue, but a lot of parallels could be drawn with this amount of stories.
Disney is obviously not the only one to use the stories first published 200 years ago, they have been told many times in many different ways, in many different media formats.
There is no doubt someone will always find a new way to tell the tales with a different twist, some will be good, some will be poor, whether the authors will realise where the basis of their stories came from originally is not known.
By coincidence I was flicking through the channels on my TV the other day and came across a programme called “Grimm”. As I was writing this article and the name was spelt the same as the Brothers I pressed the ‘info’ button and discovered it was a series based on the tales of the Brothers Grimm.
Basically there are a group of people named ‘Grimm’s’ who are put in place to protect us poor mortals from some very scary, villainous baddies first identified by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of stories in 1812. The Brothers are credited with being the ‘original profilers’.
I watched an episode, although I didn’t realise at the time there was a continuous story flowing through it. The episode starts with a quote on screen from one of the original stories, mine was from the 3 bears and loosely followed that story throughout the episode. The baddies, in this case, being humans morphing back and forth to bears.
I am not sure if I’ll watch another episode, but it was really nice to see the Brothers Grimm being used 200 years later.
Violence For Children
The furore surrounding the violence seen by children in all forms of media is probably quite justified, but has it always been like that? The end paragraph of the 1857 Cinderella features the 2 step-sisters having their eyes pecked out by birds. If you read the following line it is the last line of the 1812 “Little Snow White”
“Then they put a pair of iron shoes into the fire until they glowed, and she had to put them on and dance in them. Her feet were terribly burned, and she could not stop until she had danced herself to death.“
Whatever your thoughts are on the collection of ‘Fairy Tales’ published by the Brothers Grimm, I think they deserve a big thank you for collecting these tales together and publishing them so that we can still enjoy them, in whatever form, 200 years later.
I would like to acknowledge the website of the University of Pittsburgh for the invaluable resources I have drawn a lot of this information from. http://www.pitt.edu/
- Again to the Brothers Grimm (readaloudsforallchildren.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Grimm’s Fairy Stories (aworldofrandomness.wordpress.com)
- New Fairytale Retelling of the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin (prweb.com)
- Saint Edward’s “Into the Woods” a mash-up of Grimm fairy tales (tcpalm.com)
- ‘Snow White’ Vs ‘Mirror Mirror’: A Tale Of Two Trailers (moviesblog.mtv.com)
- The Sinister Side Of Fairy Tales (gizmodo.com.au)
- Grimm episode 111: Spinnetod, Black Widows, The Goblin Spider, and Tarantella (examiner.com)