The Grimm version of “Snow White” was made in 1812 while the Disney film was made in 1937. There a many differences and similarities between the two tales; however, the main difference is the singing and dancing that is in the film. In the film, the tale is portrayed as being more happy and imaginative to the children’s eye. In the Grimm version, I feel as though it is more of a story just being told. The music adds effect to each of the characters, like the dwarfs and Snow White.
Another difference in “Snow White” is the dwarfs. In the film, they each have a name and their own personality representing the name that was given to them: Sneezy, Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, and Dopey. In the Grimm tale, there were no names for the dwarfs. They just all seemed to be the same kind of dwarf because none of them were given different personalities. As someone from the audience, I would think that the 7 dwarfs in the Grimm version were just replicas of each other. But in the film, each dwarf was given their own qualities. In both the film and Grimm version, the dwarfs play one role and that is to protect Snow White. Even though in the Grimm version, the dwarfs also taught her lessons, they still protected her and took her into their home on one condition: for Snow White to also take care of them. She was to be that maternal figure for the dwarfs; cook and clean and do all those other feminine duties.
The Queen’s death and her weapons used to kill were also a difference in the film and Grimm version. In the movie, she falls off a cliff trying to kill the dwarfs. In my opinion, this death is more children-friendly than having the queen wear red hot slippers and dancing until she dies. Also, in the Grimm version, it was Snow White and the prince who pretty much killed the queen by making her wear the slippers; unlike in the movie where Snow White is still so much more innocent. Plus, in the Grimm tale, the queen tries three times to kill Snow White and they all fail because she is just unconscious, not dead. In the movie, they use the apple as a symbol of deception, temptation, and femininity. The lace and the comb, as used in the Grimm tale, were used as women weapons and a form of femininity also, but were not used in the movie. The apple was more important in the film and was used to kill only once.
Lastly, the prince had more of an important role in the movie than in the Grimm version. He was the savior for the “damsel in distress.” In the movie, his kiss is what awoke Snow White of her unconsciousness. In the Grimm version, his need for the glass coffin and the beautiful Snow White in it is what helped to jolt the apple out of Snow White’s throat. This was like an “accidental” save made by the prince (mainly the prince’s servants). I think Disney made this change to help ensure that happy ending just like in “Sleeping Beauty” and in “Cinderella” where a man actually comes and sweeps the lady off her feet and saves her from distress.
The character Snow White is the most similar in both the Grimm version and the Disney version of the tale. She is still passive and naïve. She is not an independent thinker. She is innocent in both versions of the tale. But, in the Grimm version she does add a hint of revenge to her personality by making the queen wear hot slippers until she falls down dead. However, in both tales, she is passive and is very accepting of people and their offers; like with the dwarfs offer of allowing her to stay with them, and with the queen’s offer with the apple (and other feminine weapons in the other version).
Disney diverted from the original version of the tale to give hope to the people during the Great Depression. A theme I have noticed in the movie was that “good things happen to those who wait” and in Disney’s version of “Snow White” good things happened to Snow White and the dwarfs because they waited. The dwarfs were hardworking little men during the Great Depression and were portrayed to the audience as being rewarded because of their hard work. Disney’s film is very different from the Grimm version of the tale just because Disney brought upon hope and considered the time period of when he was making the film to help the people of the Great Depression look forward to some reward for them not to give up and keep working hard.