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Film / Snow White (1916)

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Snow White is a 1916 film based off of a 1912 Broadway adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is the earliest film adaptation of the tale. Theatrical star Marguerite Clark reprises her role as the titular Snow White, while Creighton Hale and Dorothy Cumming play Prince Florimond and Queen Brangomar respectively.

Disney's famous Animated Adaptation of the story was inspired by this adaptation, which Walt Disney saw at age 15.

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The film was thought to be lost until a copy with Dutch intertitles was found in Amsterdam in 1992. The film lacks some scenes but is mostly complete.


Snow White contains examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: After Brangomar's exile at the end, Snow White, still young enough to be in school, starts her rule of the kingdom.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The evil queen was originally a lady of the court. She asked a witch to make her more beautiful in return for Snow White's heart in the future. This is also why the original queen died and how the evil queen received the magic mirror. When Brangomar became Snow White's step-mother, she forced her to live as a maid.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The evil queen is even worse in this adaptation than she is in the original tale. She killed Snow White's mother and threatened to kill the huntsman's three children.
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  • Age Lift: Snow was seven in the original tale. While her age is unclarified, she's at minimum a teenager.
  • As You Know: After the opening scene of Imogene and Brangomar, a new girl is brought into Snow White's court, and the other girls tell her about Snow's situation.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Cements Snow's status as a scullery maid. When the ladies of her court dress her in a fancy dress to meet the Prince, they take off their shoes so she doesn't feel out of place.
  • Boarding School: Brangomar mentions sending Snow White to a boarding school for wayward princesses for a year. Afterwards, she can marry Florimond. However, Brangomar was really planning to kill Snow and used the boarding school as an excuse to explain her absence.
  • Disappeared Dad: There's no mention of Snow White's father and Brangomar's throne room only contains one throne. The original 1912 play specifies that the king died.
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  • Friend to All Living Things: There's a little bird that Snow White befriends. It helps her get through the woods.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Snow finds out about the Queen's plan to kill Berthold's children and agrees to be killed, but of course Berthold can't bring himself to do it.
  • Hollywood Homely: After the mirror is broken, Queen Brangomar is reduced to this, though the only noticeable difference in the film is her hairstyle. Apparently, she's so ugly, Snow takes pity on her and lets he leave the kingdom in peace.
  • The Kingslayer: Brangomar hated Snow White's beauty and went to a witch to conspire against the infant. As a part of their deal, Queen Imogene perishes within a year and Brangomar takes her place.
  • Kissing Cousins: Snow White and her prince are cousins in this adaptation.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Snow White's biological mother, step-mother, the huntsman, and the prince are all named. They're respectively named Imogene, Brangomar, Berthold, and Florimond respectively. The seven dwarfs are also named as well.
  • Odd Name Out: The dwarfs are named Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick... and Quee.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Brangomar forces Snow White into Riches to Rags and treats her on par, if not worse than, a maid. She later conspires to kill her step-daughter.
  • Wicked Witch: The Witch Hex, as she is named in the play. She doesn't appear to be too malicious, however, only doing what Brangomar asks because Brangomar is her goddaughter, and becomes something of a Cool Old Lady by helping Snow and Florimond get married. She is a bit more malicious in the film, as she does request Snow White's heart, but once the mirror is broken, she is more than giddy to settle for Brangomar's long braids.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Brangomar hated from Snow White from birth and told a witch she'd give her Snow White's heart one day. She also threatens the huntsman's children with starvation if he doesn't kill Snow White.
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