There’s a lot of Snow White around right now, so I wrote about it for the Telegraph.

Everything’s coming up Snow White. Last week I saw my third film version in one year. Blancanieves, an exquisite black & white silent movie from Spanish director Pablo Berger, follows Tarsem Singh’s Mirror, Mirror (showcasing the final work of the late Eiko Ishioka, costume designer extraordinaire) and Snow White and the Huntsman, now probably best known for the offscreen shenanigans between its director and leading lady, Kristen Stewart. And two new books containing versions of the story have been published – Poison by Sarah Pinborough, and Twisted Fairy Tales by Maura McHugh.

To read more, please click on the Wicked Queen…


As if the Evil Queen weren’t evil enough already, here she is doing a Nazi salute.

I urge you to see Blancanieves, if you get a chance. It really is wonderful, and it made me cry.


I recently revisited Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), primarily to see how much screentime the Evil Queen had – less than 12 minutes, in all, yet she left an indelible impression on generations of children. Anyhow, various things occurred to me while I was watching, so I ended up more or less live-tweeting it.

“Snow White’s mother wished for a daughter who was white, black & red? Would
have been great if she’d come out with black skin & white hair.”

“When Snow White lets all those wild animals into the dwarves’ house, it’s a
good thing they don’t defecate everywhere.”


“If one of the dwarves is a Doc, how come he’s working down mines & not
operating on people? What kind of Khmer Rouge regime is this anyway?”

“The Wicked Queen needs a magic spell to “change my queenly raiment to a
pedlar’s cloak”? Hello! Why doesn’t she just CHANGE HER CLOTHES?”

“Evil Queen Cocktail = mummy dust + black of night + old hag’s cackle +
scream of fright + blast of wind + thunderbolt”


“If Evil Queen can harness thunderbolts & wind & other cool stuff, WHY THE
HELL is she so obsessed with winning a provincial beauty contest?”

“Nice throne.”

“The King is strangely absent from Disney’s Snow White. I wonder
if he was evil too, or just weak, or maybe dead, or in a coma.”



“Disney never says what happened to the Huntsman who fooled Evil Queen with
a boar’s heart. I bet she had him tortured & his family killed.”

“She is actually a failed cannibal. She THOUGHT she was
eating Snow White’s heart, but it was just a pig’s.”


The very wonderful Jonathan Romney has alerted me to the existence of BRANCA DE NEVE (2000) by controversial avant-garde Portuguese film-maker João César Monteiro – a version of Snow White consisting mostly of a blank screen, with audio track. Here it is on YouTube, though alas without English subtitles.


7 thoughts on “SNOW WHITE

  1. Can’t say I was ever a fan of Disney’s Snow White, thick as mince and wetter than an otter’s washbag.

    But I am trying to remember who the drawn characters were based on? They used some live action film as a template for SW, but I’m not sure whose face they chose. And who was the inspiration for Evil StepMother? (and why is she wearing a snood? It’s all a bit Emperor Ming!)

    ESM does look a bit like Bette Davis, but she would have been too young?

    Dust of Mummy, is an ingredient that goes back centuries, (it’s in Othello). Odd that it should pop up in a 20thC kids cartoon when newts, bats and frogs would be expected.

    (Didn’t know about TS and EI’s involvement with Mirror,Mirror might have to look it out. Though that might take a while, I’ll just have to content myself by rewatching ‘A Company of Wolves’ in the interim.)

  2. Interesting detail about mummy dust in Othello – I did not know that. When I was small I used to LOVE the witches’ scenes in Macbeth, particularly the lists of ingredients.

    I’m of a mind that it’s actually worth watching films JUST for Eiko Ishioka’s costumes. I liked Immortals almost entirely because of them. Mirror, Mirror is dumb (Julia Roberts is campy fun – but probably only if you like Julia Roberts, as I do, quite) but the costumes are spectacular. We shall not see Ishioka’s like again.

  3. I was gob-smacked (in a good way) by the look of the fantasy scenes in ‘The Fall’ (even though the linking story is a bit dull.)

    I might have to put ‘Immortals’ on the list as well, I was a bit so-so about the idea of another sword and sandal epic, after some of the very poor recent offerings that came in the wake of ‘Gladiator’ and ‘300’.

    JR was fun (if under used) in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, and like a lot of female actors, it’s only when they get past the ‘kitten’ stage in their career, do they show (or are allowed to show) what they can really do.

    (The mummy in Othello was used to dye the fateful handkerchief, which is unusual it was very expensive and normally taken internally.)




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