This review deals specifically of The Fairest One of All. To read the review of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, click here.
The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an expansive, rich telling of the history and making of Walt Disney’s classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is the first book of its kind to so thoroughly reconstruct Snow White’s production process with such great amounts of detail and attention. Author J.B. Kaufman spent years gathering information, interviewing participants and viewing artwork in the Disney archives in order to present the world with this 320-page beauty.
Unlike, the other book I reviewed, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is is a visual catalogue and companion piece to the Snow White exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum, The Fairest One of All is much broader in its focus: it goes beyond merely showing production and concept art for the each of the film’s scenes, but tells the Walt Disney Snow White story from start to finish. The first chapter details “The Birth of the Tale” and goes back to 1812 when the Brother’s Grimm first included the story in their book of fairy tales. We then learn about other early renditions of Snow White in print, stage and screen. I loved this part of the book because it created wonderful exposition to Walt’s version, helping the reader gain a foundation about the classic fairy tale before delving into the specifics of the Disney endeavor.
The main meat of the book comes in the 200+ page “The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” section, which details character design, production and the film in general. This is where the majority of the overlap from the other Snow White book comes. But again, this book goes beyond merely showing artwork by including behind-the-scenes stories, commentary and history that the other book leaves out (for the most part). This book becomes much like an all-encompassing written documentary about Snow White, which should delight avid Disney, animation or film fans.
The last section of the book talks about Snow White’s release and the film’s legacy. These pages are filled with beautiful domestic and international move posters and photos of Walt and the Snow White crew. We learn about a discarded Snow White sequel, Snow White’s influence on the other princess tales and how the Dwarfs got involved in the war effort. All of these stories are fascinating because they take the film beyond the scope of the theatre, showing how pervasive these characters became in both Disney and world culture.
Ever since its release in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has remained on the pedestal as one of the greatest films ever made. The film was a critical and commercial success, while also ushered in the short-lived first golden age of animation. The Fairest One of All is a lovely, beautiful book that provides a treasure trove of information about this iconic film. If you are a fan of film, animation or simply anything Disney, then this book is a must-have for your collection. You’ll find yourself engulfed in its information and visually rich pages and returning to read it again and again.
Published by Weldon Owen. The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is available October 16, 2012. Buy the book on Amazon here!