High School Animation Assignments Afi

Before the opening credits are given, a rolling written introduction to the film states: "We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency--its causes--and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. It is in this spirit and with this faith that Blackboard Jungle was produced."
       Evan Hunter's novel was serialized beginning with the Oct 1954 issue of Ladies Home Journal. According to an Apr 1954 NYT news item, M-G-M paid Hunter $95,000 for the rights to his novel. In May 1962, a HR news item reported that writers Murray Burnett and Frederick Stephani accused Hunter of plagiarizing their work, but their suit was dismissed. According to a modern source, director Richard Brooks was originally hired to direct M-G-M's Ben Hur and William Wyler to direct Blackboard Jungle, but Brooks convinced Wyler to switch assignments. In his autobiography, Dore Schary, M-G-M's head of production, recalled that he was urged not to make the film by both Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman and MPPA head Eric Johnston. Schary dismissed their concerns, but soon was asked by Loew's president Nicholas M. Schenk to reconsider. "I had only one argument for Schenk," Schary wrote. "'Nick, you're suggesting I give up on a film that might earn us nine or ...MoreLess

Before the opening credits are given, a rolling written introduction to the film states: "We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency--its causes--and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. It is in this spirit and with this faith that Blackboard Jungle was produced."
       Evan Hunter's novel was serialized beginning with the Oct 1954 issue of Ladies Home Journal. According to an Apr 1954 NYT news item, M-G-M paid Hunter $95,000 for the rights to his novel. In May 1962, a HR news item reported that writers Murray Burnett and Frederick Stephani accused Hunter of plagiarizing their work, but their suit was dismissed. According to a modern source, director Richard Brooks was originally hired to direct M-G-M's Ben Hur and William Wyler to direct Blackboard Jungle, but Brooks convinced Wyler to switch assignments. In his autobiography, Dore Schary, M-G-M's head of production, recalled that he was urged not to make the film by both Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman and MPPA head Eric Johnston. Schary dismissed their concerns, but soon was asked by Loew's president Nicholas M. Schenk to reconsider. "I had only one argument for Schenk," Schary wrote. "'Nick, you're suggesting I give up on a film that might earn us nine or ten million dollars.' Nick asked me how much it would cost. I had a rough estimate of $1,200,000. He said go ahead." Schary added that the final cost of the film was $1,160,000.
       In a 1983 NYT interview, Brooks recalled that M-G-M wanted one of their contract players, either Mickey Rooney or Robert Taylor, to play schoolteacher "Mr. Dadier." Brooks insisted upon casting new, unknown faces, and as a result, hired unpolished actors with little camera experience for many of the roles, thus infusing a raw realism into their performances. Among the actors making their screen debut in this picture were Vic Morrow, Rafael Campos, Dan Terranova, Danny Dennis, and Jameel Farah (who later changed his name to Jamie Farr). Although the studio wanted the film shot in color, Brooks insisted upon black and white because he feared that "color would beautify everything," according to the interview. A 6 Dec 1954 HR news item adds Victor Paul, Loren James, Bill Chaney, Lennie Smith, and Mickey Martin to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Upon its release, the film was greeted by controversy. According to an Apr 1955 DV news item, the school authorities of New Brunswick, NJ, objected to the depiction of school conditions in the film. As a result, the theater circuit was forced to add a disclaimer stating: "To our patrons, the school and situations you have just seen are NOT to be found in this area. We should all be proud of the facilities provided OUR youth by the Public School of New Brunswick..." According to a Mar 1955 HR news item, the film was banned in Memphis, and a Jun 1955 news item in Var reported that the film was banned in Atlanta because it was deemed "immoral, obscene, licentious and will adversely affect the peace, health, morals and good order of the city."
       According to a 21 Mar 1955 HR news item, the Institute for Public Opinion sent postcards to film critics claiming that the film was "anti-public schools" and denying that the conditions depicted onscreen really existed. M-G-M's Schary responded by citing research and news accounts that supported the film's depiction of certain inner-city schools. Clare Boothe Luce, at the time the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, prevented the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival by threatening to walk out if it was shown. Luce claimed that if she attended a performance of the film, she would be "giving ammunition to Italian Communist and anti-U.S. propaganda." Finally, Schary wrote in his autobiography, "Senator Estes Kefauver came to Hollywood to investigate movies--he meant one movie, Blackboard Jungle ....He called me as his first witness. He explained that he was in Hollywood to learn whether we acted responsibly when making [this] film." Schary related that after providing Kefauver with volumes of data on juvenile delinquency, he asked the senator what he found objectionable about the film. "He admitted he had not yet seen it," Schary wrote. "I suggested that there seemed to be a lack of responsibility in his investigation."
       The picture's soundtrack also created a stir. According to Brooks's NYT interview, a Boston theater ran the first reel in silence for fear that the rock and roll music on the soundtrack would over-stimulate the audience. Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock," the recording that played beneath the film's credits, was one of the top ten songs of the year and played an important part in expanding the rock and roll market. In a modern source, Peter Ford, the son of the film's star, Glenn Ford, noted that Brooks borrowed the record from Peter, who at the time was a young rhythm and blues fan. The article goes on to say that M-G-M purchased limited rights to the song from Decca Records for $5,000. Under that agreement, the studio was granted the right to use the song only three times in the film. The film was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography (black and white) and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (black and white). According top a 14 Dec 1954 HR news item, the Producers Theatre was to present a Broadway production based on the Hunter novel, but that production apparently never opened.MoreLess

American Cinematographer

1 Jun 55

pp. 334-35, 358-59.

Box Office

5 Mar 1955.

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Daily Variety

28 Feb 55

p. 3.

Daily Variety

20 Apr 1955.

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Daily Variety

21 Apr 1955.

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Daily Variety

29 Aug 1955.

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Daily Variety

22 Sep 1955.

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Film Daily

28 Feb 55

p. 6.

Hollywood Reporter

11 Nov 54

p. 1.

Hollywood Reporter

12 Nov 54

p. 6.

Hollywood Reporter

18 Nov 54

p. 11.

Hollywood Reporter

6 Dec 54

p. 8.

Hollywood Reporter

17 Dec 54

p. 8.

Hollywood Reporter

28 Feb 55

p. 3.

Hollywood Reporter

21 Mar 55

p. 4.

Hollywood Reporter

30 Mar 55

p. 4.

Hollywood Reporter

4 May 1962.

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Motion Picture Herald Product Digest

5 Mar 55

p. 345.

New York Times

13 Apr 1954.

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New York Times

21 Mar 1955.

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New York Times

15 Jan 1983.

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Few films can claim to be the first to do something, and all of the firsts that exist in cinema only one can claim to be the sole reason a genre exists at all. The 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated film. Walt Disney took a great deal of criticism for attempting to make the film, but the success of the film once it was released was overwhelming. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs proved that it was both entertaining and profitable for film companies to make animated films; and the genre remains among the most popular with viewers of all ages today. The film is listed as #34 on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of the 100 greatest films ever made. It is also considered to be the #1 animated film of all time by the AFI. In the end, one thing will always set Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs apart from and above all other animated films, no other animated film would exist if Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had not proven animated films could be done.(https://sites.google.com/a/district.hannibal.k12.mo.us/film1/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs)


Some of the Original Artwork

Extras:

Some background that might be interesting

​From Wikipedia:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and originally released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, it is the first full-length cel animated feature film and the earliest Disney animated feature film.
Snow White premiered on December 21, 1937 and was a critical and commercial success, and with international earnings of $8 million during its initial release briefly assumed the record of highest grossing sound film at the time. The popularity of the film has led to it being re-released theatrically many times, until its home video release in the 1990s. Adjusted for inflation, it is one of the top ten performers at the North American box office.
At the 11th Academy Awards, Walt Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar, and the film was nominated for Best Musical Score the year before. In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry and is ranked in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, who also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008. Disney's take on the fairytale has had a huge cultural impact, resulting in popular theme park attractions, a video game, and a Broadway musical.
 
Plot
Snow White is a lonely princess living with her stepmother, a vain and wicked Queen. The Queen fears that Snow White's beauty surpasses her own, so she forces Snow White to work as a scullery maid and asks her Magic Mirror daily "who is the fairest one of all". For several years the mirror always answered that the Queen was, pleasing her.
One day, the Magic Mirror informs the Queen that Snow White is now the fairest in the land. The jealous Queen orders her Huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. She further demands that the huntsman return with Snow White's heart in a jeweled box as proof of the deed. However, the Huntsman cannot bring himself to kill Snow White. He tearfully begs for her forgiveness, revealing the Queen wants her dead, and urges her to flee into the woods and never look back. Lost and frightened, the princess is befriended by woodland creatures who lead her to a cottage deep in the woods. Finding seven small chairs in the cottage's dining room, Snow White assumes the cottage is the untidy home of seven orphaned children.

In reality, the cottage belongs to seven adult dwarfs, named Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey, who work in a nearby mine. Returning home, they are alarmed to find their cottage clean and suspect that an intruder has invaded their home. The dwarfs find Snow White upstairs, asleep across three of their beds. Snow White awakes to find the dwarfs at her bedside and introduces herself, and all of the dwarfs eventually welcome her into their home after they learn she can cook and clean beautifully. Snow White keeps house for the dwarfs while they mine for jewels during the day, and at night they all sing, play music and dance.

Meanwhile, the Queen discovers that Snow White is still alive when the mirror again answers that Snow White is the fairest in the land and reveals that the heart in the jeweled box is actually that of a pig. Using potion to disguise herself as an old hag, the Queen creates a poisoned apple that will put whoever eats it into the "Sleeping Death", a curse that can only be broken by "love's first kiss", but dismisses that Snow White will be buried alive. The Queen goes to the cottage while the dwarfs are away, but the animals are wary of her and rush off to find the dwarfs. Faking a potential heart attack, the Queen tricks Snow White bringing her into the cottage to rest. Meanwhile, two vultures (foreshadowing death) watch as events unfold. The Queen tricks Snow White into biting into the poisoned apple, under the pretense that it’s a magic apple that grants wishes. As Snow White falls asleep the Queen proclaims that she is now the fairest of the land. The dwarfs return with the animals as the Queen leaves the cottage and give chase, trapping her on a cliff. She tries to roll a boulder over them but before she can do so, lightning strikes the cliff, causing her to fall to her death. As the Queen falls off the cliff, the vultures fly down after her to pick at her remains.

The dwarfs return to their cottage and find Snow White seemingly dead, being kept in a deathlike slumber by the poison. Unwilling to bury her out of sight in the ground, they instead place her in a glass coffin trimmed with gold in a clearing in the forest. Together with the woodland creatures, they keep watch over her. A year later, a prince, who had previously met and fallen in love with Snow White, learns of her eternal sleep and visits her coffin. Saddened by her apparent death, he kisses her, which breaks the spell and awakens her. The dwarfs and animals all rejoice as the Prince takes Snow White to his castle.
 
Production
Development on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in early 1934, and in June 1934, Walt Disney announced the production of his first feature, to be released under Walt Disney Productions, to The New York Times. One evening that same year, Disney acted out the entire story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to his staff, announcing that the film would be produced as a feature-length film.
Before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Disney studio had been primarily involved in the production of animated short subjects in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series. Disney hoped to expand his studio's prestige and revenues by moving into features, and estimated that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could be produced for a budget of US$250,000; this was ten times the budget of an average Silly Symphony.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was to be the first full-length cel animated feature in motion picture history, and as such Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother and business partner Roy Disney and his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it, and the Hollywood movie industry referred to the film derisively as "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. He had to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which eventually ran up a total cost of $1,488,422.74, a massive sum for a feature film in 1937.
 
Story development
On August 9, 1934, twenty-one pages of notes—entitled "Snowwhite suggestions"—were compiled by staff writer Richard Creedon, suggesting the principal characters, as well as situations and 'gags' for the story. As Disney had stated at the very beginning of the project, the main attraction of the story for him was the Seven Dwarfs, and their possibilities for "screwiness" and "gags"; the three story meetings held in October were dominated by such subjects. At this point, Disney felt that the story should begin with Snow White's discovery of the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs. Walt Disney had suggested from the beginning that each of the dwarfs, whose names and personalities are not stated in the original fairy tale, could have individual personalities. The dwarfs names were chosen from a pool of about fifty potentials, including Jumpy, Deafy, Dizzey, Hickey, Wheezy, Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty and Burpy. The seven finalists were chosen through a process of elimination. The leader of the dwarfs, required to be pompous, self-important and bumbling, was named Doc; others were named for their distinguishing character traits. At the end of the October story meetings, however, only Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sleepy and Happy of the final seven were named; at this point, Sneezy and Dopey were replaced by 'Jumpy' and an unnamed seventh dwarf.

Along with a focus on the characterizations and comedic possibilities of the dwarfs, the eighteen-page outline of the story written from the October meetings, featured a continuous flow of gags as well as the Queen's attempt to kill Snow White with a poisoned comb, an element taken from the Grimms' original story. After persuading Snow White to use the comb, the disguised Queen would have escaped alive, but the dwarfs would have arrived in time to remove it. After the failure of the comb, the Queen was to have the Prince captured and taken to her dungeon, where she would have come to him (story sketches show this event both with the Queen and the Witch) and used magic to bring the dungeon's skeletons to life, making them dance for him and identifying one skeleton as "Prince Oswald", an example of the more humorous atmosphere of this original story treatment. It is written in story notes that the Queen has such magical power only in her own domain, the castle. With the Prince refusing to marry her, the Queen leaves him to his death (one sketch shows the Prince trapped in a subterranean chamber filling with water) as she makes her way to the dwarfs' cottage with the poisoned apple. The forest animals were to help the Prince escape the Queen's minions and find his horse. The Prince was to ride to the cottage to save Snow White, but took the wrong road (despite warnings from the forest animals and his horse, whom he, unlike Snow White, could not understand). He therefore would not have arrived in time to save her from the Queen, but would have been able to save her with love's first kiss. This plot was not used in the final film, though many sketches of the scene in the dungeon were made by Ferdinand Hovarth.

Other examples of the more comical nature of the story at this point include suggestions for a "fat, batty, cartoon type, self-satisfied" Queen. The Prince was also more of a clown, and was to serenade Snow White in a more comical fashion. Walt Disney encouraged all staff at the studio to contribute to the story, offering five dollars for every 'gag'; such gags included the dwarfs' noses popping over the foot of the bed when they first meet Snow White.
Disney became concerned that such a comical approach would lessen the plausibility of the characters and, sensing that more time was needed for the development of the Queen, advised in an outline circulated in November that attention be paid exclusively to "scenes in which only Snow White, the Dwarfs, and their bird and animal friends appear". The names and personalities of the dwarfs, however, were still "open to change". A meeting later in November resulted in another outline entitled 'Dwarfs Discover Snowwhite', which introduced the character of Dopey, who would ultimately prove to be the most successful and popular of the dwarf characterizations. For the rest of 1934 Disney further developed the story by himself, finding a dilemma in the characterization of the Queen, who he felt could no longer be "fat" and "batty", but a "stately beautiful type", a possibility already brought up in previous story meetings. Disney did not focus on the project again until the autumn of 1935. It is thought that he may have doubted his, and his studio's ability, and that his trip to Europe that summer restored his confidence. At this point Disney and his writers focused on the scenes in which Snow White and the dwarfs are introduced to the audience and each other. He laid out the likely assignments for everyone working on the film in a memorandum of November 25, 1935, and had decided on the personalities of the individual dwarfs.

It had first been thought that the dwarfs would be the main focus of the story, and many sequences were written for the seven characters. However, at a certain point, it was decided that the main thrust of the story was provided by the relationship between the Queen and Snow White. For this reason, several sequences featuring the dwarfs were cut from the film. The first, which was animated in its entirety before being cut, showed Doc and Grumpy arguing about whether Snow White should stay with them. Another, also completely animated, would have shown the dwarfs eating soup noisily and messily; Snow White unsuccessfully attempts to teach them how to eat 'like gentlemen'. A partially animated sequence involved the dwarfs holding a "lodge meeting" in which they try to think of a gift for Snow White; this was to be followed by the elaborate 'bed building sequence', in which the dwarfs and the forest animals construct and carve a bed for the princess. This also was cut, as it was thought to slow down the movement of the story. The soup-eating and bed-building sequences were animated by Ward Kimball, who was sufficiently discouraged by their removal to consider leaving the studio, however Disney persuaded him to stay by promoting him to supervising animator of Jiminy Cricket in his next feature Pinocchio (1940).
 
Animation
The famous "Heigh-Ho" sequence from Snow White was animated by Shamus Culhane.
The primary authority on the design of the film was concept artist Albert Hurter. All designs used in the film, from characters' appearances to the look of the rocks in the background, had to meet Hurter's approval before being finalized.[11] Two other concept artists — Ferdinand Hovarth and Gustaf Tenggren — also contributed to the visual style of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hovarth developed a number of dark concepts for the film, although many other designs he developed were ultimately rejected by Disney team as less easily translated into animation than Hurter's. Tenggren was used as a color stylist and to determine the staging and atmosphere of many of the scenes in the film, as his style borrowed from the likes of Arthur Rackham and John Bauer and thus possessed the European illustration quality that Walt Disney sought. He also designed the posters for the film and illustrated the press book. However, Hovarth didn't receive a credit for the film. Other artists to work on the film included Joe Grant, whose most significant contribution was the design for the Queen's Witch form.

Art Babbit, an animator who joined the Disney studio in 1932, invited seven of his colleagues (who worked in the same room as him) to come with him to an art class that he himself had set up at his home in the Hollywood Hills. Though there was no teacher, Babbit had recruited a model to pose for him and his fellow animators as they drew. These "classes" were held weekly; each week, more animators would come. After three weeks, Walt Disney called Babbit to his office and offered to provide the supplies, working space and models required if the sessions were moved to the studio. Babbit ran the sessions for a month until animator Hardie Gramatky suggested that they recruit Don Graham; the art teacher from the Chouinard Institute taught his first class at the studio on November 15, 1932, and was joined by Phil Dike a few weeks later. These classes were principally concerned with human anatomy and movement, though instruction later included action analysis, animal anatomy and acting.

Though the classes were originally described as a "brutal battle", with neither instructor nor students well-versed in the other's craft, the enthusiasm and energy of both parties made the classes stimulating and beneficial for all involved. Graham often screened Disney shorts and, along with the animators, provided critique featuring both strengths and weaknesses. For example, Graham criticised Babbit's animation of Abner the mouse in The Country Cousin as "taking a few of the obvious actions of a drunk without coordinating the rest of the body", while praising it for maintaining its humour without getting "dirty or mean or vulgar. The country mouse is always having a good time".
Very few of the animators at the Disney studio had had artistic training (most had been newspaper cartoonists); among these few was Grim Natwick, who had trained in Europe. The animator's success in designing and animating Betty Boop for Fleischer Studios showed an understanding of human female anatomy, and when Walt Disney hired Natwick he was given female characters to animate almost exclusively. Attempts to animate Persephone, the female lead of The Goddess of Spring, had proved largely unsuccessful; Natwick's animation of the heroine in Cookie Carnival showed greater promise, and the animator was eventually given the task of animating Snow White herself. Though live action footage of Snow White, the Prince and the Queen was shot as reference for the animators, the artists animators disapproved of rotoscoping, considering it to hinder the production of effective caricature. None of Babbit's animation of the Queen was rotoscoped; despite Graham and Natwick's objections, however, some scenes of Snow White and the Prince were directly traced from the live-action footage.

The studio's new Multiplane camera gave a three-dimensional feeling in many sequences, and was also used to give a rotating effect in the scene where the Queen transforms into a witch.

Example of Silly Symphony

During:

As you watch the film, complete the "Film Study Sheet" (Click here for another copy)

Analysis:

  • Write a summary of the movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"?
  • What was your favourite moment or scene from the movie? Why?
  • Who was your favourite character in the movie? Why?
  • How would you describe or characterize the artwork in the film? How did the artwork influence the mood of the story?
  • What were some of the stereotypical characters you saw in the film and how were they portrayed?
    • Princess
    • Prince
    • Evil enemy
    • Friends 
  • Analyze the film in terms of the "Parts of a Story" used in films
  • Thinking of a remake in mind, it could be argued that some of the film is outdated. Think about modifications or adaptations you would make to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to make it more modern. The list is endless. Choose two ideas from your list and elaborate or go into more detail. For example, if you wanted to change the setting, what would you change it to, why, and how would you make it more appealing to a modern audience. If you were redoing one of the characters, what would they look like and how would they behave differently?
    • setting
    • plot
    • love story
    • ages of characters
    • ending
    • family type
    • clothing
    • magic

Extension

  • Explore how the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is different than the original story written by the Grimm brothers. Why do you think Disney chose to go with a slightly different interpretation.
  • Explore how characters are used as symbols in the film.
    • Draw a picture of a character from the film that represents good or some trait that is considered good (example: generosity, kindness, innocent, etc.) Describe how the character  is symbolic of good or a good trait. 
    • Draw a picture of a character from the film that represents evil or some trait that is considered bad (example: greed, cruelty, jealous etc.) Describe how the character you drew is symbolic of evil or a bad trait.
  • Create a timeline or history of the Walt Disney Company - focus on the films.
  • Explore what cel animation is and the importance of the multiplane camera

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