Disney Removes Original ‘Snow White’ to Avoid Controversy

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Snow White singing to Doves on a wishing well

Credit: Disney

If you remove the handle from Abe Lincoln’s hatchet, is it still Abe Lincoln’s hatchet? If you remove Walt Disney’s sketch marks from a cartoon, is it still Walt Disney’s cartoon?

Snow White and Dopey
Credit: Disney

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the studio, the Walt Disney Company has released and restored some of the studio’s original cartoons, along with enhanced versions of older films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). While that all sounds well and good on paper, is it truly celebrating the company if too much is removed from the original prints of the films?

Related: Walt Disney’s Anti-Nazi Message Removed by Studio

In the words of the immortal artist and philosopher Bob Ross, “We don’t make mistakes, just have happy accidents.” If that is indeed the case, then how much restoration does it take before the artwork lacks the artists’ original handiwork?

Did Disney Animation Enhance or Erase Snow White?

Walt Disney with his Imagineers
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Inside the Magic has talked about Disney’s habit of over-restoration before, but the studio recently announced that not only would Walt Disney’s first full-length animated feature receive a restoration treatment but that it will soon be available on Disney+. That means that the original print of the movie previously available could be lost to the archives.

Related: ‘Once Upon A Studio’ Celebrates Disney Animation With Every Iconic Character

It was recently argued that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is only receiving the restoration to avoid association with the controversial remake. While Rachel Zegler certainly hasn’t done herself any favors, especially if her comments towards the film are to be believed, it feels like Disney is only trying to make the film prettier to save face than to preserve Walt’s legacy.

Snow White 4K Release Side-by-Side Comparison
Credit: Disney

There’s no denying that the restoration looks stellar, as the colors are brighter and the picture is indeed clearer, but it also takes away an element of the original’s artistry. The previous cut was intended to be how the artists wanted it to be seen, so shouldn’t Disney honor their wishes?

Related: Immersive Disney Animation is Nightmare Fuel

That previous statement might sound like a stretch, as none of the original animation has been lost, only polished. Viewing original animated movies like Snow White through a re-filtered lens might rub some animation enthusiasts the wrong way.

Snow White holding bird in 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
Credit: Disney

It’s not that Snow White doesn’t deserve to be preserved in the annals of history; it most certainly does, but the movie’s original version shows just how far Walt Disney Pictures has come since their humble beginnings in Walt and Roy’s garage. It is still possible to enhance the film’s viewing experience without sacrificing the human elements that establish its identity.

Related: Gal Gadot’s ‘Snow White’ Sabotaged by Media Frenzy

Walt Disney might have founded the company, but he stood with his fellow animators to get the film off the ground. In this writer’s opinion, viewers looking to see Disney’s beginnings should have the option to see it as the filmmakers intended and not through a digital filter.

Is Disney doing this for the right reasons? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

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