Commentary &Disney &Layout & Design &Models 14 Feb 2013 05:47 am

Witch – redux

- It’s not always easy to kill a witch. This sequence from Snow White couldn’t be designed better. It’s short, it’s tense, it’s a tight sequence that handily does its job. The witch is killed in record time. Today, the sequence would be dragged out for half the length of the film.

Some of these drawings are great.

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(Click any image to enlarge.)

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5 Responses to “Witch – redux”

  1. on 14 Feb 2013 at 5:50 am 1.Stephen Macquignon said …

    Fantastic! Great storytelling

  2. on 14 Feb 2013 at 3:25 pm 2.Swinton Scott said …

    Snow White is so great, thanks for posting this sequence. Inspirational!

  3. on 15 Feb 2013 at 6:36 am 3.peter hale said …

    This is the climax of the film and is brilliantly realised. I imagine a lot of effort and experiment in timing and layout went into the storyboarding and leica reel for this sequence.

    Interestingly, the dramatic shadows/lightning effects indicated on the s/b panels are minimised almost out of existence in the final film sequence.

    Were they deliberately played down so as not to overplay the drama before the climax, or was this sequence shot late in the production, with time pressure requiring a reduction in the amount of double-exposure scenes?

    The trace and paint (maybe even the drawing) on the dwarves clambering scenes is also rather crude – was this due to time pressure, or just the awareness that in such rapid action “finish” was unimportant?

    The dwarf scenes are brilliantly animated, in that they are all energy flow, and create the drive that carries the sequence forward.

    The sequence is also wonderfully conceived and resolved. Think about it: seven angry and vengeful little men armed with clubs are pursuing a wicked old crone. Just what are we to expect when they catch her? – it could all turn very ugly! Fortunately for our sensibilities, just when they have her cornered she manages to turn the tables, and is about to crush them with a boulder – turning them at a stroke from a rabid lynch mob to innocent victims! – she is coveniently disposed of by Fate, in the form of a lightning strike: a resolution that leaves the dwarves’ hands clean and justifies the growing storm that had served so well in reflecting the build-up of dramatic tension.

    The building of that sequence is demonstration of the studio’s method of organic storytelling at its best – the contributions of many hands being structured, built on and developed into a stunning “how could it ever have been any other way” sequence, all to satisfy the demands and intuitive judgement of the producer, Walt.

  4. on 15 Feb 2013 at 6:41 am 4.peter hale said …

    That should of course have read “when she is conveniently disposed of”!

  5. on 15 Feb 2013 at 8:58 am 5.Bill said …

    Michael, a picture perfect post! Images 11, 27, 30 and 33 could easily have been included in Rowland Wilson’s “Trade Secrets” ‘how to’ book. Is there an artist’s name behind those four, nicely realized drawings?

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