SUMMARY: What begins as a retelling of the Snow White story starring Betty Boop as Snow White and Bimbo and Koko as the Queen’s henchmen, quickly descends into a heady brew of surreal Fleischer shape-shifting and musical interludes.
WHY IT’S HERE: Although its credited director is Dave Fleischer, ‘Snow White’ is widely acknowledged as the masterwork of animator Roland Crandall, who was allowed to animate this jaw-dropping short in its entirety as a reward for his loyal service to Fleischer Studios. Handed this golden opportunity, Crandall excelled himself, creating not only the best Betty Boop cartoon but the best Fleischer cartoon and one of the greatest animated shorts of all time.
As the second in the trilogy of Betty Boop cartoons made in collaboration with Cab Calloway, who provides this cartoon’s exceptional musical interlude with his brilliant ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’, ‘Snow White’ easily distiguishes itself as by far the greatest of those three wonderful shorts. The plot is not much to speak of, starting as a straight retelling on the Snow White story up until the point where the huntsman (or huntsmen in this case, portrayed as they are by Koko and Bimbo) take Snow White into the woods to kill her. At this point ‘Snow White’ breaks its leash and takes things in its own direction, with a burst of surreal shapeshifting action and the coolest musical moment in a cartoon ever, as Koko sings and dances to Calloway’s music. It’s extraordinarily imaginative even for a Fleischer short and the fact that Crandall animated it all himself lends ‘Snow White’ a consistent focus to its anarchic goings-on. A landmark that still hasn’t quite found the acclaim it deserves, ‘Snow White’ is undoubtedly one of the greatest animated shorts in this list of 1001.