Sunday, October 28, 2007

Disney's First Villain!

Fiercely beautiful, the Wicked Queen has reached an age where her radiance is fading. Insanely jealous of her lovely young stepdaughter, the Queen forces her to work as a scullery maid in the hope that drudgery will tarnish the girl's blossoming beauty. When the Magic Mirror reveals that Snow White has finally become "more fair than thee," she plots the girl's death in a rage so twisted that she's eventually willing to sacrifice her own beauty to destroy Snow White's.

She uses witchcraft to transform herself into a hunchbacked old peddler and succeeds in persuading the naive girl to accept her poisoned apple. Unknowingly, however, she's wrought the means of her own demise. For, though her disguise serves the terrible deed, that same feeble body will hinder her escape.

Actress Lucille LaVerne was chosen to voice both the Wicked Queen and the Hag Witch because of her versatile voice intonations. Yet when she first started voicing the Witch, the recording session director commented that her intonations were too polished, too much like the Queen. After excusing herself for a moment she returned to perform a gravelly voice that now surpassed the director's expectations. Curious, he asked what she'd changed. Smiling a toothless grin, she explained she had just removed her false teeth.

The Queen is often referred to as "Queen Grimhilde" in Disney publications of the 1930's. Her appearance was inspired by the Helen Gahagan character in the film "She" (1935).

In a portion of the Disney film that was never completed, the Evil Queen was to have captured the Prince who wakes Snow White. In this scene, she was also to have made the skeletons in the dungeon dance in order to frighten him. This would later inspire the dungeon scene in Sleeping Beauty when Maleficent mocks Prince Philip.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection introduced the Hag first into the collection in 1995. "Take the Apple, Dearie" was the 1996 Spring Event featured sculpture. The sculpture period actually ran from 09/01/95 thru 03/31/96. It also has the distinction of receiving the 1996 NALED Award of Excellence.

The following year, the Evil Queen was the 1997 Spring Event featured sculpture. The event period ran from 02/97 thru 06/97. To date, these are both the best representation of these characters and the most sought after. Both were sculpted by Kent Melton.

Disney's version of the Queen is still one of the most popular movie villains to date. She would go on to make frequent appearances in Disney comics, where, under the alias The Witch, she regularly antagonized Disney characters like Li'l Bad Wolf, Chip 'n Dale and Tinker Bell.

In one comic story she tries to get rich by turning Pinocchio into gold and tricks two of Donald Duck's nephews into becoming apples-in the end she is temporarily turned into gold herself and our heroes are restored to normal. There was even an Italian story explaining how she had survived her apparent death in the movie, and why she couldn't change back to her normal self. Walt Disney described the Queen as "a combination of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf."

Today's entries focused on two Disney Villains who who used magic, witchcraft and spells, one considered a major Villain (Evil Queen/Hag), whereas the other has been described as a minor Villain (Madam Mim). Tomorrow we meet a Witch who uses her magic to help some costumed youngsters and take us into Halloween!


Babette said...

After the seeing the preview for Enchanted before NBC in 3D this weekend, there definitely is a similarity between Susan Sarandon's villianess to the Evil Queen and Malificent. They seem to draw heavily from both classic Disney villianesses for her character in Enchanted. Can't wait to see the movie.

Duckman said...

I've been waiting patiently for this movie. Susan Sarandon is such a great actress. She is going to be awesome in this role!

KingHubert said...

The Evil Queen has always been one of my favorite WDCC pieces. It wasn't my first but very close to it and it helped me decide to take the plunge into the line.

I'm also looking forward to Enchanted, I've been a fan of Susan Sarandon for years and I think she will make a great villian. The pictures I've seen of the animated version of her character look great.