Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blanche-Neige Marignan Programme

Built in 1933, the French Marignan was a grand 1,800-seat Art Deco movie palace. It is where Parisians, beginning on May 6, 1938, first glimpsed Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains. The theater had an exclusive contract to screen the movie, and for seven weeks, over 150,000 people filled the Marignan to witness Walt Disney's first animated feature.

At the time, Jean Mounier was the RKO head of advertising for all of France. He was good at his job if the looks of the theater facade are any indication. It was thoroughly dressed up for this special engagement.

Marignan image courtesy of  the Jacqueline Dana / Jean Mounier Collection. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The following images are from the program that was handed out to those lucky patrons of the Marignan. In addition to text about the making of the film, some of the vintage ads are rather interesting too. A Snow White charm bracelet from 1938 would be an excellent find today.

Program image scans and additional info courtesy of Greg Philip via A Lost Film. Used with permission.


  1. Yeah it is a beaut. Imagine what it must have been to be in that audience back then. My understanding of the French language is limited, so I would not have known exactly what was being said. But I would have loved it just the same. :)

  2. I'll translate that as soon as I have a little bit of time ! :)

    1. What a great idea to post the translation right here in the comments. Thank you Alexandre for taking the time to do so! It's much appreciated!!!

  3. Translation courtesy of Alexandre...

    L'Enchanteur Walt Disney - WALT DISNEY THE ENCHANTOR:

    People had strongly tried to discouraged Walt Disney to undertake his first Motion Picture : "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". It was, as a matter of fact, a sufficient reason to predict its success, for people had almost always tried to discourage Mickey Mouse's creator in his steps towards success.

    They advised him not to work solo when he was twenty. Ten years later, he was told that cartoons would only be an ephemeral trend. He turned a deaf ear.

    When he began working on his color movies, he was told that it was an hazardous and expensive attempt and it would be best if he abstained himself.
    When he made the "Three Little Pigs", one of his biggest successes, his collaborators predicted a failure, but Walt went on.
    He announced his first Animated Movie and everybody said that it would be a disaster.

    Today, his collaborators are still enthusiastic about "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", even three years of work later. The success won by this magnificent movie is a true triumph.

    Walt Disney, by making his first animated movie, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", closely followed the original Grimm Fairy tale.
    Watching "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the first long animated picture ever, you'll realize that Walt Disney stayed true as much as possible to the beloved and infamous fairy tale.

    Disney however tried to limit the terrifying elements that are present in the original story. The princess Snow White doesn't endure all the torture that her terrible step mother inflicts on her. She is not nearly strangled by the shrew and the poisoned comb she fashions doesn't penetrate her hair.

  4. Translation continued...

    Comment fut tourne' Blanche-Neige - HOW WAS SNOW WHITE REALIZED:

    After searching for a subject for a long motion animated picture, Walt Disney finally stopped his choice to the famous Grimm Fairy Tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Here is Mickey's father examining closely the silhouettes of his new stars.
    The members of his "army" talk together the details of the scenario. The suggestions are discussed then put to a vote.

    In Walt Disney's studio, everything is meticulously classified. The burlesque situations, the gags, are catalogued and classified following an ingenious classifying system similar to that of anthropometry.

    The drawings used for previous productions are kept, as well, and the collaborators often go back to them, in order to judge of an expression or another.

    During the technical cutting *in the process of the film making, sorry I don't know this term in English :/ * that has to be even more minutiously done than a movie with real actors, a technician explains to the boss the possible solution (...)

  5. Translation continued...

    La Lengende de Blanch-Neige - THE LEGEND OF SNOW WHITE:

    The charming Snow White, whose beauty made her stepmother (the evil queen) jealous, is treated like Cinderella in the castle of the King, her father ...
    Despite her chores, Snow White is filled with hope. In her dreams, she calls for a handsome Prince that would take her to the land of happiness.

    The queen charges her huntsman to kidnap the princess and to kill her. The ruthless huntsman can't bring himself to do so, and only abandoned her in the middle of the silent forest.

    Night came for the frightened young girl, who shivers with fear in the woods' solitude. It seems to her than the bushes try to grab her, that ferocious eyes threaten her in the shadows, that the furious wind rumbles against her. Slowly, the menacing eyes get closer and closer and Snow White, reassured, realizes that they're only the kind forest animals', who are even more afraid than she is ... Squirrels with bushy tails, singing birds, all colored, and a big and friendly stag.

    Her new friends lead her to a secluded cottage, that belongs to seven dwarfs, who work in the diamond mines ...

  6. Translation continued...

    Next page:

    When the dwarfs arrive, they are amazed by the cleanliness, the gaiety of their home, which once was the repair of dust and shadow. At first, they make a rude welcome to the Princess, but when she promises them to cook delicious pies, their distrust vanishes.
    The good little men, charmed by Snow White's goodness become nicer and even tend to watch their faults, always trying to find ways to please their new friend.

    Meanwhile, the magic mirror had revealed to the Queen that Snow White was still alive. The terrible woman changes herself into an ugly witch. She arrives to the cottage, hidden under a cloak and Snow White , disobeying to the dwarfs lets her nemesis into their home, and accepts the poisoned apple that she offers. The apple puts Snow White into a deep sleep, similar to death.

    Panic-Stricken, the forest animals go warn the dwarfs. After a hectic race, through mounts and valleys, the dwarfs follow the wicked Queen up to a cliff, where the lightning hits the miserable woman, making her tumble in the abyss ...

    Snow White is still sleeping in her glass coffin. One day, the Prince heard about the young princess lifeless in her crystal prison. He gallops towards the sleeping beauty, and finds her so fair that he kisses her tenderly.
    At that point, the young girl awakens and all the joy of the world enters the modest dwarfs' home.