”Snow White” may no longer be among your favorite fairy tales after seeing this bizarre version, the first of three stories in the collection of My Favorite Fairy Tales. The animation is stultifying: The dwarfs too closely resemble one another, and the Prince is prettier than Snow White, whose eyes are larger than her mouth. She appears to have been modeled after the waifs in those velvet paintings people sell from the back of vans at busy intersections. To wake Snow White, the Prince lifts her, performing a sort of royal Heimlich maneuver that dislodges what he concludes is a piece of fruit that had been stuck in her throat. (Imagine, the Prince as otolaryngologist!)
Although ”Snow White’s” dialogue is fairly straightforward, the talking mirror is a rapping wisenheimer, declaring at one point: ”Well, queenie girl, I’ll tell you straight, at best you never looked too great. And furthermore, if you insist, you wouldn’t make the ugly list.” It’s enough to make you dopey, sleepy, and grumpy.
Something’s also fishy with the second story, ”The Little Mermaid”: She looks suspiciously like the Prince from Snow White — with fins. Even so, this is the best of the stories. The Little Mermaid’s stuck on Prince Jonathan, a sailor she doesn’t know is engaged. She strikes a deal with a witch to allow her to stay on land, but is heartbroken and risks death after she learns Jonathan has married. Because she remains true to herself and to her love, she ultimately is saved.
The third story on the tape, ”The Cobbler and the Elves,” has several shortcomings, not the least of which is the forced accent of the cobbler, who sounds like Jackie Mason. The plot centers on the mysterious good fortune the cobbler and his wife enjoy after he gives his last pair of extra shoes to a needy girl. In one of the final scenes, elves fly away on what are purported to be snowballs but which more closely resemble soap bubbles. In any case, you’ll be very glad to see them go. C-