The Snow Queen


1h 14m 1960

Film Details

Also Known As
The Snow Princess
Release Date
Apr 1960
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 22 Feb 1960; New York opening: 13 Apr 1960
Production Company
Soyuzmultfilm Productions; Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
Russia and United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Anderson (1805--1875).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Art Linkletter passes out Christmas presents to several children, including Tina Marie, who receives a storybook entitled The Snow Queen . Tina Marie beseeches Art to read the story aloud, and after he states that the story's author was Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson, he explains that the children can gaze into a "magic mirror" on the wall to see "a beautiful moving picture." The mirror reveals a magical world in which Ol' Dreamy, a tiny elf, travels through a book called The Tales of Hans Christian Anderson . Ol' Dreamy describes how he helped Anderson write his fables by twirling a magic umbrella, called a "slumberella," over his head while he slept. Anderson would then dream of enchanted lands, and have many stories to write when he awoke. Ol' Dreamy recounts one particular dream of Anderson's: In a small village in Denmark, playmates Gerda and Kay vow to love each other forever, and plant white and red roses side by side in a pot to signify their relationship. One winter night, Gerda's Granny recounts a tale of The Snow Queen, a beautiful sorceress made of ice, whose ice mirror shows her the entire kingdom, and who travels in the drifting snow. When Gerda worries that she sees the queen at the window, Kay soothes her fears by playfully vowing to melt the queen if she tries to hurt them. Unfortunately, The Snow Queen hears Kay's boasts and sends enchanted shards of ice that pierce his eyes, so he sees only ugliness, and his heart, freezing it instantly. As soon as the ice sweeps into the window and places its spell over Kay, Gerda notes that the roses have died, but Kay merely laughs and stomps on them. Over the next few days, he treats Gerda cruelly, and when The Snow Queen appears on her chariot, he accompanies her back to her palace in Lapland. There, the queen treats Kay kindly but insists that he forget his past and banish all traces of love or joy. When Gerda's friend still has not returned by spring, she goes out in search of him. Although she asks every creature for clues to Kay's whereabouts, no one knows. Finally, she offers her red shoes to the river, which carries her to the beautiful land of a lonely sorceress. The witch casts a spell to keep Gerda by her side, but the girl eventually awakens and escapes into a cold and snowy forest. She reaches the ocean, where a raven, Mr. Corax, recognizes her description of a blonde boy and takes her to the palace. Mr. Corax's girl friend, Henrietta, sneaks Gerda into the palace at night, but when she wakes the blonde boy, Gerda realizes he is not Kay. The boy, a prince, along with his sister the princess, calls off the guards and embraces Gerda. Meanwhile, Kay plays with diamonds made of ice and struggles, as the queen demands, to forget his recollections of Gerda. The next day, the Prince and Princess furnish Greta with luxurious, warm furs and a pure gold chariot. She travels through the forest, but at night is ambushed by a gang of robbers who covet the gold. They plan to eat Gerda for dinner, but the head robber's daughter, Angel, insists that she be allowed to take the girl home as a pet. At their underground lair, Angel ties up Gerda along with her collection of woodland animals, including Bucky, a majestic stag. After Gerda prevents Angel from torturing the animals, the lonely, feral child orders Gerda to tell her about Kay. At the end of her tale, Angel is moved to tears, and when the captive doves reveal that they know the way to The Snow Queen's palace, Angel unchains Bucky and commands him to take Gerda there. Gerda kisses Angel in gratitude, and although Angel pushes her away roughly, she later releases all of the animals. They run away but, upon hearing her crying, return to comfort her. Bucky carries Gerda into the frozen North, where they are taken in by a woman who saw the queen pass by with Kay. She sends them to her cousin in Finland, who tends to the exhausted pair. As Gerda sleeps, Bucky asks the cousin to use magic to give her strength, but the woman replies that Gerda is strong with love. In the morning, Gerda is so eager to continue on that she forgets her hat and mittens. They struggle against the bitter winds until Bucky is too fatigued to go on, after which Gerda toils on alone. Finally, she collapses, and when she awakens she realizes she is just steps from the palace door. Inside, Gerda finds Kay, whose heart melts immediately at the sight of his friend. As he embraces her, the shard of ice falls from his eyes, freeing him from The Snow Queen's spell. The queen appears and demands that Kay stay with her, but Gerda begs for his release, and the Spring hears her plea. The Spring melts the heart of The Snow Queen and warms the land. Outside, Gerda and Kay find Bucky, unharmed, and he conveys them to the cousin, who sends them to the old woman, who hands them over to Angel, who drives them to the Prince and Princess, who bring the children home. Ol' Dreamy concludes his tale by noting that long after the roses regained their bloom, Gerda and Kay were married.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Snow Princess
Release Date
Apr 1960
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 22 Feb 1960; New York opening: 13 Apr 1960
Production Company
Soyuzmultfilm Productions; Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
Russia and United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Anderson (1805--1875).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Articles

Sandra Dee, 1944-2005


For a brief, quicksilver period of the early '60s, Sandra Dee was the quintessential sweet, perky, All-American girl, and films such as Gidget and Tammy Tell Me True only reinforced the image that young audiences identified with on the screen. Tragically, Ms. Dee died on February 20 at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. She had been hospitalized for the last two weeks for treatment of kidney disease, and had developed pneumonia. She was 60.

She was born Alexandra Cymboliak Zuck on April 23, 1944 (conflicting sources give 1942, but the actual birth year has been verified by the family) in Bayonne, New Jersey. She was abandoned by her father by age five, and her mother, Mary Douvan, lied about Sandra's age so that she could put her in school and get a job. She was only five when she entered the 2nd grade. Mature for her age, Sandra's mother kept the lie going when she began her modeling career. With her fetching blonde curls and pretty face, Dee found herself moving up quickly on the modeling ladder. By the time she was 10, she was one of the top child models in the country, and by age 13, she met producer Ross Hunter, who signed her to a seven-year contract for Universal. She had her named changed to Sandra Dee (a stage name combining her shortened first name and using her stepfather's surname initial D to sign vouchers) and made her film debut in Until They Sail (1957), starring Joan Fontaine, John Gavin.

Her next film, The Reluctant Debutante, a bubbly romantic comedy with Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall and John Saxon, proved Dee to be adept in light comedy. Yet she would prove her versatility as a performer the following year - 1959, when she scored in the three biggest films of the year:A Summer Place, a brooding melodrama with fellow teen-heartthrob, Troy Donohue; Imitation of Life, a glossy, Ross Hunter sudser; and of course Gidget, the archetypical, sand and surf movie. By the dawn of the '60s, Sandra Dee mania ruled the movie fanzines worldwide.

Her personal life took a surprising turn when she hooked up with singer Bobby Darin. She met Darin in 1960 in Portofino, Italy, where they were both cast in Come September with Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida as the older romantic couple. They eventually married and she gave birth to a son, Dodd Mitchell Darin in 1961. All the while, Dee still plugged away with a series of hit films over the next few years: Romanoff and Juliet a charming satirical comedy directed by Peter Ustinoff; Tammy Tell Me True with John Gavin (both 1961; If a Man Answers (1962) a surprisingly sharp comedy of manners with husband Bobby Darin; Tammy and the Doctor, another corn-fed entry that was her leading man's Peter Fonda's big break; and Take Her, She's Mine (1963), a rather strained generation-gap comedy with James Stewart.

Her success was not to last. By the late `60s, as "youth culture" movies became more confrontational and less frivolous with references to open sexuality and drugs in the American landscape, Dee's career began to peter out. Her few films of that period : Rosie, and Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding (both 1967) were pretty dreadful and were disasters at the box-office; and her divorce from Bobby Darin that same year, put a dent in her personal life, so Dee wisely took a sabbatical from the limelight for a few years.

The '70s actually saw Dee improve as an actress. Although by no means a classic, her role as woman falling pray to a warlock (Dean Stockwell) who sexually and psychologically dominates her in the The Dunwich Horror (1970), was nothing short of startling. Yet despite her competency as actress, her career never regained its footing, and she appeared in only a few television movies later on: The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (1972), Fantasy Island (1977).

Dee resurfaced in 1991, when she gave an interview with People magazine about her personal demons: molestation by her stepfather, anorexia, drug use and alcoholism, that had haunted her her entire life. That same year, much to the delight of her fans, she resurfaced briefly when she starred in a stage production of Love Letters at the Beverly Hill's Canon Theatre with her friend and former co-star, John Saxon. Since she was diagnosed with throat cancer and kidney failure in 2000, Dee had been in and out of hospitals for her failing health. She is survived by her son Dodd; and two granddaughters -Alexa and Olivia.

by Michael T. Toole
Sandra Dee, 1944-2005

Sandra Dee, 1944-2005

For a brief, quicksilver period of the early '60s, Sandra Dee was the quintessential sweet, perky, All-American girl, and films such as Gidget and Tammy Tell Me True only reinforced the image that young audiences identified with on the screen. Tragically, Ms. Dee died on February 20 at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. She had been hospitalized for the last two weeks for treatment of kidney disease, and had developed pneumonia. She was 60. She was born Alexandra Cymboliak Zuck on April 23, 1944 (conflicting sources give 1942, but the actual birth year has been verified by the family) in Bayonne, New Jersey. She was abandoned by her father by age five, and her mother, Mary Douvan, lied about Sandra's age so that she could put her in school and get a job. She was only five when she entered the 2nd grade. Mature for her age, Sandra's mother kept the lie going when she began her modeling career. With her fetching blonde curls and pretty face, Dee found herself moving up quickly on the modeling ladder. By the time she was 10, she was one of the top child models in the country, and by age 13, she met producer Ross Hunter, who signed her to a seven-year contract for Universal. She had her named changed to Sandra Dee (a stage name combining her shortened first name and using her stepfather's surname initial D to sign vouchers) and made her film debut in Until They Sail (1957), starring Joan Fontaine, John Gavin. Her next film, The Reluctant Debutante, a bubbly romantic comedy with Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall and John Saxon, proved Dee to be adept in light comedy. Yet she would prove her versatility as a performer the following year - 1959, when she scored in the three biggest films of the year:A Summer Place, a brooding melodrama with fellow teen-heartthrob, Troy Donohue; Imitation of Life, a glossy, Ross Hunter sudser; and of course Gidget, the archetypical, sand and surf movie. By the dawn of the '60s, Sandra Dee mania ruled the movie fanzines worldwide. Her personal life took a surprising turn when she hooked up with singer Bobby Darin. She met Darin in 1960 in Portofino, Italy, where they were both cast in Come September with Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida as the older romantic couple. They eventually married and she gave birth to a son, Dodd Mitchell Darin in 1961. All the while, Dee still plugged away with a series of hit films over the next few years: Romanoff and Juliet a charming satirical comedy directed by Peter Ustinoff; Tammy Tell Me True with John Gavin (both 1961; If a Man Answers (1962) a surprisingly sharp comedy of manners with husband Bobby Darin; Tammy and the Doctor, another corn-fed entry that was her leading man's Peter Fonda's big break; and Take Her, She's Mine (1963), a rather strained generation-gap comedy with James Stewart. Her success was not to last. By the late `60s, as "youth culture" movies became more confrontational and less frivolous with references to open sexuality and drugs in the American landscape, Dee's career began to peter out. Her few films of that period : Rosie, and Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding (both 1967) were pretty dreadful and were disasters at the box-office; and her divorce from Bobby Darin that same year, put a dent in her personal life, so Dee wisely took a sabbatical from the limelight for a few years. The '70s actually saw Dee improve as an actress. Although by no means a classic, her role as woman falling pray to a warlock (Dean Stockwell) who sexually and psychologically dominates her in the The Dunwich Horror (1970), was nothing short of startling. Yet despite her competency as actress, her career never regained its footing, and she appeared in only a few television movies later on: The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (1972), Fantasy Island (1977). Dee resurfaced in 1991, when she gave an interview with People magazine about her personal demons: molestation by her stepfather, anorexia, drug use and alcoholism, that had haunted her her entire life. That same year, much to the delight of her fans, she resurfaced briefly when she starred in a stage production of Love Letters at the Beverly Hill's Canon Theatre with her friend and former co-star, John Saxon. Since she was diagnosed with throat cancer and kidney failure in 2000, Dee had been in and out of hospitals for her failing health. She is survived by her son Dodd; and two granddaughters -Alexa and Olivia. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

When this was released in the U.S., a live-action prologue was tacked on.

When this movie was released in the U.S. it contained a tacked-on live-action prologue featuring TV personalityArt Linkletter. He introduced the movie and recited a rhyme: "One snowflake two/three snowflakes four/now you'll see `The Snow Queen'/if you count a million more." When he finished the rhyme, the movie began.

Notes

The working title of this film was The Snow Princess. The opening credits read: "Universal-International presents The Snow Queen from the story by Hans Christian Anderson, Cartoons, animation and screenplay by Soyuzmultfilm Productions." Hugo Grimaldi's credit reads: "Dialogue supervision and editor." The opening cast credits read: "Starring Art Linkletter in the prologue." The remaining cast credits are proceeded by the phrase "Also featuring the voices of." The film was a Russian production which Universal bought, then added English-language dubbing and a live-action prologue. The animated character "Ol' Dreamy," voiced by Paul Frees, reappears throughout the story to provide narration.
       On June 5, 1959, Hollywood Reporter reported that Universal had purchased outright the United States and Canadian rights to The Snow Queen, which had been produced in Russia in 1957. The article also states that the animated feature was first bought by M.J.P. Enterprises, a firm specializing "in selling American films behind the Iron Curtain," which sold the rights to a group headed by Stephen Vorhees, who then sold it to Universal for a reported $30,000 fee.
       In a June 7, 1959 New York Times article, Universal announced plans to dub the film into English and add a prologue. The film marked the first purchase of a Soviet film by any major American company. In June 1959, Hollywood Reporter noted that, in order to allow Universal to release the picture in America, Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn both waved the priorities they held with the MPAA Title Bureau over the title "The Snow Queen."
       Soyuzmultfilm Productions, the Russian production company, entered the film in the Vancouver Film Festival on August 3, 1959, and Universal ran the picture at the San Francisco Film Festival in November 1959. As reported in the June 7, 1959 New York Times article, the studio planned to release the film during the 1959 Christmas holidays but, according to the Variety review, the release date was set back to Easter to avoid competition with Columbia's animated feature 1001 Arabian Nights. According to a January 15, 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item, however, "invitational previews for the public" were held in New York over Thanksgiving, 1959, and in twenty-five key markets over Christmas. In Washington, D.C. in April 1960, Idaho Democratic Senator Frank Church highlighted the film's appeal to Idaho's high percentage of Danish citizens by hosting an invitational screening at the Motion Picture Association headquarters, attended by the Ambassador of Denmark. Reviews widely praised the film's animation and noted its similarity to Walt Disney's methods and style.