Снежная королева (The Snow Queen)
69 in x of animated feature film history
Country: Soviet Union
Director: Lev Atamanov
“The Snow Queen is based on a story of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1844.
The story begins with a little man, who says he is ‘Old Dreamy’ (’Ole Lukøje’), telling the tale of the Snow Queen. He starts with two children, Kay and Gerda, planting roses together.
On a winter night following, Gerda’s grandmother tells the two children the legend of the Snow Queen. The Snow Queen’s proud and frowning face is seen in Gerda’s frosted window to Gerda’s exclamation, ‘It’s the Snow Queen!’ Kay jokes, ‘Let her come in here, and I’ll put her on a hot stove!’ This angers the Snow Queen, who is watching the children from her mirror, which she smashes with her scepter, telling the ice splinters of the shattered mirror to go into the eyes and hearts of those who have offended her. Back at Gerda’s home the window bursts open, letting in ice splinters that get into Kay’s eyes and heart. His personality changes: he is hostile toward Gerda. The next day, Kay ties his sled to the sleigh of the Snow Queen, which has suddenly appeared.
Gerda goes out to look for Kay. She faces many adventures; a sorceress attempts to steal her memories; she painstakingly finds a boy who turns out not to be Kay; she’s captured by thieves; and whisked far to the North to save Kay.
In 1959, the film was dubbed into English and released by Universal Pictures. This version is introduced by a six-minute live-action Christmas prologue featuring TV personality Art Linkletter. The American version also contained an entirely rewritten musical score and had three new songs in English, two of which replaced the Russian songs.
Hayao Miyazaki has stated that this film is one of his inspirations to work in animation. When he started his career, Miyazaki had a rough start and was thinking of leaving animation already. When he saw The Snow Queen, he admired it and continued working in anime. In September 2007, it was announced that Studio Ghibli will be distributing this film through their Ghibli Museum Library label, and it was released in December 2007 (in the original Russian audio with Japanese subtitles).”