Original Background for “7 Wise Dwarfs”

A Canadian War Short

This short film entitled 7 Wise Dwarfs was made for Canada as part of the war effort and was released there after December 12, 1941, the date the copy was sent to the National Film Board of Canada. This is the first fiction project to officially reuse the characters from the feature film since its release (they appeared in an advertisement for Standard Oil in 1939). And it is also the second short film to support the purchase of Canadian war bonds, the first being The Thrifty Pig, which used the popularity of the three little pigs.

Like many war shorts, this one has the dual advantage of reusing characters known to the studio in order to not only benefit from their celebrity with the public, but also from the artists’ knowledge of them, and even from the possibility of reusing animation, music or other elements, as is the case here. For example, the song “Heigh Ho” figures prominently and some scenes reuse animation from the corresponding sequence in the feature film, changing the design so that the dwarves no longer carry their picks, but bags of diamonds that they take to the bank, which will convert them into war bonds.

Some scenes from the beginning of the film are even reused without modification. It then becomes quite obvious that the quality of the new animation is clearly less qualitative than the old one: it is time to save money. The characters lose dimensionality, they no longer have shadows, the sets are simplified, but the pleasure of finding the seven little men is intact. Because of their subject matter, this film and the other war shorts, such as The Winged Scourge, receive only a very limited distribution today.

Note the use of the opening notes of Three Little Wolves, and the music of sequence 3A stripped of Snow White’s screams as she flees into the forest.

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