Worthy of the best horror films of the era, this lengthy sequence remains etched in the memories of anyone who has seen the film. It begins with a familiar scene, the Mirror Room, where the Queen learns that she has been tricked. The sovereign then descends a grand staircase to a secret laboratory, where she transforms herself into a hideous old woman and prepares the instrument of her revenge.

Her stooge for several scenes is the raven, whose reactions punctuate the speech of the old woman, who also breaks the fourth wall to address us directly.

Several shots of the shelf and the spell books are translated into the languages of the dubbed versions. The shots of the mirror re-use the background and smoke animation from scene 5 in sequence 1B.

It’s worth noting that it’s here, in the mouth of the slave of the mirror, that the controversial term “dwarfs” will be uttered for the first and rare time, even though it’s in the title. It is almost always replaced by “little men” in the rest of the film. The Queen uses it also.


Here is the sequence broken up into scenes with the corresponding animators.

Several scenes were translated in various languages. The camera movement was removed after the first three versions in scene 32 to save money.

Concept drawings

Notice that the Queen, in some drawings, was accompanied by her pet panther. She originally broke the mirror by throwing her box at it, which was kept in some book adaptations.


One drawing of the book of spells reveals that two extra ingredients were originally planned for the Queen to turn herself into a hag: “tears of grief” and “mad dogs growl”.


Director Bill Cottrell remembers that it was the idea of the model of the Queen to grab her velvet cape and swirl it to follow her down the stairs as they were filming the live action refence footage for scene 5.

Animation drawings

Check out this post from Sean Monico’s Drawn to Animation blog detailing the different layers of animations used for scene 21A that he found in Stephen Ison’s collection.

Layouts and Backgrounds


Helen Nerbovig, who prepared assemblages of cels and backgrounds for sale by Guthrie Sayle Courvoisier’s art gallery, seems to have systematized the use of the cels in scene 31, where the Queen addresses her raven before reading her book. These have almost systematically been combined, either with the Queen’s cels in scene 9b, or with the cauldron’s cels, which replace the book, leading to the mistaken belief that the scene belongs to sequence 9A.