The Indigenization of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) in China: From ‘Snow Sister’ and ‘Dolly Girl’ to Chinese Snow White (1940) and Princess Iron Fan (1941)

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Abstract

Walt Disney’s first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand, 1937) was released in Shanghai in June 1938. Thanks to the localized advertising and promotional strategies, it was a massive box-office success in China. The blockbuster hit was watched by 400,000 people and made more than 7 million RMB across the country.

This chapter will explore how Disney’s Snow White was interpreted and indigenized in China during the 1930s and 1940s by examining the following four areas. The first section will investigate how Shanghai during the 1930s and 1940s – as a mixed, dynamic and unstable cosmopolitan metropolis – offered a perfect stage for novelties such as Hollywood film and Disney animation.

The second section will examine how localized advertising and marketing 180campaigns promoted Snow White, and how the film, in turn, bolstered the local economy and artistic creations. Third, by a short comparative analysis, I will rethink the film Chinese Snow White, a live-action remake of Disney’s Snow White released in 1940. In the final section, the first Chinese animated feature Princess Iron Fan (Wan Guchan and Wan Laiming, 1941), which is widely considered as the Chinese version of Snow White in animation, will be compared with Disney’s Snow White.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs: New Perspectives on Production, Reception, Legacy
EditorsChris Pallant, Christopher Holliday
Chapter10
Pages179-198
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021

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