Snow White (1997)

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German title Brothers Grimms Snow White (DVD title)
Original title Snow White: A Tale of Terror
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1997
length 100 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Michael Cohn
script Deborah Serra , Thomas E. Szollosi
production Robert W. Cort , Tom Engelman , Ted Field , Scott Kroopf
music John Ottman
camera Mike Southon
cut Ian Crafford

Snow White (Original Title: Snow White: A Tale of Terror ) is an American fantasy film directed by Michael Cohn from 1997 . It is a film adaptation of the fairy tale Snow White .


Lady Lilliana Hoffman is heavily pregnant with her first child when she sets off on a carriage tour with her husband Frederick. On the way home there is an accident, the carriage is overturned and threatened by wolves. Severely injured, Lady Hoffman asks her husband to give birth to her child and hands him a knife to perform the caesarean section. When the snow turns red with her blood and the child is born, Lady Hoffman dies of the consequences of childbirth. Lord Hoffman now has to look after his daughter Lilliana alone as little Lilliana until he falls in love with Claudia and marries her.

Claudia, who moves into her husband's castle with a large cupboard in the form of a female figure, a birdcage in which a raven sits, and with her mute brother Gustav, tries to be friendly to Lilliana as well as to the other people in the castle to be. But she feels more and more that Lilliana is withdrawing from her and distrusting Claudia's nice intentions. Likewise, all the other servants of the castle are suspicious of the new mistress and are apparently still very attached to the old mistress. On one occasion little Lilly can hide from her maid under her stepmother's bed. From under the bed she watches as the maid approaches Claudia's large closet and opens the doors. Suddenly the maid makes choking noises and falls dead to the ground, her face contorted with pain.

When Claudia finally becomes pregnant after nine years, everyone is delighted, and Claudia believes that the memory of the former Lady Hoffman can finally be erased with the birth of a son. During a party Claudia sings a wonderful song for the guests, who listen intently to her, while Lilly is late as always and, instead of putting on the dress suggested by her stepmother, rummages around in the attic. Lilly finds her mother's old clothes chest, from which she takes a white dress and puts it on. In this dress she enters the ballroom and while Claudia sings, she attracts everyone's attention. Those present are distracted by Lilly's appearance, because Lilly appears in her mother's dress, her father forgets Claudia's singing and the party begins with a dance with his daughter. While Claudia comes down from the stage, visibly confused, she suddenly goes into labor. She miscarries, the longed-for son is stillborn. Claudia is given birth by a friend of Lilly, Peter Gutenberg, who is a doctor and who returned from Paris shortly before the party .

Claudia learns from Peter that she will never have a child again. While the maids want to burn the dead child, Claudia asks her brother to save the baby and bring it to her. Due to the agony of the miscarriage, Claudia kneels in front of the cupboard, kisses the hands of the woman carved into the wood and has a conversation with the cupboard, which she also calls mother. Only now does the viewer see that a large mirror is hidden in the closet, in front of which Claudia collapses and begins to cry. Suddenly Claudia sees that her own reflection is changing. She no longer sees her real reflection in the mirror, but her younger and more beautiful self that she says she is beautiful and that she would be helped. Shortly afterwards you can see how Lilly apologizes to Claudia for her past behavior, as she always argued with her stepmother. Nevertheless, Claudia's hatred is concentrated on her stepdaughter, and from this point on, her mind begins to change almost diabolically, which remains hidden under Claudia's normal and calm surface.

During a ride, Peter Lilly proposes marriage. In the middle of the engagement kiss, Peter is called to the castle by a messenger. Lilliana remains alone in the forest and discovers Gustav who appears to be injured. As she approaches him, Gustav pulls a knife and tries to kill Lilliana with it. After a fight, she escapes and falls into a hole in the forest floor, through which she enters an underground tunnel and continues to run through the forest in a panic. Meanwhile, Gustav kills a pig in the castle and a short time later presents its heart to Claudia as proof that he has done his job to kill Lilly. Claudia instructs Gustav to take the giblets to the kitchen to prepare them for dinner, she keeps the heart. As Frederick and Claudia sit down to eat, a storm is brewing around the castle and Frederick is worried about Lilliana because she is not home yet. When the meal is served, Claudia immediately takes a spoonful of the supposed meat of her stepdaughter and tells her husband to eat too. In the middle of the meal, Peter bursts into the news that Lilliana's horse has been found. While all the men from the castle set out on a nightly search, Lilliana finds refuge in an abandoned church. Meanwhile, at the castle, Claudia performs a wild dance with the supposed heart of Lilly for the joy that her stepdaughter is dead. When her heart rolls out of her hand at this moment, it is eaten by Lilly's own dog. Claudia then collapses and coughs blood. At that moment the cupboard opens and a voice tells Claudia that it has failed. In the woods, Frederick falls from his shy horse and breaks his leg.

Lilly has lay down on the floor in the protective church ruins and is sleeping. She is rudely awakened by a band of outcasts, who at first reserve her, but in the face of need they face peacefully. After initial difficulties, Will, the leader of the group, falls in love with her.

In the meantime, Claudia discovers that her brother has betrayed her. Your alter ego in the talking mirror demands revenge on the traitor. A figure dressed in a dark cloak then appears to Gustav, who drives him to suicide. Claudia's madness and hatred is now taking on stranger and stranger forms and slowly her behavior towards the castle servants is becoming more authoritative. After another murder plan against Lilliana fails, Claudia forges her last plan against Lilliana at the castle, which she carries out herself, disguised as an old apple seller. Lilliana eats the poisoned fruit, chokes and falls into a kind of coma. Her friends are heartbroken over her death and do not realize that she is still breathing and trying to give signs. Lilliana is bedded in a glass coffin and laid out in the forest. While she notices everything around her despite the rigor, everyone continues to believe that she is dead and are planning the funeral.

During this time, Claudia begins in her madness to transform the whole castle into a kind of horror cabinet. Her husband is completely isolated from her and she is firing almost all of the servants. The entire castle falls into a kind of nightmarish fantasy in which only Claudia has power over life and death. Her only partner is the talking mirror, her alter ego, who now explains to her that she can finally bring her dead child to life with the semen and blood of her husband.

When Lilliana is buried in her glass coffin and the first shovels of earth fall on the glass wall, Will notices that she is still alive, takes her out of the coffin and frees her from the poisoned piece of apple. Lilliana learns from her friend Peter Gutenberg what has happened in the meantime at her father's castle and decides to face her stepmother. But it is not only the delusions that have become flesh and the hatred of her stepmother that make it difficult for Lilliana to fight her way into the castle and to her father. Finally she can defend herself against the curses and the madness of Claudia, who toppled Gutenberg to death out of a window. She thrusts a dagger into the speaking mirror, whereupon blood flows out of this and Claudia also bleeds from her stomach and, moaning in pain, begs for her life. In front of the mirror she has to look in horror at how she suddenly ages rapidly and loses her beauty. Then the mirror shatters in front of her eyes and the splinters of glass dig deep into her face. Screaming in pain, the disfigured Claudia gets caught in a fire that was kindled from a candlestick that was overturned in battle and dies in it. Lilliana flees the castle with Will and her father.


Christopher Null wrote on that the film was true to the literary model ( "this is a more Grimm-like version of the story" ). One could like him.

The London magazine Time Out wrote that the film was " theatrical " and " sentimental ". The atmosphere was described as " poor " ( " insufficient criticized"). The script shows " Freudian " features. The presence of the " insignificant " acting Monica Keena is a problem.

The magazine Prisma wrote that the film was staged " modern ". The “ impressive locations ” and the “ opulent and terrifying images ” were praised. Furthermore, the costumes, the make-up, the special effects and the “ rich in nuances ” representation by Sigourney Weaver were praised.

Rotten Tomatoes praised the representations, the “ Gothic ”-looking backdrops, the costumes and the script, which takes “ nuances ” into account. The psychological background is presented in depth, the film is " visually and emotionally subtle ". It is not intended for children, but for “ thinking adults ”.


Sigourney Weaver, the costumes and make-up were nominated for an Emmy Award in 1998 . The film was nominated for the Saturn Award in 1998 . Mike Southon was nominated for the CableASC Award in 1997 and the American Society of Cinematographers Award in 1998 . Sigourney Weaver was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award in 1998 .



  1. Critique from Christopher Null  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  4. ^ Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997). About. Rotten Tomatoes , archived from the original on December 21, 2007 ; accessed on December 24, 2014 .
  5. Filming locations for Snow White: A Tale of Terror

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