No, it was not Walt Disney and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, certainly a masterpiece, which was the first animated feature film in the history of cinema. It is actually a much older creation, a little forgotten …
The first animated feature film in the history of cinema? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Disney Studios, of course! Stop someone in the street and ask them. There is a good chance that he or she will answer you by evoking the princess with the jet black hair.
And yet, even if it is the first to have truly marked the spirits, Snow White is “only” the fourth animated feature film.
The first is titled El Apòstol and was created on November 9, 1917 in Argentina, years before Walt Disney founded his own studios. The 70-minute film directed by Quirino Cristiani is a silent, black-and-white political satire, and enjoyed public and critical success upon its release.
Made using cutout paper puppets, the film ends with a fire ravaging the city of Buenos Aires. Ironically, the only copy of the feature film also ended up burned in a fire in 1926. The film is therefore considered lost.
It will be followed by Peludopolis, the first animated and talking feature film, also directed by Quirino Cristiani in 1931, then by The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1936, signed by the Italians Umberto Spano and Raoul Verdini.
In the meantime, Walt Disney has launched his own project. One evening in the spring of 1934, he invited his entertainers to a restaurant on Hyperion Avenue and presented his new idea to them after the meal: a tale by the Brothers Grimm, adapted into a feature film, animated, talking (even singing, at times) and colorful. .
When it was released in theaters 3 years later, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be rewarded with an honorary Oscar, accompanied by 7 small statuettes and the mention “Indisputable innovation in the field of cinematography which has charmed millions of spectators and opened up vast possibilities for cinema.”