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Timeless Fairy Tale Films

Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
Snow White

Many fairy tales have resurfaced in various forms on film, stage, musicals and even operas to appeal to large audience of all ages.

However, the classic fairy tales originally written by Brothers Grimm were gruesome, sexual and slightly violent - a far cry from the sanitized versions of today. The 2015 Cinderella film by Disney excludes pigeons pecking out the stepsister's eyes, and the sisters cutting off their toes and heels in attempt to fit into the glass slipper.

Arts and entertainment editor for the Shepherd Express Dave Luhrssen thinks that there is still value in fairy tales... even the watered down versions.

"I think that these things are so much a part of our imagination that I find it hard to believe that 50 years from now there won't be fairy tale films being made." - Dave Luhrssen

"I think that a good case can be made that fairy tales are of great assistance in helping to shape the imagination of children to be able to deal with the difficulties of real life," he says.

However, Luhrssen is not a fan of the "overly-sanitized, scrubbed up, nicey-nice sort of children's stories that have proliferated in the twentieth century where you're afraid of frightening a child."

"I think fear in small doses is a good thing because we're going to have to deal with things in life that are not going to be pleasant," he says.

Luhrssen's list of timeless fairy tale films:

  • Hansel & Gretel (1937) - The fairy tale has over  twenty version made spanning from film, stage and opera.
  • Wizard of Oz (1939)

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
"When I was a child, I remember how frightened I was when one of the trees reached out to grab Snow White in the forest," says Luhrssen.

  • Stardust (2007)

  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
Dan Harmon was one of the original members of Lake Effect (formerly At Ten). He started at WUWM in November of 1998 and left December of 2015 after 17 years of production.
David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.