Friday, May 9, 2008

The Snow Queen - Sandra Dee version

Sandra Dee and The Snow Queen? If you think that is an odd combo, think again. Any Baby Boomers reading this one may have a vague memory of a cartoon seen in many kiddie matinees and then, later, on television.I'd suggest you find this in book form first as many editions exist. My favorite? Find the one with the name Jane Yolen attached to it. Incredible artwork, well told story.

Back to the film... the original film (the only one worth seeing, I think) was a translation of the Russian original, with one lovely song by Sandra Dee (Do What Your Heart is Feeling). It is worth looking up and you can get versions of it at Amazon or other dealers. Be careful to get the older DVD or VHS (and if you are fortunate enough to find an original recording, consider yourself blessed indeed). The soundtrack recording is now rare.

The soundtrack I love was made into an album from the English language version of the film, a 1957 Soviet produced animated musical film which was first released in the US in 1959, to the best of my recollection and researching abilities.

This was in the days when children were assumed to be able to listen to both the front and back sides of a long playing album, no video, sound only (like radio, only on a record player). My sister and I listened to that album so many times that I can still recite the song lyrics by heart and hear the voices of Patty McCormack, the ambivalent Angel, with her evil/good polarity... and the sweet, pained singing of Sandra Dee as Gerta. A classic movie! It was much better than the typical films shown at Saturday movie fests and I always cheered when it came up as part of the day's fare.

As a young romantic sort, I was entranced by the story of Gerta, the young girl who loves Kai (pronounced "Kay") so strongly and unconditionally that even when his heart is turned to ice by the Snow Queen, Gerta's love remains constant. She even goes in search of him, willing to face all sorts of trials for an uncertain future. One could do worse than to learn about unconditional love - and its challenges - at an early age.

Of course, you may want to introduce your children to other fairy tales, those which are on the page (not just film or record versions) as well. For children and adults who relate to multi-media presentations or are aural learners, the soundtrack or movie is worth searching out. Just get the original...sorry to be so repetitive about that, but it is worth stressing.

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