Hi Aunt and Unk,
They used to show an animated film somewhere around Christmas every year, before the advent of VCRs; one that our mother used to circle in the TV Guide as not to miss. “It’s a beautiful story”, she would say. Mom also thought that the story of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL was beautiful, so you see where this is leading. Not surprising, both were by HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, who evidently gave the BROTHERS GRIMM some stiff competition in terms of painting the bleakest possible situations for children in stories.
THE SNOW QUEEN, at least the version I saw, and I guess there have been others, almost had a ’40s Disney vibe to it, at least in terms of animation quality. And along the lines of PINOCCHIO and SNOW WHITE, it didn’t hold back in dishing out some old school fear. It was narrated by a little fat elf named Old Dreamy.
The main gist of THE SNOW QUEEN is that it spins the tale of two blonde-haired kids, a girl and boy, up North in Finland or somewhere in the 1800s, who are happy by the fire in their cottage during a cold winter’s night. One of them makes a joking remark, offending the Snow Queen, who is some kind of supernatural goddess type with an icy heart who rules in a castle even further north, and has command of the weather. I guess she can hear all too, and is not to be taken lightly.
In retribution, we see her large face fill up the window looking inside. The kids gasp, and she sends an ice storm into the house, which blows open the window, and somehow affects the young boy by entering him through his eye, turning him into a cold-hearted, mean-spirited jerk. I remember him stomping on the little girl’s roses and making her cry. He is later picked up by the Snow Queen in a sleigh, and held captive in her castle, much the same in spirit as the Narnia Ice Queen. The rest of the story is the little girl’s harrowing ordeal to get him back, since Lord knows, no adults seem to be interested.
Fast-forward to the end, where she gets to the castle, hugs the mean boy, and melts his icy heart, bringing him back to her. Something is expelled from his eye, and we get a look at it… an ice splinter, about two inches long. Somehow after that, it all gets better and the story ends.
My sister and I both found this more horrible than a decapitation. We grew up in an old wood house without much carpeting, with plenty of splinters extracted by Dad, armed with a needle and a cigarette lighter for “sterilization,” so splinter trauma abounded. Couple that trauma with the eyeball, and even a normal splinter would be too awful to bear, but to get a look at the roofing nail of a pointy ice dagger that was somehow stuck in this little boy’s eye…..oh, I’m getting nauseated just writing about it.
I’m almost certain this was pulled from the Yuletide T.V. schedule for being just too plain miserable for kids to watch.
Anyone remember this?
UNK SEZ: Bigwig, thanks for the frosty traumafession! Sorry if the images I gathered are from a different version of THE SNOW QUEEN than the one you speak of. (They are all from the acclaimed, 1957 Soviet version.) I myself seem to recall THE SNOW QUEEN being shown back-to-back with THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL in the early eighties but I can’t find any reference to it on IMDb even when I search under HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. Let me know if you ever locate the version you are looking for. By the way, my mom had a thing for THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL too!