Snow White, released in the U.S. as Snow White: The Fairest of Them All, was a television film, made in 2001, and based on the Snow White storyline. It was made by Hallmark and directed by Caroline Thompson. It deviates in several places from the original Brothers Grimm story and adds significant new characters and subplots. It also includes story elements from Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen. While often hailed as a much darker version of the original Grimm fairy tale, it includes some playful, humorous elements, and is not necessarily more faithful to the original than other popular film adaptations.
Born from a drop of blood in a flutter of apple blossoms, and framed in ebony, a young girl named Snow White (Kristin Kreuk) becomes the blessing of a loving peasant couple, John (Tom Irwin) and Josephine (Vera Farmiga). But with her birth comes a curse and the end of her mother's life. Left alone with an infant daughter, John braves a brutal winter in search for food for his starving angel. Salvation comes unexpectedly when the father's tears melt the frozen tomb of a bewitched creature, the Granter of Wishes (Clancy Brown). In thanks, the insinuating beast grants John three wishes: nourishment for Snow White, a kingdom in which to raise a family and a queen by his side, (originally he wanted his wife back, his "queen", but the Green-Eyed Granter of Wishes cannot raise the dead, but he can give him a queen, followed shortly by His idea to give John a kingdom.) But John's cause for celebration is short lived.
At the same time, seven dwarves are in the forest, looking for their friends, the gnomes. Deciding to look for them by splitting up, the leader, Sunday, finds them all petrified in an old crone's garden, in trying to free them, he ends up petrified himself. Meanwhile, the Granter of Wishes has devious plans for the well being of his own family. Owing his loathsome spellcasting sister, Elspeth (Miranda Richardson), a long awaited wish, he encourages her desires for appointment to the throne, by turning her from an old crone into a young beautiful woman. A kingdom to rule is hers for the waiting, the new King John is hers for the belittling and a luscious little stepdaughter named Snow White, is hers to toy with and destroy at will.
Sixteen years later, Snow White grows in grace and beauty. At this time Prince Alfred is visiting their kingdom. He sees Snow White and falls in love. This causes him to spend most of his visit trying to spend time with Snow White. She, however, pushes him away every time. In the mean time, Elspeth, who grows more and more vain each day, will consult her magic mirror. Different from other versions, the mirror in this tale actually comes to life with the figure and the voice of the one who is the fairest one of all (until now Elspeth).
Desiring a new, younger husband and to get rid of the princess, the Queen tries to put Prince Alfred under a spell to fall in love with her. She fails at this, and even the King begins to realize Elspeth's darkness.
Finally, on the day of the banquet celebrated in honor of Prince Alfred, the mirror answers the queen with Snow White's voice and figure, "I am, I am, I am the fairest of them all!" The Queen falls to the floor in a fit of panic, anger and rage. One of her servants called Hector comes to her and offers himself to do whatever she asks (he fell under the spell by mistake instead of the Prince). "Anything?" replies the Queen with a look of vengeance.
The Prince searches for Snow White and finds her walking in the gardens and declares his love for her. Snow White at first shows unsympathetic but after seeing that he is sincere and true, tries to answer him with a kiss.
Hector arrives with orders from the Queen to kill Snow White, and with lies he draws her away from the prince and to the rabbit traps (because Hector says that the Queen wants stewed rabbit for breakfast). While Snow White kneels to free the rabbits, Hector raises his knife but changes in the last minute (a tear rolling down his cheek) realizing that he cannot take Snow White's life. "She wants your heart. She'll have your heart. Run, beautiful girl! Run!" cries Hector to Snow White, who heads into the dark, starless forest running for her life.
The Queen takes advantage that Prince Alfred is alone and tries to seduce him, but he runs away and she transforms him into a bear. But while doing so, her magic mirror's light reflected Sunday, and half of him is undone. He flees to find his brothers, (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday)
Queen Elspeth finds out that she was tricked, in a fit of anger, rage, and hatred, she kills Hector. Using the mirror, she flies to the forest where she previously saw Snow White, and drops a beautiful silken sash in her path. Snow White sees, and put it on. The sash wraps itself tightly around Snow White's waist, and cuses her to pass out from suffocation. Sunday finds her and unties the sash, causing Snow White to wake up with several deep, wheezing breaths. Snow White sees Sunday, and faints again from shock. And when she wakes up again, she is in the house of the seven dwarves. After a while she sgrees to stay, but wants to get back to her home to find her father, free her prince, and stop the Queen. The dwarves agree to do so, but refuse to let her go with them.
Finding out she failed to kill Snow White, Queen Elspeth tricks Snow White into eating a poisonous apple, the Queen magically disguises herself in a way that resembles Snow White's deceased mother and eventually makes her fall asleep. Back at the palace, the mirror once again shows Elspeth saying "You are, You are, You are the fairest of them all!" but when The Queen tries to turn herself back into her beautiful form she instead became once again the ugly old hag she used to be before her brother turned her into a queen. The Granter of Wishes returns and she hopes that he will make her beautiful again, but he says that because of what her vanity led her to do she cannot have her beauty restored again. He also explains that Snow White only was a threat because Elspeth saw her as such. In a tantrum, Elspeth destroys her magic mirror, the source of her magic powers. Causing all of her spells to be undone, (includong petrifying Sunday and the gnomes, transforming Prince Alfred, poisoning Snow White.)
Eventually the Prince finds Snow White and wakes her up with a kiss, (after he was turned back into a man) and they lived happily ever after.
Some of the characters required a great deal of prosthetics and makeup, including the goblin/genie-like Granter of Wishes, his witch-like sister, and a dwarf who is partially transformed into a garden statue. The filmmakers took advantage of computer-generated imagery to portray other fantasy elements. The Queen's magical hand mirror, when seen flying across various landscapes in search of Snow White, is computer-generated, as are several creatures and other props seen very briefly in the film.