Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults (1970)


aka The New Adventures of Snow White (Grimms MÄRchen Von LÜSternen PÄrchen)

West Germany. 1970.


Director – Pierry Thiele, Screenplay – Tom Baum, Photography – Wolf Wirth, Music – Joe Beck & Regis Mull. Production Company – Seaisland Properties


Walter Giller (Hans), Peter Hohberger (Heinz), Marie Liljedahl (Snow White), Gaby Fuchs (Sleeping Beauty), Eva Reuber-Staier (Cinderella), Ingrid Van Bergen (Evil Queen), Isolde Steigler (Blue Witch), Evelyn Dutree & Kitty Gschopf (Stepsisters)


Two not well intellectually endowed brothers, Hans and Heinz, make their way across the kingdom. Starting with a rock of gold, they exchange it for animals they think they would be better off with – variously a horse, a cow, a pig and a goose – and continue on. During their encounters, they run into various people. They meet Snow White, who is driven into the forest because her stepmother thinks her more beautiful than she is. After surviving attempts by animals to molest her, Snow White is taken in by seven dwarves. The queen continues to plot to kill her. Trying to get their goose back, Hans and Heinz next enter a forest of thorns and accidentally end up waking Sleeping Beauty and her kingdom from enchantment when they kiss her. She needs to have one of them make love to her to make the waking permanent. However, neither of them is able to perform without the other, even though they will become the king of the kingdom. The homely Sleeping Beauty searches for someone to make love to her. Meanwhile, Hans and Heinz save Cinderella from rape by a gang of thieves. They are transformed into birds by the Blue Witch but are able to aid Cinderella by giving her a dress for the ball. At the ball, Cinderella drops her slipper. As the prince searches the kingdom for the owner, Cinderella’s stepmother chops off the stepsisters’ toes in order to get them to fit into the slipper.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults is a peculiarity from West Germany that was one of the first – quite possibly the very first – adult film to offer up an erotic interpretation of fairytales. We soon saw numerous other sexual variations on children’s stories including The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio (1971), Alice in Wonderland (1976), Cinderella (1977), Cinderella 2000 (1977), Fairy Tales (1979), Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (1979), Cinderella (1985), The Erotic Adventures of Red Riding Hood (1986), Snow Black and the Seven Wienies (1989) and of course Walerian Borowczyk’s The Beast (1975), which is in a class all by itself.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults is at least accurate to the title – it adapts three well-known Grimm Brothers fairytales, those of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty/Little Brier-Rose and Cinderella. The film does a fair job of telling each of these tales, albeit truncatedly. Snow White is told essentially intact and would be recognized by anyone familiar with the original. The version of Cinderella here seems missing any scene where Cinderella drops her slipper and even of where she is initially wooed by the prince and is mostly concentrated on the scenes of the prince’s scouring the kingdom to find the owner of the slipper. The most variant of the tellings is Sleeping Beauty where the focus is not at all on the early part of the story where Sleeping Beauty is cursed, pricks her finger and goes to sleep, but rather on the very end (which comprises of two paragraphs in the Grimm version of the story) where the prince (here the two idiots) must venture through the forest of thorns and wake her with their kiss. Here, Sleeping Beauty turns out to be homely and spends the rest of the film wandering about looking for someone who will have sex with her and make the change permanent before the kingdom goes back to sleep. The Cinderella story is also prefaced by a preamble where the two idiots save her from being raped by a band of cannibalistic thieves, which in fact ends up being given more time than many of the classic parts of the fairytale. When it comes to the telling of Cinderella, one should complement the film for being more accurate to the Grimm version of the fairytale than any other film version – it retains the part where the stepmother conspires to get the two stepsisters to put on the slipper by cutting off one’s toe and the other’s heel, only for the prince to be alerted by a bird that whispers to look at the blood from the shoe (here the two idiots are transformed into birds by the witch).

Compared to most of today’s hardcore erotica/porn, Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults has an almost chaste innocence – the women rarely ever get undressed any more than displaying their breasts, there are very few pubic and no penetrative shots – and the emphasis is largely on a plot. The acting may not be the greatest but it is certainly better than that in most of today’s adult films where the actors look laughably stolid when required to do anything more than disrobe.

More than anything, Grimm’s Fairy Tales for Adults may be remembered for its sheer bizarreness. There is a surprising level of gore, with depiction of the stepsisters cutting parts of their feet off; the thieves and their barrels of severed limbs; and a scene where the Evil Queen sits down to eat Snow White’s severed sex organs. There is an odd sense of humour running through the film – like where Sleeping Beauty’s father, the king, wakes up in his bathtub and part way through the conversation a woman surfaces from beneath the water and he tells her “Not yet” and she goes back under again as he continues on his pronouncements as though nothing had happened. Although surely the most demented scene in the entire film is the one where Snow White tries to help the two idiots discover why their cow is not giving any milk and gets down and fellates one of its udders, followed by the two idiots each taking a turn.

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