Revisiting the Brothers Grimm

Friday, January 25, 2013

Once upon a time…there was a little girl. Once upon a time…there was a little boy. Once upon a time, we heard a story or paged through a book or were tucked into bed at night thinking about once upon a time.

But where did "once upon a time" begin?

Maybe you heard the phrase in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, or a retelling of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, or on the big screen…in "Sleeping Beauty" or "Snow White."

As "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," the latest Grimm re-telling, hits the big screen, we look at where it all began with Maria Tatar, editor and translator of the new "Annotated Brothers Grimm." Tatar is also chair of the committee on degrees in folklore and mythology at Harvard University.

Of the Grimm brother's motives for collecting fairy tales, Tatar says: "The remarkable thing is that the Grimms were scholars. They were serious, sober, and erudite, and they just wanted to put together a collection for their colleagues… They put together this extraordinary volume which has traveled all over the world, and which has become not just German folklore, but our folklore. It has a kind of global reach to it."

Hollywood has no fear when it comes to remaking classic fairy tales, from "Little Red Riding Hood" to last year's dueling versions of "Snow White." But do these new versions do the classics justice? And how do they stand up to this weekend’s "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters."

The Takeaway’s Movie Date team, Rafer Guzman and Kristen Meinzer weigh in with their thoughts on the new movie, and about how fairy tales are being depicted on film these days.

In addition to hosting the Movie Date podcast, Rafer is film critic for Newsday and Kristen is culture producer for the Takeaway.

Guests:

Maria Tatar

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

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