I got curious about the number of times this fanciful tale had been told on film - and discovered that it is filmed as often - or, perhaps, more! - as "A Christmas Carol!" So many, starting right at the turn of the past century!
(1923). This was a Disney short, in it Alice visits Disney’s cartoon studio where the cartoons jump off the page. Later on, she sleeps and dreams that she has gone to Cartoonland where she is able to interact with the cartoon characters. Alice was played by Virgina Davis (1918–2009). Virginia signed her first contract with Disney for a salary of $100 a month, and she began filming the Alice shorts in Walt Disney’s first studio, his uncle’s garage. His brother Roy O. Disney was the cameraman, and the Disney family dog Peggy appeared in many of the films. The Alice shorts became very popular, providing Disney with his first national success. But as the series progressed, Disney became more interested in the animation aspect, which minimized Virginia’s live-action role; she only made about thirteen of the Alice shorts before her contract was severed.
Alice in Wonderland (1931) This is the first sound version of the story. The film starred Ruth Gilbert (1912-1993) as Alice. This low-budget film was possibly made with a cast of amateur actors, many of whom struggled to reproduce British accents. It came out one year before the centenary of the birth of Lewis Carroll, which was causing a wave of ‘Alice’ fever on both sides of the Atlantic. Because of this interest, the film opened at the prestigious Warner Theater in New York. It was not financially successful though and received little critical attention. Today, it is rarely if ever shown, and for a time there was even some doubt as to whether prints of it still existed. It has never been shown on television
all-star cast. It is all live-action, except for the Walrus and The Carpenter sequence, which was animated by Leon Schlesinger Productions. Paramount, wanting to cast an unknown actress in the title role of Alice in Wonderland, picked Charlotte from nearly 7000 applicants worldwide.
Stars who featured in the film included W. C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Edna May Oliver as the Red Queen, Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle (Grant’s star was still on the ascent at the time), Gary Cooper as the White Knight, Edward Everett Horton as The Hatter, Charles Ruggles as The March Hare, and Baby LeRoy as The Joker. However, it was a notable flop at the box office, the film even cast doubt on whether or not a live-action fantasy peopled by strange-looking characters could be successfully presented on the screen, until MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) erased such doubts.
This version is shown regularly on Turner Classic Movies on tv - and there are lots of clips on youtube.
The film was not widely seen in the U.S. upon its completion, due to a legal dispute with the Disney Studios, which was making its own full-length animated version of Alice at the same time as the Bower version was being worked on. Disney sued to prevent release of the British version in the U.S., and the case was extensively covered in Time magazine. The company that released the British version accused Disney of trying to exploit their film by releasing its version at virtually the same time. Both films flopped in the U.S. when they opened in 1951, but Disney saw to it that the fame of its version was kept alive by showing an edited version of it on network television as part of their Disneyland series and issuing two record albums based on the film.
(1951). This is the 1951 American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based primarily on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a few additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass. The 13th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film was released in New York City and London on July 26, 1951. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont (who would later voice Wendy Darling in the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan) as Alice, and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter. The film met with a lukewarm response at the box office and was a sharp disappointment in its initial release, earning an estimated $2.4 million at the US box office in 1951.
Mad Hatter, has described Mallik’s Alice as “a sullen, pouting, pubescent with no sense of bewilderment”, noting also that, in his view, “the whole piece was strangely lacking in either humour or fear”.
(1999) American TV can't seem to get enough "Alice in Wonderland" and another special was filmed with Tina Majorino starring as Alice. Another all-star cast was gathered as the inhabitants of Wonderland, including Whoopi Goldberg, Robbie Coltrane, Ben Kingsley, Miranda Richardson, Martin Short, George Wendt, Gene Wilder, Peter Ustinov, and Christopher Lloyd. This production was not successful, either with viewer or critics. Though visually a feast, the addition of "Through the Looking Glass" scenes and an unnecessary subplot about Alice being afraid to sing at a party just slowed down the entire affair until it ground to a half ... half way before it was over. Perhaps if an editor today were to take it and turn it into a 90 minute special it would have a better chance.
(2010) In the most recent film version Tim Burton has nineteen-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) return to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror. Again, a cast of star accompany her journey - most notably Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen. Also on hand are Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, and Christopher Lee...and a cast of thousands. Burton adapts the Alice story - updates, rearranges, changes, enhances, deconstructs and reconstructs it. He pulls out all the famous Tim Burton "tricks" with fanciful and disturbing make-up and sets and uses CGI, 3-D, and every other film tech wizardry available to him. I absolutely adore this film - many many do - and just as many didn't care for it. It got mixed reviews for all the same reasons - some critics raved - some ranted. But it was a huge hit, because whether one ended up liking it or not liking it, everybody wanted to see the latest "Alice in Wonderland!"
So there we have it. "Alice in Wonderland" on film through the years. I thank my friend, Marissa, for getting me interested enough to do several hours research and watch a LOT of youtube clips for the films I had never seen before! I wouldn't exactly call it a chore.
Hmmmm. Now, I'm thinking I need to do an "Alice in Wonderland" themed tag/photo/journal album!
And, so, it's time for YOU to go make something beautiful!
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥
There was also another animated version around 1965/66. Sammy Davis Jr. was the chesire cat and Hedda Hopper was the mad hatter.
Thanks - you're absolutely right - I didn't include it because it was a Hannah Barbera short and not a full-length film.
The youtube link to the Hedda Hopper sequence is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CivAMiJF9Ek
And I just sold my Alice in Wonderland clay Cheshire cat, now you got me in the mood to do anther one! Thanks for sharing!
That was fun. I didn't realize there were so many versions out there.
I would love to see the one with Edna May Oliver! Is that Ann Jillian with Carol Channing?
Good eye, Deanna - yes, it is!
I loved the 1933 version & Tim Burton's version but I love everything Tim Burton - my 1st husband and still good friend transferred his love of everything Alice in 1970 to me & still find myself reading the Alice books
TRISTAN! Good morning!
I am off to get ready to go to work, but I am so happy to see a new post from you! I don't want to lose you again!
DO IT. DO A THEME of Alice in a great and different way. I'd love to see what you do! Happy day! Anita
Thank you for a fantastic and informative post! Love the images and love the info. Of course, I love anything Alice, too!
Fascinating. So many Alices, so little time . . .
I love watching all sorts of Alice-related films, there are so many of them! The amazing thing is there are always new materials being dreamed up by people all the time, it's doubtful this story will ever be forgotten until the language dies off...it's a classic story for all ages!
Thank you for a lovely post :) I really love the layout of your site! Think I'll explore around a bit...
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