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Alice's Wonderland (1923)

 -  Animation | Comedy | Short
6.7
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Alice visits an animation studio, where the animators show her various scenes on their drawing boards. A few of them: a cat dancing to a cat band; a mouse poking at a (live) cat until it ... See full summary »

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Title: Alice's Wonderland (1923)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Davis ...
Alice
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hugh Harman
Rudolf Ising
Ub Iwerks
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Storyline

Alice visits an animation studio, where the animators show her various scenes on their drawing boards. A few of them: a cat dancing to a cat band; a mouse poking at a (live) cat until it moves; a couple mice boxing, while the animators crowd around cheering and acting as corner-men. That night, she dreams of taking a train to cartoon-land, where a red carpet reception awaits. She appears in live action. They have a welcoming parade, with Alice riding on an elephant. The cartoons dance for her, and she dances for them. Meanwhile, the lions break out of the zoo. The lions chase her into a hollow tree, then into a cave and down a rabbit hole. Finally, she jumps off a cliff and awakes back in her bed. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Alice in Slumberland  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Margaret Davis, who played Alice's mother in the film, was the real-life aunt of Virginia Davis, who played Alice. Although many believe it to be her real mother, Virginia reveals in an interview on the Disney Treasures "Rarities" disc it was really her mother's sister. See more »

Goofs

The dolls at the foot of Alice's bed disappear in the middle of the shot when she is being tucked in by her mother. See more »

Connections

Featured in Disney Through the Decades (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Still a Lot of Fun
22 August 2006 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

When Walt Disney was just starting out he worked for an advertising agency in Kansas City drawing theatrical cartoon ads and experimented with stop-action animation in his spare time. His first animation venture "Laugh-O-Grams" was unsuccessful but its last gasp before going out of business was an unfinished one-reel (12 minute) cartoon called "Alice's Wonderland".

Max and Dave Fleischer had already introduced a cartoon series called "Out of the Inkwell" which superimposed animated figures on real film backgrounds (allowing a live actor to interact with a cartoon character). Walt borrowed this idea for the first segments of "Alice's Wonderland" and for the later segments he reversed it and superimposed a live actress (Virginia Davis) on an animated background. Virginia's mother let them shoot the live scenes in her house with Virginia's aunt playing Alice's mother.

The film begins with little Alice visiting an animation studio, where Walt and Ub Iwerks are working. They show her some scenes on their drawing boards and these turn into moving cartoons, which interact with live things in the studio. The best is a cartoon mouse (imagine that) poking a live cat until it moves. Although everything was silent in 1923 some music was later added to the production.

Back home from her day at the studio, the sleeping Alice dreams of taking a train to cartoon- land. She appears in live action superimposed on a cartoon background and interacts with a variety of cartoon animals. Finally, she jumps off a cliff and after falling for a while wakes up in her own bed.

Walt ran out of money before "Alice's Wonderland" could be finished and his company was disbanded. He moved out to Los Angeles and eventually sent what had been completed to an independent cartoon distributor in New York who contracted for a series of Alice cartoons.

Virginia Davis joined Walt in California and they began cranking out the series. Eventually there would be 56 Alice cartoons although Virginia was eventually replaced over a pay dispute.

"Alice's Wonderland" was probably never really completed. It appears that at some point they reassembled it to provide an ending (basically just a repeat of an earlier scene in a different context). It is also likely that the falling scene was originally intended for a rabbit hole entrance to Wonderland at the start of the dream sequence, but was moved to the end to substitute for the unfinished portion.

These silent cartoons are surprisingly entertaining. More importantly, Alice qualifies as Disney's first enduring character and the Alice series was his first successful venture.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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