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Alice's Wonderland (1923)

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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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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1923 (USA)  »

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Alice in Slumberland  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Virginia Davis' film debut. See more »

Goofs

The animation of the lions charging Alice starts before she starts running, so the first few lions seem to run past her. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Over the Garden Wall: Chapter 8: Babes in the Woods (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
the Pilot episode
17 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

I once commented on this short film without, regrettably, having even seen what I thought at the time was the whole film (just a couple of clips in a documentary on Disney's early career, which I thought were it). Seeing the whole short now on a rarity-Disney DVD collection is a nice revelation for what was to come for Disney, chiefly in his silent pictures.

He made a bunch of these little Alice shorts, which ran in the silent film days in between and before features, all starring a plucky little 5 year old girl played by Virginia Davis. I'm not sure if this one is the best or most funny or successful of the shorts as I've yet to see most of them. But as a kind of pilot episode, one setting up the broad strokes of the series, it could've been a lot worse. As it is it's a kind of early technical marvel, a great pinpoint of the further innovations throughout the century, however crude or slow the process would be, in having animation with live actors. Here, Alice starts off by watching Disney himself drawing some 'funnies' or animated comics. It's infectious for her, and she dreams in a kind of Cartoonland dream where all sorts of little animals and other creatures give her goofy delights (you even see a few with hats as the welcoming committee at a train station). But once the lions break out of the Cartoonland zoo, ho-ho, wackiness ensues!

This maybe isn't the greatest 'art', and it may have just been meant as filler in some way, but it might be closer to something artistic in its extremely absurd way. Ub Iwerks' animation, with Disney's direction, is perfect for the mindset of a little girl or other kid, and it even features little bits of true hilarity, like when a Lion takes out his upper row of teeth and files then down. It's a silent film with little quirks and pips in the soundtrack, and not for one mili-second does it take itself seriously. For that alone it should be recognized; it's a really neat work of repeated, crude but nice little cartoons, with a plucky Davis in the part.


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