Alice dozes in a garden, awakened by a dithering white rabbit in waistcoat with pocket watch. She follows him down a hole and finds herself in a hall of many doors. A key opens a small door... See full summary »
One of the most well-known stories begins one golden summer afternoon. Alice is sitting on a riverbank with her sister when a fully-dressed, talking rabbit runs past her. She follows the ... See full summary »
Sarah Jane Curran
Exploring the somewhat darker and more mysterious side of the Lewis Carroll's classic book, the movie follows Alice Liddell (the book's inspiration) as an old woman who is haunted by the ... See full summary »
A quiet young English girl named Alice finds herself in an alternate version of her own reality after chasing a white rabbit. She becomes surrounded by living inanimate objects and stuffed ... See full summary »
A journey through the Wonderland of NYC. Alice is a young woman reaching a crossroads in life when she happens upon a world that tries to sway her in all different directions. Based upon "... See full summary »
Robert E. Lee
Kevin Fitzpatrick Murphy,
The first "talking" movie version of "Alice in Wonderland," produced in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1931, two years before Paramount's all-star production. Ruth Gilbert stars as Lewis Carroll's heroine in this black and white featurette (running under an hour) directed by Bud Pollard.
I'd been casually searching for a copy for years, and finally managed to get ahold of a DVD copy of a pretty battered 16mm print.
Well. It's about what you'd expect for a 1931 talkie -- a creaky curiosity of a film with overly broad acting, awkward pauses, rudimentary costumes and sets and a primitive-sounding soundtrack.
I have a hard time imagining that anyone enjoyed watching this, even in 1931; it comes across as little more than a filmed community theater production of "Alice" without any real sense of Carroll's wit or whimsy. (Then again, that's how I also feel about the 1933 movie starring Charlotte Henry, despite its higher production values.) The climactic trial of the Knave of Hearts does boast a decidedly shocking twist not found in the book that probably had Lewis Carroll turning in his grave.
A heavily made-up Ruth Gilbert was about 18 when she played Alice; a little of her "little girl" routine goes a long way. Now and then she tries to affect what may have been a trans-Atlantic accent, but most of the time she carries on like a Broadway chorine. (When confronted by the other characters toward the end, this all-too-American Alice yells at them, "Come on, all of you! Who's afraid of a paltry pack of cards!")
Still, despite its shortcomings, this film remains interesting from a historical perspective, not only as the first sound "Alice," but also as a reminder of Fort Lee's prominent place in early film history.
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