Lyon, France — Walt Disney’s “Alice Comedies,” a series of cartoons made before Disney went to Hollywood, have been freshly restored and re-packaged for global distribution by France’s Malavida Films, one of the specialty cinema companies announcing their 2017 lineups at Lyon’s Lumière
festival vintage cinema market.
Disney made the silent shorts starting in 1923 when he was still a struggling cartoon filmmaker in Kansas City. They feature a young girl named Alice, originally played by Virginia Davis
, who interacts with animated characters. Local company Laugh-o-gram Films produced them and subsequently went bust. Now they are in the public domain.
“These are the only films in the Disney catalogue that are not copyrighted,” said Malavida co-chief Lionel Ithurralde.
Malavida is a niche vintage arthouse movies outfit whose upcoming French releases include several works by British director Derek Jarman
, including his 1976 drama “Sebastiane
,” the first film ever shot in Latin.