Alice (Fiona Fullerton) falls down a rabbit hole and into a magical dream world populated by surreal characters and bewildering adventures. It's a journey of self-discovery for Alice as she... See full summary »
A modern adaptation of the classic children's story 'Alice through the Looking Glass' written by Lewis Carol, which continued on from the popular 'Alice in Wonderland' story. This time ... See full summary »
Join Alice on her journey through the mirror in BBC's fanciful adaptation of Lewis Caroll's classic novel. In an alternate world, just on the other side of the mirror's reflection, Alice ... See full summary »
On a boring winter afternoon, Alice dreams, that she's visiting the land behind the mirror. This turns out to be a surrealistic nightmare, with all sorts of strange things happening to her, like changing her size or playing croquet with flamingos. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
The failure of the film at the box office was attributed to the fact that although a top-rank cast was used, many of them were virtually unrecognizable under their heavy makeup and costuming. See more »
When Alice holds the encyclopedia up to the mirror, the insert shot shows it as being VOL. VII (REF - SUB) but when the scene cuts to a two shot of Alice holding the book and smiling, it can be seen that the volume she is holding is VOL. VIII (SUB - ZX-something). See more »
I've often seen a cat without a grin - but a grin without a cat!
See more »
The opening cast credits are in order of appearance, with stills of credited actors shown twice: first in full costume and mask with the character name identified, and followed by a studio photo of each with their actor name identified. The end credits are in alphabetical order and presented normally with a character name and actor name on each line. See more »
An All-Star Spectacular Just Misses True Classic Status
In the depths of the Great Depression, Paramount mounted this spectacular fantasy with a galaxy of top flight stars and just missed creating a classic. Like the stage ALICE IN WONDERLAND Eva LeGallienne had mounted the year before at her Civic Repertory Theatre in New York
only just closed when the film opened - which appears to have
inspired this production, the sets and costumes are drawn heavily from the classic and by then in public domain illustrations from the original book by John Tenniel.
The result is a dazzling world - starting with Alice's Victorian drawing room where she is waiting out a snow storm with her cat, Dinah and her aunt before beginning her explorations Through the Looking Glass (the film combines both of Lewis Carroll's most famous books) and continuing through most of the most famous incidents from the books in live action fantasy form.
Only "The Walrus and The Carpenter," delightfully rendered by Max Fleischer's cartoon studio (one would love to have seen the cut footage of the similarly popular "You Are Old Father William" poem!) was deemed too hard to portray with live actors - the baby oysters lured from their bed for culinary conversation - "Shoes and ships and sealing wax" and all that. You've probably seen this cartoon edited from the film and issued separately!
This was a separate Hollywood production, despite similarities with the Broadway play with music, and didn't use the any of that show's Richard Addinsell song score (recorded by RCA during the stage show's 1947 revival) but turned Dimitri Tiomkin loose on it, and it's nice to see that film's premiere composer could also turn out a nice enough song or two too. This was a first class production all the way - and like MGM's WIZARD OF OZ six years later, didn't make money in it's initial release
or initial RE-release in 1935. Lacking ...OZ's Technicolor and
popular song score, this ALICE IN WONDERLAND didn't even carve out its classic niche when television came in, and is now almost lost - supplanted in the popular mind by the fine 1951 Disney animated version of the story, but is well worth seeking out for lovers of Lewis Carroll, classic fantasy or classic film.
Technicolor or not, songs or not, the film still has elements which dazzle and only a few serious drawbacks for the "short attention span" set. Charlotte Henry is a fine, natural Alice (in an all too brief career of only 31 films, before retiring during WWII, she also did the Laurel & Hardy BABES IN TOYALAND in 1934 and the best of all the Chans, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA in 1936 as Boris Karloff's daughter!) and she is ably supported by a cast of great actors - not all of whom have the luxury of costumes revealing their faces like Ned Sparks' Caterpillar, Edward Everett Horton's Mad Hatter or Edna May Oliver's Red Queen, but the voices of rising stars like Cary Grant (a wonderful singing Mock Turtle) and old pro W.C. Fields (Humpty Dumpty) won't really require seeing the faces in their "Tenniel come-to-life" costumes.
The problem, if any, comes in the mad whirl of crazy fantasy that takes Alice deeper and deeper into Wonderland (and its sequel) and after a while can lose the audience's interest as they try clinging to a thru-story line. Stick around though, for Gary Cooper's appearance around an hour into the film as The White Knight (only the name is type casting)! It is one of the greatest treats in a motion picture packed with them - and arguably one of the crowning gems of Cooper's career. Quite wonderful.
Modern audiences may cringe a bit in the opening scene seeing Alice, in a highly starched - and highly FLAMMABLE - dress and apron climbing on the grate in front of a burning fireplace to look in the mirror over the hearth, but someone at the studio did notice (and probably hoped the audience wouldn't). When Alice returns, the fire is out.
After 75 years though, the fire is far from out on this fascinating extravaganza. If you get a chance to see it, grab it.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?