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Alice in Wonderland (1933)

In Victorian England a bored young girl dreams that she has entered a fantasy world called Wonderland populated by even more fantastic characters.

Director:

(as Norman Mc Leod)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Austin ...
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Rabbit (as Skeets Gallagher)
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Storyline

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 <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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The Entertainment Miracle Of All Times!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 December 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Alice: I've often seen a cat without a grin - but a grin without a cat!
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Version of Alice in Wonderland (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat
(uncredited)
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin and Nat W. Finston
Words by Lewis Carroll
Sung by Edward Everett Horton and Charles Ruggles
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An All-Star Spectacular Just Misses True Classic Status
13 August 2009 | by (Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States) – See all my reviews

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.


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