The adaptation is faithful to Lewis Carroll's novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," a thinly-veiled satire of 19th-century England. The Queen of Hearts is really Queen Victoria, the King is Prince Albert, the White Rabbit is the chancellor of Oxford, the Cheshire Cat is the Dean of Oxford University's Christ College... and the Valet is Lewis Carroll himself. See more »
This version of 'Alice in Wonderland' (a co-production between the UK and France) suffered from being released around the same time as the Disney cartoon with little advertising; and through being suppressed from release in the UK due to the portrayal of Queen Victoria in the early pre-fantasy scenes.
It was also filmed in Ansocolor, a process which has not travelled well if the print in the archives is anything to go by. Carol Marsh is an OK Alice, but looks older than she should be - the puppets are mainly hideous and would be frightening to children (especially the Mock Turtle, the Duchess, and the Mouse Alice encounters in the lake of tears). I did like the footmen-fish however and the combination of live action with puppet work, if a bit creaky, does have charm.
At the start of the film, we meet the dons of Oxford and the Queen (the Vice-Chancellor then becomes the White Rabbit, the Queen is the Queen of Hearts, with the same actors providing the voices). The switch into the 'Wonderland' story proper comes with a boat trip in which the stuttering Dodgson entertains the Liddel girls to compensate from them missing the visit of the Queen to Oxford.
There is much to enjoy in this film - the score is good, if a little saccharine, the puppets are memorable (although one or two, especially the Caterpillar, compare unfavourably with their Disney counterparts), and the story still has charm. There is also enough humour to entertain adult audiences while the main story enthrals their children. Recommended, if hard to track down these days.
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