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Mónica von Reust,
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Finding a recorded copy may be hard to do, but not impossible. There are at least two versions that have survived from the original, both lasting approximately forty minutes. The original was a six-reeler, or about an hour long, which may also have included scenes from the "Through the Looking Glass" story. Minimally, what has survived is missing the defining scene early in the story where Alice grows very big and than small, then later the Mad Hatter scene. We know that these scenes were originally included because Grosset & Dunlap published a book version in 1916, illustrated with pictures from this film. This shows that in addition there was also an Oyster, Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, chess room, and a Queen Alice Banquet scene, but whether as part of this film or another is not clear.
Viola Savoy was fifteen years old at the time, and a well known child actress for having toured the nation for several years in the road-show version of "The Littlest Rebel." Whether she was the first to perform the role of Virgie in that play, or not, clearly she was the most popular, which fact contributed to her being cast as Alice in this film. As interviewed in 1912 she had been acting since infancy in over one hundred and twenty different productions. After the "Alice" film, however, she appeared in no more than one or two more films before disappearing from the pages of history.
Attempting to evaluate the quality of a circa 1915 "photoplay" rather assumes too much. The industry was yet very young. The notion of "close-up" photography was only beginning to be experimented with and hence, more often, the camera just cranked away from a fixed position, rather like someone sitting in the audience of a typical stage play. While plenty of creativity went into the costuming and set design for this film, the camera remains conspicuous for its lack of imagination. Everything is shot from a distance, and as a result, often there is too much going on to keep track of, and the more subtle features cannot be seen. The nuances of facial expression, therefore, have a forced and exaggerated quality which does nothing to flatter the actress. Additionally, the restricted camera position forces her to be upstaged in all too many scenes. Even so, it is a hauntingly captivating film, delightful to see.
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