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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:

Norman Z. McLeod (as Norman Mc Leod)

Writers:

Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screen play), William Cameron Menzies (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Arlen ... Cheshire Cat
Roscoe Ates ... Fish
William Austin ... Gryphon
Gary Cooper ... White Knight
Leon Errol ... Uncle Gilbert
Louise Fazenda ... White Queen
W.C. Fields ... Humpty-Dumpty
Alec B. Francis ... King of Hearts
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Rabbit (as Skeets Gallagher)
Cary Grant ... Mock Turtle
Lillian Harmer ... Cook
Raymond Hatton ... Mouse
Charlotte Henry ... Alice
Sterling Holloway ... Frog
Edward Everett Horton ... Mad Hatter
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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

Taglines:

The Entertainment Miracle Of All Times!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Over 7,000 applicants were screened for the role of Alice on a five-month period before Charlotte Henry was chosen. See more »

Goofs

When the White Queen flies in to see Alice after the fight between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you can quite clearly see wires attached to her shoulders. See more »

Quotes

Alice: I've often seen a cat without a grin - but a grin without a cat!
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

The film was previewed at 90 minutes and featured scenes with Julie Bishop as Alice's sister, Harvey Clark as Father William, and Lucien Littlefield as Father William's son. These scenes were deleted and the general release version runs 75 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Alison (2015) 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

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User Reviews

 
Lewis Carroll's Creation Comes Alive
1 August 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A young girl in Victorian England suddenly finds herself drawn into a kingdom where absurdity rules & illogic is the theme of the day. Bemused by the antics of the strange inhabitants of the place, ALICE IN WONDERLAND continues to keep her dignity & wits about her.

This movie has received a great deal of criticism down through the decades, mainly because it was considered to be a travesty of Lewis Carroll's classic books. But this is to miss the point of the film. It was never meant to be Art. Pure & simple, it was the chance for Paramount to showcase as many of its stars as possible in a light, enjoyable 1933 Christmas release, giving each their moment to shine in front of the cameras . In this it succeeds quite nicely. The Carroll stories, with their colorful, bizarre characters, have always been a favorite for celebrity cameos: the short, vivid roles are real attention grabbers, but require only a minimum investment of time from the majority of the actors.

Great care was taken to be faithful to Carroll's original works and a certain demarcation was respected between Wonderland & the Looking-Glass Country (although the transition between the two, with the Gryphon metamorphosing into the Red Queen, is rather awkward.) The elaborate make-up, costumes, masks, puppets & animation strives to resemble Sir John Tenniel's famous drawings. Paramount at least deserves high marks for their visual display.

In a role difficult by any stretch of the imagination, young Charlotte Henry does very well as Alice, utilizing the character's spunk & determination in holding her own against a supporting cast of seasoned veterans and inveterate scene stealers. Spirited & charming, with few hints visible of Victorian decorum, she is never boring. (Ida Lupino was first slated to play Alice, but upon arrival in Hollywood from England the nabobs at Paramount decided she was too mature for the role. Stardom would have to wait for Miss Lupino.)

W. C. Fields has received much acclaim for his performance as Humpty Dumpty, and, indeed, his raspy voice & personality fit the character perfectly, but Edward Everett Horton's Mad Hatter and May Robson's Queen of Hearts are equally enjoyable - perhaps more so, as we can see their facial expressions. (Listen closely during the penultimate banquet scene to hear Fields' voice again.)

Several of the stars - Leon Errol, Louise Fazenda, Ford Sterling for example - are all but forgotten now, while others (Ned Sparks, Roscoe Ates, Roscoe Karns) are in danger of obscurement, but that shouldn't diminish from their contribution to the overall fun. And where else will you find the likes of Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Richard Arlen, Edna May Oliver, Polly Moran & Alison Skipworth all gathered for one grand romp? This was a once-in-a-lifetime cast.

Movie mavens will recognize the shamefully uncredited Ethel Griffies as Alice's governess and tiny Billy Barty as both the White Pawn and the Duchess's baby. And although he receives cast credit, Baby Le Roy's turn as the Joker lasts only a few scant seconds.

For children of all ages & those with an uncritical appreciation of old films, ALICE IN WONDERLAND has much to offer.


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