Alice is a daydreaming young girl. She finds learning poems and listening to literature boring. She prefers stories with pictures and to live inside her imagination. One day, while enduring just such a poetry reading, she spots a large white rabbit...dressed in a jacket and carrying a large watch. He scurries off, saying he's late, for a very important date. She follows him through the forest. He then disappears down a rabbit hole. Alice follows, leading her to all manner of discoveries, characters and adventures.Written by
Besides voice acting for Alice, Kathryn Beaumont served as reference material for the Disney animators. Her acting was recorded and used by them to animate the Alice character. See more »
During "The Walrus and the Carpenter", the appearance of the walrus' eyes is inconsistent between shots. Some shots have just little black dot eyes, while some shots have him with full pupils and colored eyes. See more »
[reading from a history book]
"... leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand..." Alice.
[camera zooms out to show Alice sitting in a tree, playing with Dinah and making a crown of daisies]
Hmm? Oh, I'm listening.
"And even Stigand, the archbishop of Canterbury, agreed to meet with William and offer him the crown. William's conduct at first was moderate."
[...] See more »
A newly discovered song "I'm Odd" sung by the Cheshire Cat appears on the Special Edition DVD. See more »
Right from the stunning (hand drawn!) opening sweep of a verdant riverbank on a lazy summer's day, "Alice in Wonderland" is one of the most beautifully animated of the Disney films of the 1950s. Unfortunately, this film has always been one of the most maligned in the Disney canon.
Many books on the subject of Disney's animated films will often only devote a paragraph or two to the film, and in that short paragraph it will invariably mention how "Alice" was a financial flop, how Walt Disney himself wasn't very fond of it, how it's a chilly film. I don't find this film chilly, I find it refreshingly free of sentiment or cliche that can often weigh down other Disney films.
To start with, we have Alice. Unlike Cinderella or Snow White, Alice has a lot of personality. Who among us hasn't been very frustrated that Cinderella just took all the abuse from her stepmother and sisters and was powerless? Alice, on the other hand, is not one of the "shy little violets" and operates on more than just one emotion; she gets mad, befuddled, disgusted, amused, angry and, best of all, she stands up to adults (how odd for the 50's) and tells them when they are being ridiculous. This film has a subversiveness that may have been unintentional in showing how the world of adults, with its rules and logic, can be purely nonsense and that a child can be the only sane person in the lot. (To be fair, this sentiment is in keeping with Lewis Carroll's original books.)
Alice is beautifully voiced by Kathryn Beaumont (who did a similarly excellent job as the voice of Wendy in "Peter Pan" a few years after.) The real appeal of Alice here is that unlike many other Disney heroines,Kathryn Beaumont was a young girl when she recorded the voice and therefore, Alice looks and sounds like a girl of a certain age. Contrast that to Mary Costa's voice and the animated figure of Sleeping Beauty who looks as if she could be a 1950s pinup model despite only being 16.
The story itself is a wild trip through an ever shifting dreamscape most notable for the wild color schemes that anticipate the 1960's motifs. This is not implying that "Alice in Wonderland" is one big drug reference; it is not. Many people who worked on this film have commented that it felt like the film was getting away from them, that the characters took on lives of their own. This is evident as the film just gets wilder and wilder as it goes on with the introductions of the most bizarre and colorful characters Disney ever brought to life.
The only real flaws in the film include a scene when Alice breaks down and berates herself for never following her own advice, this moment stops the film cold in the middle of what has been a non-stop thrill ride. The extremely abrupt ending of the film is a very strange choice. I think even an extra 20-30 seconds between Alice and her sister at the conclusion of the film would have made the film a little stronger.
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