Monday, 24 October 2011

Alice in Wonderland - 1933 film

Hi there, today I will be talking about the 1933 film, Alice in Wonderland, which is based on both of Lewis Carroll’s books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Paramount Pictures produced this movie and it remains today (2011) the only major live action Hollywood-produced film directly adapting the original Alice in Wonderland story. The 2010 Tim Burton film, while using the title, would be a sequence to the story.
Lovely Original Movie Poster
Don't let the colour fool you, it is a black and white film!
Except for the animated sequence of the Walrus and the Carpenter (by Leon Schlesinger Productions), it was an all live-action film with an all star cast directed by Norman Z. McLeod. Charlotte Henry starred as Alice, and though most of us today might not remember the stars of 1933, it is noted that Cary Grant, who was on the rise, played the part of the Mock Turtle, Gary Cooper as the White Knight and W. C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty.

Many people didn't believe Cary Grant played the mock turtle. Well, how would you know?
In 1939, MGM’s ‘The Wizard of OZ’ proved that live-action fantasy could be successfully presented on screen, however in 1933 there were many doubts and many critics and unfortunately, Alice in Wonderland was a box office flop. (poor Alice)

I though Charlotte Henry was a lovely Alice

My thoughts…well, for me there can be no hating of Alice, however there are some very disturbing masks that most of the characters seem to be wearing, and I have to wonder why?
The movie covered so many details of the stories that most other Alice versions do not, such as the White Queen turning into a sheep and Alice buying an egg.
I hear you say, well this is indeed part of the story in Through the Looking Glass, and I appreciated quirky bits of the books being included in the Film.

Very disturbing Duchess
Mad Hatter tea party. No Room! No Room!

Again, disturbing Humpty Dumpty. He's very rude indeed!

While I love that so much was kept in the film, I did feel that everything was in a rush, 'quick-read the line, next scene!', and so on, however maybe this is partly because the costumes and masks did not allow for any facial expressions. Another thing that annoys me is the constant swapping between Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I know the Classic Walt Disney Cartoon does it as well, but I just love that version so much that I barely notice. This version seems just a little jumpy and I do notice. Perhaps the reason why I get annoyed is that Alice enters 'Wonderland' through the Looking Glass! Unforgivable!

Cool, but where did the rabbit hole go?
Okay, so I have been quite critical I admit. Overall, I still think it is a good film that you should watch it! I actually feel that Walt Disney was influenced by this version as there are some very similar scenes.
I'll leave you with the cool and a little dark at times animation of the Walrus and the Carpenter, enjoy! xo

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