Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Release Year: 1951
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Writers: Winston Hibbler (story), Ted Sears (story), Bill Peet (story), Erdman Penner (story), Joe Rinaldi (story), Miult Banta (story), William Cottrell (story), Dick Kelsey (story), Joe Grant (story), Dick Huemer (story), Del Connell (story), Tom Oreb (story), John Walbridge (story), Aldous Huxley (uncredited), Lewis Carroll (based on his 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass)
Starring (voices): Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton, J. Pat O’Malley, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel, Joseph Kearns, Dick Trout
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Music.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #218, week 34 2018
Following a talking white rabbit dressed in human clothes, Alice stumbles into a wonderland. Her curiosity brings deeper and deeper into a fantasy world. Will she find her way back? Not if the Queen of Hearts has her way!
Walt Disney’s 1951 animated adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novels is one of the most inventive and weird of their early classics. The story is simple and strong and, as usual, a strong moral runs through it, but its greatest appeal is its highly imaginary scenes, and whacky cast of characters. Alice is normal girl but has an insatiable curiosity and an unbendable will. On her journey through Wonderland she meets one memorable character after another, from the White Rabbit, to the Mad Hatter and the March Hara, and the Caterpillar and last but not least the Chesire Cat. The film leaves out a lot of the word-play, riddles, and nonsense of Carroll’s work but does retain some elements of that, such as the Dodo and Tweedledee and Tweddledum. But those elements seem almost out-of-place and the singing flowers, the colourful toadstools, and all those other Disney elements that are almost reminiscent of Fantasia (1940). There are memorable songs and a powerful climate when Alice meets the emotionally unbalanced Queen of Hearts, but it lacks the charm of many of the Disney classics of that period. Still, it remains one of the best Alice in Wonderland adaptations.
Lewis Carroll wrote the riddle “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”, which features in the film, is written as nonsense and it therefore has no solution nor should it have one. However, that has not stopped people through the ages trying to come up with one. A popular solution is “Because Edgar Allan Poe wrote on both”.
The Doorknop is the only character that does not appear in one of Carroll’s books.
The Mad Hatters look is based on the actor who voiced him, Ed Wynn a brilliant old-fashioned comedian who began is career doing Vaudeville.
Picture Copyright: Disney