Alice is listening to a story told by Lewis Carroll when
a white rabbit runs by. Alice follows the rabbit down a hole
and then falls deep in to the centre of the earth. Thus begins
an extraordinary adventure for Alice as she goes onto meet
a variety of weird and wonderful characters including Caterpillar,
the squabbling twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee, a Countess
and her grinning Cheshire Cat, and the mad Hatter and his
two Tea Party guests, the March Hare, the Dormouse, and the
Queen of Hearts who demands instant decapitation for anyone
who annoys here. Can Alice keep her head when everyone around
her seem to be losing theirs?...
Adventures in Wonderland is
a British movie from 1972 which, to be honest, for its time
was a lavish production with some great sets and costumes.
In fact, it's not unfair to say that it had a stab at being
the British Wizard
Sure it falls short of the mark, but there are a lot of similarities
- the lavish sets and costumes for starters.
of the fun of this movie was trying to work out who was behind
the animal masks. No prizes for guessing who played the White
Rabbit (Michael Crawford), the March Hare (Peter Sellers),
the dormouse (Dudley Moore) or the Gryphon (Spike Milligan).
But it took me a while to recognise Rodney Bewes as the Knave
of Hearts, Roy Kinnear as the Cheshire Cat and Dennis Waterman
as the 2 of Spades (thankfully he didn't write the theme toon
or sing the theme toon - sorry couldn't help that Little
enough though none of the casting seemed that inspired. Michael
Crawford sounded, on occasion, like his Frank Spencer character
from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em; Dudley Moore and Peter
Sellers don't really do anything interesting with their characters;
and Spike Milligan sounded like he was about to break into
Ying Tong at any second and half of his words were
incomprehensible Goon-like gibberish.
fact, the one true bit of interesting casting was that of
twins Frank and Fred Cox as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They
fit the parts fantastically and their choreography is stunningly
surreal. In fact, I have to say that they were also the best
thing about the whole production. That's not to say that Fiona
Fullerton's Alice is bad - far from it. In fact, I'd stick
my neck out and say that she is probably the best Alice that
has ever been committed to celluloid - it's just that she's
a rather dull character.
interesting (possibly) bits of information include the fact
that the Mad Hatter is played by Robert Helpmann, who also
played the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang;
and Stanley Bates, who appears here as a monkey, was also
Rainbow's Bungle the bear (he was also a writer on
Rainbow). Patsy Rowlands, who Carry On fans
will remember with affection, also makes an appearance as
it was while watching this movie that I realised what a total
fraud Lewis Carroll was. Alice in Wonderland is an
appallingly dull tale. Why is it seen as a classic? I'd put
any of Roald Dahl's tales before Carroll's rather bland affair
any day. And sadly, as this production is a pretty faithful
adaptation of Carroll's work, it means that it too is a rather
picture quality is appalling - not helped by the fact that
this isn't an anamorphic transfer which means that widescreen
viewers have to zoom in to get the picture to fit their screens).
It only looks marginally better than a VHS copy which is a
real shame. Add to that the fact that there are no extras,
apart from the book, and you can be forgiven for grumbling
you already own this on VHS I wouldn't recommend buying this
DVD to replace it, unless you want to see it in widescreen
(apparently the first time this has been released to buy in
this is a substandard release of a very average movie.
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