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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND

UK, 1972, 101 minutes, Colour.
Fiona Fullerton, Michael Jayston, Hywell Bennett, Michael Crawford, Davey Kaye, William Ellis, Ralph Richardson, Fred Cox, Frank Cox, Peter Bull, Patsy Rowlands, Roy Kinnear, Robert Helpmann, Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore, Dennis Waterman, Richard Warwick, Dennis Price, Flora Robson, Rodney Bewes, Spike Milligan, Michael Hordern.
Directed by William Sterling.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of many versions of the popular Lewis Carroll story. It had star treatment in the 1930s in the United States, Disney made an attractive animated film in the 1950s. This was a musical version with a score by John Barry (the prolific Academy Award-winning musical composer for many of the James Bond films, Dances With Wolves etc) and lyricist Don Black (who collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Weber).

The film was directed and written by William Sterling who made very little by way of film or television but, in Australia, in 1960 made a television version of Ned Kelly and in 1964 a television version of A Man For All Seasons.

The film is full of British stars in supporting roles. Fiona Fullerton had appeared as Anastasia in Nicholas and Alexandra, appeared in Run Wild, Run Free and in The Human Factor but otherwise her career was limited to television and television movies. Various stars stand out including Peter Sellers and Robert Helpmann as the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, Ralph Richardson as the Caterpillar, Michael Hordern as the Mock Turtle and Dennis Price and Flora Robson as the King and Queen of Hearts.

The film was made in a widescreen process – which is not evident in television versions. In fact, some of the sequences seem quite compressed rather than the open vistas that the original process would have offered. Sometimes the film is rather flat, sometimes priggish (as is Alice at times). However, the songs are generally harmless (and forgettable) but the film has a certain charm and family audiences may well enjoy this version of Lewis Carroll.

1. The popularity of Lewis Carroll’s story? The 19th century, the imagination, the illustrations? The various film versions? This musical version?

2. The British production, BAFTA awards for cinematography and costumes? The sets, costumes and décor? Imaginatively bringing Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland alive? The musical score, the songs, their insertion into the plot, characters, comic songs?

3. The initial focus on Carroll and Duckworth, canoeing on the river, the picnic, Carroll beginning to tell the story? The introduction to Alice and the little girls, Alice falling asleep and going into her imaginary world?

4. Alice herself, her age, composure, her sense of superiority, her sense of wonder? The songs? Her falling down the hole, observing as she went, the room and her growing larger and smaller, the White Rabbit and his hurry? The effect of all these adventures on her?

5. The Lewis Carroll characters coming alive, the episodes, the comedy, the famous actors? The White Rabbit and his being in a hurry, his mixing Alice up and her identity, his finally leading her along? His appearance, fussiness? The Mouse, his stories, sadness? The Dodo and his sadness? The Guinea Pig Pat, Bill the Lizard, Guinea Pig Two? Ralph Richardson as the Caterpillar and his solemnity? Tweedledum and Tweedledee, their songs, as brothers, their fighting? The Fish Footman, the Frog Footman? The Duchess and the baby, ‘Off with her head’, her complaining, imprisonment? The Cook, her temper? The Cheshire Cat and his smiling – and the Queen wanting his head off? The Mad Hatter and the March Hare, at the table, their manners, their jokes, in the trial? The Dormouse and his sleeping? The Cards and their painting the roses red? The King and Queen of Hearts, the Queen and her manner, wanting people beheaded, the Cheshire Cat, the trial of the Knave of Hearts, the conducting of the trial? The Gryphon, the Mock Turtle and his song? The cumulative effect of all these characters and what they represented?

6. The enjoyment of Carroll’s story? The imagination? The sense of wonder with Alice, a world of magic, songs and poems, eccentric characters? Their resembling characters in real life?

Created by: coffey last modification: Friday 01 of May, 2015 [22:56:16 UTC] by malone


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