Alice in Wonderland
Louis S.Lighton, Emanuel Cohen (executive) for Paramount
directed by Norman Z.McLeod
starring Charlotte Henry, Richard Arlen, Roscoe Ates, William Austin, Gary Cooper, Leon Errol, Louise Fazenda, W.C. Fields, Alec B.Francis, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, Cary Grant, Lillian Harmer, Raymond Hatton, Sterling Holloway, Edward Everett Horton, Charles Ruggles, Jackie Searl, Jack Oakie, Roscoe Karns, Baby LeRoy, Mae Marsh, Polly Moran, Edna May Oliver, May Robson, Alison Skipworth, Ned Sparks, Ford Sterling
screenplay by Joseph L.Mankiewicz, William Cameron Menzies, based on the novel by Lewis Carroll, music by Dimitri Tiomkin, animation sequence by Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising
Alice in Wonderland
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Being forced to stay in one winter evening, little Alice (Charlotte
Henry) wonders what the world would be like on the other side of the
mirror - and thus she just passes through and meets all kinds of weird
characters like the Caterpillar (Ned Sparks) Cheshire Cat (Richard Arlen),
Tweedledum (Jack Oakie) and Tweedledee (Roscoe Karns), the White and the
Red Queen (Louise Fazenda and Edna May Oliver, respectively), the Duchess
(Alison Skipworth), the Mock Turtle (Cary Grant), Humpty Dumpty (W.C.
Fields) and the White Knight (Gary Cooper) who just can't stay on his
horse, has a tea party with the Mad Hatter (Edward Everett Horton), the
March Hare (Charles Ruggles) and the Dormouse (Jackie Searl), and plays a
round of crocket with the choleric Queen of Hearts (May Robson). It all
ends in a mad banquet with talking food in which Alice is crowned queen
and which culminates in chaos - before Alice wakes up safely back home,
and everything was just a dream.
To blame an adaptation of
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland for being episodic would be
slightly missing the point, because the source novel is pretty episodic as
it is. The problem with this movie though is that it makes no attempt to
really get its episodes into a narrative context, it is content with just
recounting them as they are in the book. And while at least much of the
novel's play on words is translated onto the screen here, it definitely
lacks the book's sense of wonder, and the many bad costumes and cardboard
sets sure enough don't help. On top of that, I fail to understand how one
can hire quite as many stars like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, W.C. Fields and
others, and then hide them behind heavy makeup or even facial masks to
make them utterly unrecognizable.
As much as I like Alice in
Wonderland-movies in general, this is not one of the better