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Alice in Wonderland


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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, John Gielgud, Geoffrey Faithfull, Stanley Faithfull, Mrs. Hepworth
  • Directors: Michael Redgrave, Percy Stow
  • Writers: Cecil M. Hepworth, Jonathan Miller, Lewis Carroll, Sydney Newman
  • Producers: Cecil M. Hepworth, Elias Koopman
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Feb. 9 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VXEC26
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,625 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

BBC Production of from 1966, starring Peter Sellers. Also includes Cecil Hepworth's 1903 silent film version as a DVD extra.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
This challenging 1966 production of Alice in Wonderland by the talented director Jonathan Miller can be watched over and over again with each viewing revealing new details and the great depth of the interpretation, but always while again stimulating the laughter that is inherent in the story.

And it's a real pleasure to watch the apparently effortless and nuanced performances by the old pros such as Gielgud, Redgrave, McKern, Sellers and Muggeridge, along with the usual presence in British productions of a large and very talented supporting cast.

The luminous black and white photography has been beautifully restored and is a pleasure to look at in itself while the music of Ravi Shankar and oboist Leon Goosssens is always refreshing and endlessly catchy in its melodies and rhythms.

The supplements include a drama by the renowned Dennis Potter about Lewis Carroll and the real Alice which indirectly helps to clarify many of the choices made by Mr. Miller in shaping his production.

Don't look for the dumbed-down, overly saccharine approach that Disney and others often take to this and other children's stories but enjoy the knowledgeable-adult level approach taken by Mr. Miller. His commentary is very entertaining and informative, shedding light on his overall approach and providing very many interesting details about the making of the film.

For my money, after viewing it on various occasions over a period of four months, this DVD is a hidden treasure which is an incredible bargain at the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Rodney Heaton on April 17 2010
Format: DVD
What a disappointment. With a cast like that I expected somethng brilliant, what I got was self-indulgent claptrap with no resemblance to Lewis Carroll's work. Ther's no magic, no humour. This is the only DVD that I've ever just thrown out.
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By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER on Aug. 7 2011
Format: DVD
As with many productions of Hamlet there are also many productions of Alice. Some productions such as the Disney version chose all the fluff and left out all the complexity and depth of the story missing the point completely. This production "The Wednesday Play: Alice in Wonderland (1966 BBC TV episode) attempts to put back some of the meaning and the feel of the book (with a tad of improvising) by presenting a more Victorian dream like state. Due to the year and the media the presentation is in monochrome but it works; as it turns out because the presentation could not rival the engravings from the book, the monochrome was a purposeful choice to give the film a Victorian feel.

Just the correct actor was picked for each Lewis Carroll character. Director / Producer Jonathan Miller cast Anne-Marie Mallik as Alice as she matched his vision of the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church in Oxford. My favorite character is Mock Turtle played well by Sir John Gielgud where much of the original dialog was left in.

An added surprise was the musical back ground by Ravi Shankar at the height of popularity. The sound of the sitar blended in well with the time of the story and the outdoor insect environment.

The commentary by the director Jonathan Miller helps explain the stark differences of this production.

West Meets East: The Historic Shankar Menuhin Collection
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Gamble on March 16 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had to force myself to make it through this 71 minute b&w version of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is portrayed as flat and emotionless - with absolutely no sense of wonder. The most popular scenes in the story are made tedious and humourless. The bonus 1903 version of Alice in Wonderland surpasses the Jonathan Miller film by far. Hard to imagine any true Alice fan enjoying this movie. Truly awful!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Alice in Wonderland directed by Dr. Miller Feb. 25 2010
By cookmoore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
WARNING for those who want to see Johnny Depp. Of course, Tim Burton might love this version. Might not be as twisted...
I only heard of this movie because Jonathan Miller was the director. An actor/comedian (Beyond the Fringe) among many other things, he captures a psychological look at the "children's story". This one gets the reputation of not being so child-like.
The actors listed are...Peter Cook, Peter Sellers, Alan Bennett, John Bird, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Leo McKern, Wilfrid Brambell, Wilfrid Lawson, Wilfrid Lawson, Malcolm Muggeridge, and the unknown actor Anne Marie Mallik plays Alice.
Music by Ravi Shankar...
According to the version from 2003, Dr. Miller said in the commentary that he revisited this story and tried to capture what he had felt when he first read the book. Images of obscured characters which give one a tainted feeling remains throughout this movie. Of course, that's my perspective. Jonathan Miller would transition scenes very often in order to gain that feeling as if you as a person was walking through a dream. You will experience this movie as if you just dreamt it up. It's not supposed to make sense. Don't bother to connect the dots . . .
There are no costumes to cover up famous actors' faces. They are seen in complete view as it is strictly the acting that creates the characters from the book. I feel this movie is the closest to the story than any other Wonderland movie. The only things in this version that are altered are the genius improv lines in which John Bird, Peter Cook, and Peter Sellers have said on the spot of filming. The rest is true to the Victorian book. This is a very artistic movie and many should watch to appreciate the mood that is set.

Did i mention that Eric Idle is in this also?!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Alice, the BBC play, is the real treat here June 2 2010
By Steven Annan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This version of AIW movie was beautifully hallucinogenic and beautifully photographed in B&W, the music by Ravi Shankar was wonderful and there were some standout performances, especially Peter Cook's as the Mad Hatter. Overall, however, a kind of dry and emotionless atmosphere prevailed, oddly bleak against all the silliness and merriment of Carroll's words. This was brought to the fore by the incredibly detatched, emotionless performance of Anne-Marie Mallik as Alice. So it gets only 3 stars.

The play Alice (written by Dennis Potter & directed by Gareth Davies), on the dvd as an extra, gets 5 stars however and is well worth the price of the dvd. (The 1985 film Dreamchild is really a remake, somewhat re-imagined, of Alice.) It's presented as it was broadcast on BBC and it is brilliant. The play is full of emotion. The character of Dodgson/Carroll is brilliantly portrayed and his intentions regarding Alice are left to the viewer to sort out. He appeared to have a kind of childlike innocence about him (as befitting the creator of the fantastic book) yet some, particularly Alice's mother, were deeply suspicious of his motives. Anyway, it's a great play/movie, a must-see.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Peter Cook Is The Best Hatter By Far! April 17 2010
By Dean Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the most intelligent of all the 'Alice' adaptations. Even though it was filmed for BBC TV, it was filmed in 35mm B&W,using deep focus, wide-angle cinematography. A technology usually associated with theatrical feature films. The result is the best cinematography of all the 'Alice' films.
The musical score by Ravi Shankar is hypnotic and mesmerizing. Jonathan Miller's direction is daft and subtle and calls to mind the offbeat films of Richard Lester at that period.
And the mad tea party. It's the best and most subtle of all the Hatter tea parties on film. It's truly mad and crazy, and it's done without special effect gimmicks or cute little songs.Peter Cook is the best of all the Hatters I've seen and I've seen over a dozen in just film alone. He is truly mad. Not a cute,sweet mad like Johnny Depp, but a disturbing and real sort of mad.
This film is a great adaptation and a beautiful work of cinema.
James(the 'Alice' fan)
Dean just has the account
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A '60's masterpiece Oct. 25 2010
By Iambic Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This challenging 1966 production of Alice in Wonderland by the talented director Jonathan Miller can be watched over and over again with each viewing revealing new details and the great depth of the interpretation, but always while again stimulating the laughter that is inherent in the story.

And it's a real pleasure to watch the apparently effortless and nuanced performances by the old pros such as Gielgud, Redgrave, McKern, Sellers and Muggeridge, along with the usual presence in British productions of a large and very talented supporting cast.

The luminous black and white photography has been beautifully restored and is a pleasure to look at in itself while the music of Ravi Shankar and oboist Leon Goossens is refreshing and endlessly catchy in its melodies and rhythms.

The supplements include a drama by the renowned Dennis Potter about Lewis Carroll and the real Alice which indirectly helps to clarify many of the choices made by Mr. Miller in shaping his production.

Don't look for the dumbed-down, overly saccharine approach that Disney and others take to this and other children's stories but enjoy the knowledgeable-adult level approach taken by Mr. Miller. His commentary is very entertaining, throwing light on his overall approach and providing very many interesting details about the making of the film.

For my money, after viewing it on many occasions during four months, this DVD is a hidden treasure which is an incredible bargain at the price.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not Your Father's ALICE IN WONDERLAND... March 6 2010
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...could easily have described this version when it first appeared in 1966 and it can still be used to describe it over 40 years later. There's no two ways about it, people either love or hate this adaptation by Jonathan Miller (read some of the other reviews) and it's easy to see why it generates this kind of reaction. The film is a TV movie in black and white, not light and shadow b&w but basic monochrome b&w like an early silent film. None of the actors wear any kind of traditional ALICE make-up or costumes although they wear Victorian clothes from Lewis Carroll's time. The character of Alice goes through the film in a dreamlike state rarely interacting with the others which renders it very impersonal for some and it is "veddy,veddy British" so much so that it was wasn't seen outside of England for many years. It is only now being given a wider release (it first appeared on DVD in 2003) to cash in on the new Tim Burton movie (just like other versions of ALICE hoping to make a buck or two).

As an unapologetic Anglophile and a child of the 1960s, I thoroughly enjoyed this ALICE. It has a dream cast of actors from Peter Cook to Michael Redgrave to Peter Sellers with horror fan fave Michael Gough thrown in for good measure and you haven't lived until you see Leo McKern (RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY) in drag playing the Duchess. The Indian soundtrack by Ravi Shankar helps to give it an otherworldly feel while rooting it firmly in the time in which it was made. Director Jonathan Miller gives an insightful commentary on what he was attempting to do which helps immensely after you have seen it but won't necessarily persuade you if really don't like the film. Not as bizarre as Jan Svankmajer's ALICE and miles away from the Disney animated version, it should appeal to Alice fans who are looking for something different or as an opportunity to see a once in a lifetime assembly of top British talent delivering Carroll's prose as only they can. The DVD also comes with Cecil Hepworth's 1903 version as an added bonus. Being a silent film specialist, that is why I bought the disk in the first place.


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