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Alice in Wonderland

3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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: 3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B002VXEC26
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,019 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Alice in Wonderland

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In Lewis Carroll's original work, Alice is a charming, witty and precocious 7-year old, engaging in sparkling point-counter-point exchanges with all manner of strange characters and situations as she wanders from one scene to another, not always predictably and not always to her liking or desire. This reviewer is unfamiliar with Victorian English society of the period, but surely these encounters are brilliantly realized satire, the animal characters selected to portray various characteristics of the nobility and commoners.
So it should be no surprise that this low-budget (£32,000 and a 6-week shooting schedule) 72-minute BBC B&W production is done with all live actors, no animation, yet is faithful to the book. . Quoting from the enclosed folder, "...there was no script; Miller (the director) simply typed out the dialogue from Carroll's book each day and presented it to the cast on the set, and after a few rehearsals, they would do a take." Principal characters are portrayed in human form in Victorian period costume, making full utilization of the Tenniel illustrations where possible. For example, the white rabbit (Wilfred Brambell in an outstanding portrayal) is a fussily dressed, brisk-gaited English gentleman with pocket watch, top hat, braided uniform with tails, bow-tie, white gloves, and a white fan. Alice's dress and hair style is perfectly realized.
Some of the key scenes are shortened. For example, the pool of tears leading to the caucus race (to dry off) was created by a giant Alice crying in frustration, not shown, so the sudden appearance of water is confusing. The recitation of Father Williams to the Caterpillar (an excellent Michael Redgrave) was regrettably truncated to only a verse or so.
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Format: DVD
What a surprise that a gem like this exists!! I had never even heard that this was created until just recently. The 4 previous reviews all have very good points so I won't go into great detail. It is a disjointed affair, but well worth the trouble to delve into. The girl chosen as Alice seems years too old for the role though. If bizarre 60's movies are not something you are into, then I would advise those people against getting it. If you like weird films like Wonderwall or shows like The Prisoner, you may be able to enjoy this film. I find it fascinating and it is highly psychedelic. There is no doubt that this is a 60's take on Alice. Incredible camerawork with much detail put into camera angles and setting really add to the surreality of this work. Leo McKern is hysterical as the Dutchess. Peter Cook and Peter Sellers have some fun with their roles as do all the cast. No one has a very large role. This looks like it was a blast to make and should entertain anyone with an open mind. I would say that it is not geared toward children as many versions of Alice are. Most little kids will be confused and possibly disturbed. This is much more fun for grown-ups. See if you can spot the Monty Python cameo.
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Format: DVD
This release of BBC-TV's 1966 black-and-white Alice in Wonderland is very fine indeed. The film is a surreal, theatrical, and dark "Alice," designed as a dream version of Victorian life - there are no animal costumes here. The caucus race is a scene in a public school, the Caterpillar is a sort of headmaster, the trial is a massive church setting, and so on. Alice herself is almost completely impassive, and rarely speaks aloud; I found myself interpreting the whole thing as an autistic girl's skewed and nonsensical view of the world around her. Despite its short length, the film takes its time, and has a very dry sense of humor; I found it endlessly fascinating once I got into it, though. It's almost hypnotic - something greatly helped by Ravi Shankar's sitar music.
The picture quality is excellent, unusual for British TV of this period. Director Jonathan Miller personally contributes an excellent commentary track, discussing the film's themes, his actors, and why he felt a darker "Alice" needed to be made. The disc is rounded out with a short picture gallery, and a real surprise: the first-ever "Alice" film, a 10-minute silent from 1903, with commentary. Really my only complaint is the lack of subtitles for the feature film; Alice's own dialogue is frequently whispered, and to the casual ear can be hard to decipher. Otherwise, this is a great film with an excellent DVD presentation that demonstrates quality over quantity. I recommend it very highly.
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By B. Chandler 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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