75 Min | Animation – Adventure – Family | July 1951
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson
Starring: Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn
Alice in Wonderland Review: Let’s face it, there are moments in Alice in Wonderland that are absolutely dazzling, imaginative and as artistic as anything the Disney artists were capable of doing. And yet, for all its achievement in the art of animation, this Disney film has always drawn mixed notices. Perhaps part of the problem is there is seldom a letup in the zany goings-on-seldom a chance to draw a breath and rest between each overly imaginative episode. Then too, it’s the episodic quality of the whole story structure that upsets some as well as the frantic cartoon movements of its weird characters.
Faults and all, it’s still a colorful event-probably one of the richest uses of color Disney ever attempted and with some wonderful styling in its background art. For me, a highlight of Alice in Wonderland is the singing/talking flower sequence with its haughty flowers discussing Alice as if she was some kind of other worldly creature with funny looking stems. (It reminded me of the snooty elephants laughing and speaking with contempt of the new baby elephant in Dumbo). Despite some brilliant animation, pleasant songs and gorgeous art work, it’s just another example of how difficult it is to translate this particular tale to the screen and still remain faithful to the original. Others have failed-but Disney at least provides a sprightly, if frantic, version that has appeal for adults and children.
Perhaps because its surrealism matched the hippy culture of psychedelia, Alice enjoyed a welcome theatrical return engagement in the ’60s and has become more respected in recent years (an American-made British fantasy popular even in the U.K.) as one of the studio’s finest efforts. Ironically, one of its most delightful characters-the doorknob-never appeared in the book but was applauded everywhere as an inspired bit of business. Overall, Alice in Wonderland is an excellent movie.