Movie Review – ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (1951)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

When it comes to talking about Lewis Carroll and the worlds he created for ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, the current adaptation that springs to mind for me nowadays is the one that stars Sarah Sutton as Alice in the BBC’s 1973 ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’. 🙂

Before that though, the adaptation that I used to watch a lot as a kid was the Disney 1951 film called ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It was nice to revisit this film again on Disney+. It was also not difficult for me to make comparisons between the 1951 Disney film and the 1973 BBC production with Sarah Sutton.

There have been many film/TV adaptations of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ over the years. There’s a 1972 film with Michael Crawford from ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’ as the White Rabbit and a 1999 TV movie with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat.

There’s also the recent Disney film adaptations of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ from 2010 and 2016, featuring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. I haven’t seen those film adaptations yet, but I have heard they’re loose adaptations of the Lewis Carroll books.

It’s interesting to talk about the original 1951 Disney film. It was originally meant to be a live-action/animation hybrid film before it became fully-animated. It’s also interesting that it was considered a disappointment on its initial release before it became popular on subsequent re-releases.

The story is pretty familiar to everyone unless this is your first experience of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in any shape or form as it was for me as a kid. Essentially, Alice becomes curious about a talking White Rabbit who says he’s late before she ends up in Wonderland and she meets a variety of very strange characters.

The voice actor for the White Rabbit is Bill Thompson, who later voiced Smee in the 1953 film ‘Peter Pan’. It was easy to hear his Smee voice for the White Rabbit. 😀 He’s also voiced characters in other Disney films such 1955’s ‘Lady and the Tramp’, 1959’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and 1970’s ‘The Aristocats’.

As well as Alice and the White Rabbit, there’s also the Mad Hatter (voiced by Ed Wynn, who would later play Uncle Albert in the 1964 film ‘Mary Poppins’) and the March Hare (voiced by Jerry Colonna), who I found funny when watching the film. There’s also the Caterpillar who smokes letters out of his pipe and often asks “Who are you?” to Alice. The Caterpillar is also amusing to watch in his scenes with Alice. 😀

The Cheshire Cat is voiced by Sterling Holloway, who I recognised for voicing Winnie the Pooh. 😀 He’s also voiced characters like Kaa in 1967’s ‘The Jungle Book’ and Roquefort the Mouse in 1970’s ‘The Aristocats’. I found the Cheshire Cat really entertaining, especially when he was being mischievous.

Revisiting the film on Disney+, the Cheshire Cat sings ‘Twas Brillig’ from the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem, which I’ve become familiar with from my A Level English Language and Literature classes and from Sarah Sutton reading the poem in 1973’s ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’. It’s interesting to find it in this Disney film too.

There’s the Queen of Hearts (voiced by Verna Felton), who often wants people ‘off with their heads’ in the film. 😀 There’s also Tweedledee and Tweedledum who I enjoyed, especially when they told the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter to Alice. Their version of the story is more energetic than the 1973 BBC version’s. 😀

The film features a good number of songs in it, including ‘In a World of My Own’, ‘I’m Late (I’m Late For a Very Important Date)’, ‘All in the Golden Afternoon’, ‘The Unbirthday Song’, ‘Very Good Advice’ and ‘Panting the Roses Red’. ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ story has some singing in it too.

It was really great to revisit this 1951 Disney film of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ on Disney+ recently. Not everything matches to how I see the story of Alice nowadays, especially in the 1973 BBC version with Sarah Sutton. Even so, I found this a really entertaining animated film adaptation of the Alice story. 🙂

Will I check out the 2010 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ film by director Tim Burton with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter next? Who knows?

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂

5 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (1951)

  1. zack613

    It is clear in Lewis Carroll’s letters that The Hunting of the Snark also takes place in the same universe. “The same island of Jabberwock.” I happen to reading the Complete Works of Lewis Carroll right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Zack,

      I can always rely on you to leave a comment on one my Disney reviews. 😀 That’s interesting about ‘The Hunting of the Snark’. I didn’t know about the Jabberwock and its island being featured in that poem. Nice to know some more about one of the other works by Lewis Carroll as well as the ‘Alice’ books. Hope you’re currently enjoying the Complete Works of Lewis Carroll so far.

      Tim 🙂

      Like

      Reply
      1. zack613

        I am enjoying it. His other series Sylvie and Bruno is a hybrid of a fairy tale and adult novel. I am not to sure it worked. I am now up to the short stories. I mostly comment on the Disney post because that is what I feel most comfortable discussing. I actually found your site due to your Doctor Who content. I have been a fan since the time of Tom Baker and have seen every episode. I guess I am just self conscious as an American commenting on such a quintessentially British show.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tim Bradley Post author

        Hi Zack,

        Thanks for letting me know about ‘Sylvie and Bruno’. That’s another work by Lewis Carroll I wasn’t aware of. Glad you enjoy my Disney and ‘Doctor Who’ blog posts and reviews.

        Tim 🙂

        Like

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