Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Alice's Adventures in Wonderland|
Actors: Fiona Fullerton, Michael Jayston, Hywel Bennett, Michael Crawford, Davy Kaye
Director: William Sterling
Genres: Kids & Family
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WHIMSICAL, WEIRD AND FAITHFUL TO LEWIS CARROLL's ORIGINAL W
DEWEY MEE | ELLENSBURG, WA, | 03/11/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fiona Fullerton is surrounded by a gallery of British character actors in this 1972 musical film adaptation of "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland." Yes, I will add my voice to the chorus of Amazon customers who rightfully say that the quality of the picture and sound on the DVD release leave much to be desired. The picture on this Screen Media release is clearer than my old VHS copy. Still, this version deserves a quality restoration. Having said that, having this "Alice" on DVD is better than not having it at all; and my review will now focus on the film itself:
This version begins on that famous Summer's day in the 1860's when Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll (Michael Jayston) took Alice, Lorina, and Edith Liddell on a boat ride on the river. As he begins to tell the story we now know as "Alice In Wonderland", Alice falls asleep. Suddenly, the very real river-bank she was resting on is replaced by an environment of over-sized flowers. Thus, the fantasy begins shortly before Alice falls down the large rabbit-hole. By including this perfect preface scene with Charles Dodgson, director/screenwriter William Sterling clearly shows that his intention is to be faithful to the original book. For the most part, he is successful. Other film-makers have failed to recognize that, while Alice's adventures are a pointed satire on Victorian society, the point of the book is really to have no point at all. Therefore, they force Alice must learn a lesson or, as in the case of Tim Burton's disappointing 2010 film (which disregards Lewis Carroll almost completely) she must go on a life-saving mission. Sterling, on the other hand, is smartly content to let Alice's adventures be whatever they are; or whatever the viewer wants them to be. The film features appropriately surreal/theatrical sets. The tone of the film, like the book, alternates between being whimsical and weird, and murky and nightmarish. Nearly every chapter from the book is included; with the addition of the popular characters Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Frank and Freddie Cox) from the 1872 sequel "Through The Looking-Glass". The film runs 95 minutes, but still drags in spots. The scenes involving the Duchess (Peter Bull) and the Gryphon and The Mock Turtle (Spike Mulligan and Michael Horden) could, and should, have easily been omitted.
Fifteen year old Fiona Fullerton makes Alice genuinely curious, and she more than holds her own on screen in a large cast that includes Michael Crawford ("Hello!, Dolly!", "Barnum," "The Phantom Of The Opera"), Ralph Richardson ("Long Day's Journey Into Night"), Robert Helpmann ("The Red Shoes," "Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang"), Peter Sellers ("Lolita," "The Pink Panther"), Dudley Moore ("10", "Arthur", "Santa Claus: The Movie") and Flora Robson ("Fire Over England," "Wuthering Heights").
The songs by John Barry and Don Black (including "Curiouser And Curiouser", "You've Got To Know When", "The Last Word Is Mine", and "The Pun Song") may not find favor with all viewers, but they are completely in keeping with Carroll's whimsical word-play in the book. In the "Curiouser and Curiouser" department, the DVD cover picture shows Alice, seen from behind, as a womanly blonde. In the movie, Fiona Fullerton's Alice is a teen-age brunette. The DVD has NO extras, interactive menus, or booklet."