Showing posts with label Alice in Wonderland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alice in Wonderland. Show all posts

Friday, December 22, 2023

Alice in Wonderland (1933)

   "...mild fun... trying to identify the Big Names hidden behind turtle shells and teddy-bear skins."

With The Mock Turtle costume.

Alice in Wonderland - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Why mince matters? Alice in Wonderland is, to my sober (despite repeal) judgment, one of the worst flops of the cinema.  Paramount's first mistake was in attempting it.  The only person in Movieland to have done it is Walt Disney.  Mary Pickford, who once contemplated doing it, was right when she said that "Alice" should be made only in cartoons.  

So - with a fine script (Joe Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies), delightful music (Dmitri Tiomkin), a splendid director (Norman McLeod), and about fifty of our best actors and actresses, the picture, when it isn't dull, is still utterly uninspired. 

English children who still read Alice in Wonderland may get a mild kick out of it.  I doubt if our young sophisticates will.  It's a cinch that all the grown ups will get is the mild fun of trying to identify the Big Names hidden behind turtle shells and teddy-bear skins.  Even when they do occasionally recognize a voice they will still wonder why all these high salaries were hidden beneath bushels of props.  Extras, or even children, would have been adequate to most of the parts.  No acting was required.  Indeed production costs could have been cut tremendously by letting cheap actors play the parts and then hiring Big Names to register five minutes of dialogue easily dubbed in.  

The second mistake was in choosing a young lady to play the five or six-year-old part of Alice.  Charlotte Henry is a comely youngster with an intelligent face, who looks as though she would be more interested in Vance Hoyt's nature studies in Script than in Fairyland.  She tries hard to look wonder-eyed but can't quite make it.  And with all our wonderful kid actors!  

Even so there was still a chance to make a picture of fairylike charm.  In all the arts there is no medium that lends itself to fantasy like the movie camera.  By soft focus, shooting through silk, and other technical tricks, scenes can be given an elusive dreamlike quality that eloquently visualizes the subjective mind.  Alice goes to sleep and dreams her trip to Wonderland, but we see both her and her dream in hard reality, with the flat lighting and sharp focus of the objective world.  Never for a moment are we in dreamland; we are on Stage Four, witnessing the technical staff and prop boys doing their stuff.  Even much of this is bad.  When Alice flies through the air, she is obviously hanging by a wire (remember how well that was done in Peter Pan - also by Paramount?) and when she is falling down the well, she is still hanging by a wire.  Nor are her skirts blown while falling.  It's hard to write a review like this, for practically everybody who had anything to do with the picture is a Scripter, but when a picture is a flop, it's a flop, and it's silly to alibi.  The biggest mistake was in undertaking it at all."

- Bob Wagner, Script

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 13 - Alice in Wonderland (Lobby Card Style)

Part Of

For more, see also:

Quote From Today - December 22nd 2022

On This Day - December 22nd 2021

On This Day - December 22nd 2020

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Quote From Today... Alice in Wonderland (1933)


"...because he taught us,..."

With William Austin and Charlotte Henry.

Alice in Wonderland was Cary Grant's 13th full-length feature film.

Alice: Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?

Mock Turtle: We called him Tortoise because he taught us, really you are very dull!”

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

On This Day...Alice In Wonderland (1933)

 Cary Grant's 13th full length feature was Alice in Wonderland in 1933.


On a boring winter afternoon, Alice (Charlotte Henry) dreams that she's visiting the land behind the mirror. This turns out to be a surrealistic nightmare, with all sorts of strange things happening to her, like changing her size or playing croquet with flamingos.

Cary Grant plays the Mock Turtle.

"Why mince matters? Alice in Wonderland of the worst flops of the cinema.
...Mary Pickford, who once contemplated doing it, was right when she said that "Alice" should be made only in cartoons.
...It's a cinch that all the grown-ups will get is the mild fun of trying to identify the Big Names behind turtle shells and teddy bear skins." - Bob Wagner, Script

With William Austin and Charlotte Henry...or is he? Apparently he only provided the voice!

Did You Know?

Virtually the entire star stable was thrown into this movie because Paramount was trying to keep from going bankrupt and thought that such a star-laden movie could save the studio from failing. It didn't work since most of the stars couldn't be recognized because of their costumes. Instead, two Mae West movies, She Done Him Wrong (1933) and I'm No Angel (1933), saved the studio from bankruptcy instead (both with Cary Grant).

The running time, 76 minutes, is the length of the time Alice is through the looking glass: the clock on the mantelpiece starts at 3:40 and she returns at 5:00.

Although much of the technical crew of the film is left completely uncredited (standard practice at the time), the opening credits sequence is one of the longest up to that time, lasting almost a full three-and-a-half minutes. Its length is due to the fact that practically every character was played by a major star or character actor of the time, and all are listed, one by one.

The Mock Turtle, who says he is what mock turtle soup is made from, is a cow in a turtle's shell. This was because mock turtle soup (for those who couldn't afford to have real turtle soup) was generally made from veal.

The film was one of several theatrical films based on literary classics which were released to US schools in the 1950s and '60s, for showing to children. The others included Heidi (1937) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939). They were all released to the schools in heavily cut versions that had a running time of no more than forty-five minutes.



 Richard Arlen ... Cheshire Cat
 Roscoe Ates ... Fish
 William Austin ... Gryphon
 Gary Cooper ... White Knight
 Leon Errol ... Uncle Gilbert
 Louise Fazenda ... White Queen
 W.C. Fields ... Humpty-Dumpty
 Alec B. Francis ... King of Hearts
 Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Rabbit
 Cary Grant ... Mock Turtle
 Lillian Harmer ... Cook
 Raymond Hatton ... Mouse
 Charlotte Henry ... Alice
 Sterling Holloway ... Frog
 Edward Everett Horton ... Mad Hatter

Lobby Cards:

Directed by Norman McLeod.
Distributed by Paramount Publix.
Running time: 90 minutes (Varies)