Alice in Wonderland

cinema, tv and video representations

Compiled by Michael Organ

Introduction

Lewis Carroll's two books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) have been presented in numerous film and television versions over the years since 1903 when Cecil Hepworth's 8 minute black and white silent film was released in the UK. Below is a list of the known major productions of Alice's adventures, compiled from a variety of online and published sources, some of which are patchy, whilst others are highly detailed. A star rating out of 5 is given for each film, where the version has been seen by the compiler - the rating is primarily based on adherence to the original Carroll texts, quality of the production and the compiler's personal taste. Numerous sites also list aspects of filmic versions, including the following:

Picture History
1903

Alice in Wonderland
UK. Dir: Cecil Hepworth. May Clark as Alice. Silent.

A landmark as it is the first filmed version of Alice. The short survives in near complete form, though the film is damaged in parts. It has been restored by the British Film Institute National Archive. The production is a simple, flat, presentation containing only a few elements of the first book. It is available on Youtube and in numerous dvd editions.

B/W (tinted), film, 8 minutes

***

1910

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Edwin S. Porter. Alice - Gladys Hulette. Silent.

Extant copy not known.

B/W, film, 10 minutes

[Not viewed]

1915

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: W.W. Young. Alice - Viola Savoy. Silent.

This is a file version incororating elements of both books.

B/W (tinted), film, 55 minutes

***

1928

Alice through the looking glass
US. Dir: Walter Lang. Silent.

No extant version is known to the compiler of this list, though reel 5 has been identified by a US collector. Apparently some of the sets and costumes were shared with the 1915 film version by W.W Young.

B/W, film, ? minutes

[Not viewed]

1931

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Bud Pollard. Alice - Ruth Gilbert.

This is the fFirst sound version. The image on the left is the original stone lithograph poster issued for the initial US release in 1931. For a more detailed description of the film see here: Alice in Wonderland at kiddiematinee.com.

B/W, film, 55 minutes

[Not viewed]

1933

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Norman McLeod. Alice - Charlotte Henry. Paramount.

This is the first production by a major Hollywood studio. It sticks closely to the books, though it is a noisy production with not much heart.

B/W, film, 90 minutes

***

1936

Through the mirror
US. Dir: Walt Disney.

A short featuring Mickey Mouse as the Alice figure going through a looking glass mirror, though his subsequent adventures do not mirror those of Alice in the book. Copy available on dvd of 1951 Disney version of Alice in Wonderland.

Colour, cartoon, 8 minutes

*

1946

Alice in Wonderland
UK, BBC. Dir: George More O'Ferrall. Alice - Vivian Pickles. Selected scenes from a West End production.

According to Television Heaven: Very early BBC TV outing for Lewis Carroll's classic fantasy produced by George More O'Ferrall and transmitted live as a Christmas treat on 21st December 1946. Subtitled 'Some of her Adventures in Wonderland' this 40 minute broadcast was shown twice (performed live) before disappearing into the ether forever. Vivian Pickles played Alice and supporting cast included Erik Chitty -twenty years before he appeared as 'Smithy' in 'Please Sir! -and a young Miriam Karlin years before she starred as the stroppy shop steward who became something of a national institution in 'The Rag Trade'. 2 showings - 40 minute duration. BBC TV. First broadcast 21/12/1946.

B/W, TV, 40 minutes

[Not viewed]

1950

Alice in Wonderland / Alice au pays des merveilles
UK / France. Dir: Lou Bunin.

A mixture of live action and stop motion animation. The release of this film was heavily impacted upon by the Walt Disney studios, in anticipation of their own release the following year. For a more detailed description of the film and images see here: Alice in Wonderland at kiddiematinee.com.

Colour, film, 96 minutes

[Not viewed]

1951

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Walt Disney. Cinema release cartoon.

Perhaps the most well known and easily accessible version of Alice. Stays relatively close to the text, though mixes up the narrative and inserts jokes and songs.

Colour, cartoon, 75 minutes

****

1951

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: George Schaefer.

A live television adaptation of the 1932 Broadway version of the novel, co-written by Eva LeGallienne and directed by George Schaefer for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Alice - Gillian Barber.

B/W, film, ? minutes

[Not viewed]

1966

Alice in Wonderland
UK. Dir: Jonathan Miller. BBC. The Wednesday Play series.

Uses Carroll's exact words and unmasked characters to present a trippy mid sixties version of the book.

B/W, TV, 76 minutes

*****

1966

Alice in Wonderland in Paris
France / UK.

A strange mix of the Alice stories with the French cartoon character Madeline, where Alice goes to Paris. Low quality animation on video tape.

Colour, cartoon , ? minutes

**

1966

Alice in Wonderland, or What's a nice kid like you doing in a place like this
US. Dir: Alex Lovey. Cheshire cat voice - Sammy Davis Jnr. NBC.

According to blog kerrytonz: "Alice in Wonderland (or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?) is a one-hour animated TV-movie, produced by Hanna-Barbera, and broadcast on the ABC network on March 30, 1966. This adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland differs from most others in a number of ways; e.g., Alice falls into a TV set instead of a rabbit hole. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble appear in this movie as a two-headed caterpiller, and Hedda Hatter (a new character) is a female counterpart of the Mad Hatter. Rexall and Coca-Cola sponsored this feature, and characters from the movie appeared in the Rexall commercials. After the movie was broadcast, Hanna-Barbera Records put out a soundtrack album, which is currently out of print. Although Sammy Davis, Jr. supplied the voice of the Cheshire Cat in the movie, the song What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? was performed on the album by Scatman Crothers, due to the fact that Davis was under exclusive contract to Reprise Records at the time.

Colour, TV , 60 minutes

[Not viewed]

1966

Alice through the looking glass
US. NBC. Alice - Judi Rolin.
Features an all-star cast including Agnes Moorehead, Ricardo Montalbán, Nanette Fabray, Jack Palance, The Smothers Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Broadway's Robert Coote (Camelot), London's Roy Castle (Singin' in the Rain) and great character actors like Iris Adrian and Jackie Joseph. Alice father is played by Richard Denning, who played Lucille Ball's spouse on radio's "My Favorite Husband" and lost Deborah Kerr to Cary Grant in the movie "Affair to Remember." The Emmy-winning costumes were co-created by Bob Mackie. Moose Charlap, who wrote most of the music for the Broadway "Peter Pan," did the same for this. The score includes the "Backwards Alphabet," which was also recorded as a single by Soupy Sales. The score from the special was also released on RCA Records on vinyl.

B/W, film, 90 minutes

[Not viewed]

1972

Alice in Wonderland
UK. Musical version. Alice - Fiona Fullerton.

Features a wonderful Mad Hatter's tea party scene with Robert Helpman, Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore. Adhere's closely to the books, with an introductory riverboat scene. Score by John Barry.

Colour, film, 101 minutes

****

1974

Alice through the looking glass
UK. BBC. Dir: James McTaggart. Alice - Sarah Sutton.

Colour, TV, ? minutes

[Not viewed]

1976
 

Alice in Wonderland
Argentina. Dir: Eduardo Pla.

Colour, film, 73 minutes

[Not viewed]

1976

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Bud Townsend. Alice : Kristine DeBell.

X-rated musical version, 91 minutes.

[Not viewed]

1981

Alice at the Palace
US. Dir: Elizabeth Swados. Musical. Alice - Meryl Streep.

Film of a live theatre performance.

Colour, TV , 81 minutes

[Not viewed]

1982

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Kirk Browning.

Film of modern version of the 1932 Broadway musical. Alice - Eve Arden. White Knight - Richard Burton.

Colour, TV , 90 minutes

[Not viewed]

1982

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: John Clarke Donahue & John Driver.

Film of production by Childrens Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis. Alice: Annie Enneking.

Colour, TV

[Not viewed]

1983

Alice in Wonderland
Japan. Nippon Animation.

Colour, cartoon , 23 minutes

[Not viewed]

1985

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
UK. 5 part series. Anglia TV

Colour, TV, 5 episodes - 100 minutes

[Not viewed]

1985

Alice in Wonderland
US. Alice - Natalie Gregory. Two part, Irwin Allen production.

Colour, TV , 187 minutes

*****

1986
 

Alice in Wonderland
UK. BBC series. Dir: Barry Letts.

Colour, TV , 120 minutes

[Not viewed]

1988

Alice in Wonderland
Czech. Dir: Jan Svankmajer.

Strange, surrealistic, stop motion and live character version.

Colour, TV, 86 minutes

****

1988

Alice in Wonderland
Australia. Burbank Films. Dir: Richard Trublood. Alice - Olivia Martin.

Low quality videotape animation.

Colour, cartoon, 51 minutes

***

1980s
 

Alice in Wonderland
US.

Low quality videotape animation. Does not adhere to the book.

Colour, cartoon, 73 minutes

*

1991-5
 

Alice in Wonderland
US. TV series. Alice - Elizabeth Harnois. Disney Production. 1991-1995.

Colour, TV, ? minutes

[Not viewed]

1991
 

Alice in Wonderland
Japan.

Colour, cartoon , 27 minutes

[Not viewed]

1995

Alice in Wonderland
US. Jetlag Productions / Japanese animation team. Producers - Cayre Brothers.

Low quality video animation. Looks like it was made during the 1970s. Language dumbed-down though it does attempt to follow the book.

Colour, cartoon , 45 minutes

**

1998

Alice through the looking glass
UK. Dir: John Hendersen. Alice - Kate Beckinsdale.

A fairly faithful and intelligent presentation of the second Alice book.

Colour, film, 86 minutes

****

1999

Alice in Wonderland
US. NBC television production. Martin Short as Mad Hatter. Alice - Tina Majorino.

Colour, TV, 131 minutes

****

2009

Alice
US. Dir: Alex Lovey.

Sci-fi futuristic loose adaptation of Through the Looking Glass. Alice - Kathy Bates.

Colour, TV, 175 minutes

***

2010

Alice in Wonderland
US. Dir: Tim Burton.

Eclectic adaptation of the Carroll books, though extremely well done and very popular. Alice - Mia Wasikowska

Colour, film, 108 minutes

****


Site last updated: 30 September 2011. Return to Michael Organ's Home Page. Any comments, corrections, or additions to this site are most welcome.