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Alice In Wonderland (1951)

Tis brillig!

Directed by:

Clyde Geronimi

Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 75 minutes

UK Certificate: U


Remember when Disney used to start and end each of their feature-length toons with bizarre operatic-style singing involving the use of words you could never quite make out? Well, if that’s the sort of warbling you enjoy, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ will be right up your alley. Probably.

The follow-up to 1950’s ‘Cinderella’, this was Disney’s 13th animated big screen release. Unlucky for some, and most notably ol’ Walt himself, as this turned out to be a bit of a flop in theatres. But, love it or hate it, it’s a tough film to forget. Certainly one of Disney’s stranger productions, it merges elements from Lewis Carroll’s two novels ‘The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’ with some outright fabrications on the part of the animators. Suffice to say, some of it works and some of it doesn’t.

Kathryn Beaumont (she’s in her 60s now, but incredibly Disney STILL drag her out when they’ve got a gig for Alice) provides the voice for the super-posh kiddy who gets into all sorts of scrapes after following a clock-watching rabbit down it’s burrow (something most of us make a point of never doing). From then on in there’s no particular storyline to speak of. Instead, we see her meeting and greeting a series of barmy characters including tubby twins Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, a perma-grinning Cheshire cat, and a decapitation-daft Queen. A personal favourite of mine is the Dodo, with his attempts to keep a team of critters dry by having them run incessantly round in circles.

Unfortunately, the enforced wackiness of it all starts to grow tiresome by about halfway through, and it generally goes downhill from the Mad Hatter’s tea party onwards. It’s not at all surprising to hear it often suggested that the entire film is a metaphor for various sorts of drug use. I certainly won’t dispute that, but I can’t help but think there are some people who seem intent on finding drug references in practically EVERY film. If that’s what you want to see in it, then you probably will – but it’s highly unlikely the kids in the target audience will either realise or care.

It's Got: Cabbages and kings.

It Needs: Alice to work on that singing voice.

DVD Extras Nothing on this one – honestly, I know we’re in Region 2, but does that have to make us second-class citizens as well? Why can’t we get the same features that are on the Region 1 version? DVD Extras Rating: 0/10


Visually this flick is a real treat, but it has to be said that, even after over 50 years, the jury is still out on the content. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but worth seeing.

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