HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Alice in Wonderland Mirror, MirrorBuy this film here.
Year: 1933
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Charlotte Henry, Leon Errol, Polly Moran, Ned Sparks, Sterling Holloway, Alison Skipworth, Richard Arlen, Edward Everett Horton, Charles Ruggles, May Robson, Cary Grant, Edna May Oliver, Jack Oakie, Roscoe Karns, Mae Marsh, W.C. Fields, Gary Cooper
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's a chilly winter's afternoon and the snow is falling, so Alice (Charlotte Henry) is not allowed to venture outside, at least not until her older sister returns to see her. In the meantime, the girl is stuck with her aunt, and she is extremely bored having run out of things to amuse herself with, so when she spies a rabbit outside she makes up a story about it being fully dressed, which fails to impress her aunt. By and by, Alice curls up in an armchair with her cat and dozes, but when she wakes up she wonders about the looking glass above the hearth - is that another world she is seeing?

A famous flop in its day, this version of the Lewis Carroll Alice stories was the closest Hollywood predecessor there was for the 1939 Wizard of Oz, only without that classic's glittering reputation. The chief problem for audiences of the time was that yes, it may have had a star-studded cast, but for some reason the filmmakers opted to have the greater majority of them covered in makeup or masks which completely obscured their features. If it was not for their voices being heard, for most of them that could be any bit part actor playing those roles.

And in some cases, you have your doubts that the actors are playing who the opening credits say they are. These days the movie would be animated, perhaps, so the stars lending their voices would not be regarded as shortchanging the viewers quite so much, but here the practice of disguising the cast is simply bizarre. Though no less bizarre than the rest of it, with Carroll's characters brought to life in a world that is undeniably colourful even if this is filmed in black and white - the creative special effects and lavish set design help quite a bit.

Charlotte Henry, a nineteen-year-old playing twelve, is a plucky heroine and helps to keep the plot moving, although the film is hampered by the fact that the storyline is unavoidably episodic and never manages to work up a head of steam. Time and again Alice will wander a little further, meet a strange person or animal, and then move on, which may be faithful to the source but doesn't do much for forward momentum as far as the narrative goes. All the expected notes are reached, but this feels more like box-ticking than true storytelling in the spirit of Carroll.

Still, the producers could have been onto something with this all-star (for 1933) cast of performers as you do grow curious about some of them. Is that really Cary Grant as the tearful Mock Turtle? Would he have climbed into that ungainly costume? It is undoubtedly his voice, as the same can be said for W.C. Fields' Humpty Dumpty, but would the great comedian have consented to encasing his head in all that makeup? It doesn't seem to be his style somehow. If anything is effective here, it's that an authentically dreamlike-verging-on-the-nightmarish atmosphere is achieved, not consistently, but on sufficient occasions to create a genuinely weird item of surrealism. That said, you can still see why this version remains a cult movie rather than an acknowledged classic, and that is more down to the originals. Music by Dmitri Tiomkin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2884 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: