HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
Funeral Home, The
Sailors Three
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Alex in Wonderland The Ultimate In Navel-Gazing
Year: 1970
Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Ellen Burstyn, Viola Spolin, Andre Philippe, Michael Lerner, Joan Delaney, Neil Burstyn, Leon Frederick, Carol O'Leary, Tox Dohar, Paul Mazursky, Meg Mazursky, Glenna Sargent, Angelo Rossitto, Federico Fellini, Jeanne Moreau
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alex Morrison (Donald Sutherland) should by all rights be blissfully happy: he has a loving wife Beth (Ellen Burstyn), two children who adore him, and a hugely successful film he has directed under his belt, so why is he so dejected? It’s down to the problem of what to do next when you have achieved all your goals, as the film he made is anticipated to generate a large profit for both himself and the studio, so the expectations are that his next project will do the same, but what could it possibly be? There are no shortage of scripts out there, but Alex wants to create something relevant to the times, connected in some way to the ongoing civil rights struggle facing the African-American population; or maybe he’d be better off with staying personal…

There’s a scene in slap bang in the middle of Alex in Wonderland where the title character strolls along the beach with his pals and strikes up a conversation about masturbation, when the last time they did it was, and who they thought about. It was all too apt, for director Paul Mazursky’s movie was more or less an act of cinematic masturbation, and the person he was thinking of while he did it was evidently his own good self. Like his protagonist, he had made a massive hit with creative partner Larry Tucker – Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice – in the previous few months and the pressure was on to deliver a follow up that likewise would spawn the big bucks at the box office, but as was obvious here, he didn’t have a clue about what to do.

Therefore he looked to his inspirations in European film, specifically Federico Fellini, crafting a tribute to the Italian maestro’s style that the critics disparagingly labelled One and a Half, and to underline that depth of feeling even persuaded the great man to show up in the movie for a cameo where he appeared more distracted and irritated to be there than flattered by the effusive tribute Sutherland relayed in the dialogue. Mind you, Fellini must have noted the incident for a few years later he cast Sutherland as his Casanova, so something productive emerged from this, though it did not seem so at the time when this was barely released and when it was played to almost empty theatres, simply because there was no market for it.

Most people even at the time could have told Mazursky that, but he ploughed ahead regardless, and would go onto use bits and pieces of his life in his following movies, which landed him the accusation of being self-indulgent, something that was all too appropriate as a description for Alex in Wonderland. So difficult was it to get a way in to this extremely personal effort that only those with a specific sympathy to Mazursky’s work would find any satisfaction: pretty much Paul Mazursky, then, though it did, as with many of his seventies and eighties films, find a cult following. Even so, it was a paltry one, and once he died not many were interested enough to carry on that appreciation, leaving this as a relic of a bygone age.

Take that opening sequence, where a naked Sutherland lounges in the bath discussing Shakespeare with the equally naked little girl playing his screen daughter – any filmmaker these days would have to be insane to include a scene like that in their movie, yet here it was back then and nobody batted an eyelid in those getting to be post-hippy days where letting it all hang out was the in thing. Then take one of Alex’s fantasy sequences where he envisages about fifty naked black men and women dancing wildly on the beach; quite what this had to say about race relations was a mystery, and as a spectacle you had to wonder what the participants thought about this white guy insisting on them getting down with no clothes to inhibit them, all for the sake of his art. The only fantasy that really impressed was a mishmash of Hollywood turned into a war zone, obviously expensive to stage and saying, er, something about the Vietnam War, whatever it was about it was very arresting, more so than the most typical scene with Sutherland serenaded by Jeanne Moreau in a horse drawn carriage. Culturally interesting for, well, Paul Mazursky. Music by Tom O’Horgan.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2131 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: