Category Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Alice and the Caterpillar

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

Let’s get this out of the way early: Alice has a severely short attention span. The setup for the film, which combines Lewis Carroll’s two classics Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass is essentially summarized thusly:

“Do your homework.”
“No! In my world there is no homework.”
“Pay attention to this book.”
“No! It has no pictures in it!”
“Recite after me.”
“Oooh! Pretty rabbit! Let’s go chase it!”

And so she crawls into a rabbit hole and tumbles head over heels into the rest of the story. The film, as far as adaptations of classic literature go, is remarkably faithful to its source material. Only one character (the doorknob who first teaches her about the “drink me” and “eat me” magic) is an invention that doesn’t appear in the books. Much of the dialogue is drawn straight from Carroll’s text and the gleeful violence of the Queen of Hearts beheading her subjects left-and-right is not softened by Disney’s idealist brush.

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