More Alice to Watch

To read more about these books, please see my previous "Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll" post.

Today is the 184th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. In other words, it's another excuse for an Alice-inspired blog post!

I thought I would share a few videos I recently discovered on YouTube. {Thanks to the awesome people who shared them in the first place!} Come, follow me down the rabbit hole, or through the looking glass if you'd rather...

First, here is an incredible Broadway production that aired on PBS's Great Performances program in 1983, starring Kate Burton as Alice and her famous father, Richard, as the White Knight. It's a revival of the 1932 stage hit by Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus. Other famous actors to look for: Eve Arden, Geoffrey Holder, Maureen Stapleton, Colleen Dewhurst, Nathan Lane, Donald O'Connor, Austin Pendleton, and Kaye Ballard.

Okay, this one is a lot harder on the eyes. The first "talkie" version of Alice in Wonderland was an independent film made in 1931, in Ft. Lee, New Jersey. Alice was played by an 18-year-old unknown named Ruth Gilbert in a bad wig. It does open with a cute rendition of Irving Berlin's song "Alice in Wonderland," written for the 1916 stage production, The Century Girl. This movie was never considered good, and the surviving print as uploaded to YouTube is difficult to watch. The shaky quality makes it pretty nightmarish. If you're susceptible to motion sickness, consider yourself warned! [By the way, you can find it on DVD now, available as a double-feature with the 1915 silent version.]

Of course, two years later would see the release of the first big-budget talkie, the all-star Paramount version from 1933. I happen to love it, as do my daughters, but I'm willing concede it isn't for everyone. Universal owns the rights today, and they finally released it on DVD in 2010. You can also rent or buy it for streaming via Amazon, YouTube, or iTunes. Or... check out the Internet Archive.

This one is pretty faded, but here is the Kraft Television Theatre that aired in 1954, hosted by Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

And last, here is the 1949 French version, made using a mix of live action and stop-motion puppetry. This one was on both Netflix and Hulu for a long time. I've noticed that many Alice movies recently disappeared from the streaming sites. [I did find it on SnagFilms, which has a Roku channel.] Perhaps they're gearing up for the Tim Burton Alicey sequel? {Yeah, we'll probably go see it, even though none of us cared much for the first movie...}

While not on Amazon Prime, the film can be streamed via Amazon [here, too] and it is available on DVD. There is this one released by Synergy Entertainment, this one by Vision Video, or go for the one by Apprehension Films/Midnight Matinee with the really provocative cover art.

This one was released both in English and French, although it came to America late, thanks to Disney, which was making its 1951 animated feature, and pushed to keep this one out of the country.

Here it is in English. [You can find the French version on YouTube as well.]

I posted some silent versions of Alice way back in 2012. Just head to my very first Wonderland post.

If you'd rather just stick to books, I've got you covered! Check out the books in my lead photo, if you prefer the classic. You can also read more about The Nursery Alice and Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Alice as rendered by Lisbeth Zwerger,or in vintage Wonder Book form, as a manga picture book, as a graphic novel, or as a Disney Little Golden Book. Little Sis showed off some of her artwork last summer, and of course, we went all our for Halloween and Little Sis's birthday in 2015. There are other links scattered throughout some of those posts,
so enjoy the RabBit hoLE!

And happy birthday, Lewis Carroll!

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  1. Found again a very important look into the historic filming of Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND with different years 1916 and 1931. Thanks for the information that sad to say I no longer am aware of the unusual filming of the story. atk

    1. While my youngest loved the 1933 version for a while, if asked to name a favorite, both daughters prefer the 1951 Disney version. ;)


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