» Movies » Alice gets a glorious makeover

Alice gets a glorious makeover

By Arthur J Pais
February 04, 2011 10:37 IST
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Alice in Wonderland DVDWatching the 60th anniversary DVD/Blu-ray edition of Alice in Wonderland with a group of adults and children of different ages, who have recently seen the hit Disney movie Tangled, was quite a revelation.

To the older friends, the animation film brought waves of nostalgia. Couple of them are in the 60s and they remember seeing it many times. But now that the Blu-ray/DVD Combo is out with a big number of special features, they were learning a lot about the making of the film and the legend it has created.

The younger viewers were amazed at the beauty and the musical quality. One of them, a teenager who is very much into pop music, said as the song I Give Myself Very Good Advice: why don't we hear songs like this anymore?"

The film is based on the perennially appealing 1865 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) by the author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It chronicles the adventures of Alice who falls down a rabbit hole and enters a fantasy world with odd and colourful creatures. The book has, like the film based on it, tremendous interest for the young and old.

Last year the book Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy offered essays deciphering the philosophy inherent in the novel.

This is the first time Alice in Wonderland, one of the most successful films of the second half of last century, is released on Blu-ray.

Never mind how many times you have seen the film, you will find it more enchanting this time as every character including Alice and the White Rabbit looks far more glorious than before.

The extras include Disney's first TV show One Hour in Wonderland and awesome animated Mickey Mouse short, Thru the Mirror, the Blu-ray features Katherine Beaumont, the voice of Alice, introducing

recently discovered reference footage of her acting out.

Beaumont, 72, is best known for voicing key characters in  Alice in Wonderland as well as Disney's Peter Pan. She was personally selected by Walt Disney after he saw the film On an Island with You in which she had a small role.

A scene from Alice in WonderlandDisney who supervised the film was unhappy when it received lukewarm reviews in America and hostile reviews in the United Kingdom, some of them asserting that the spirit and soul of Carroll's books did not make it to the big screen. Some critics accused Disney of 'Americani zing' the beloved British novel, though by the time the film was made it had become a huge favourite across the globe.

But Disney was proud of the film and his faith in it would be vindicated as TV audiences began to love the film which became a big repeat performer. Disney also said that he had not made the film for the critics.
Over a dozen people worked on the screenplay. Among them is the uncredited work of Aldous Huxley, the British novelist best-known for Brave New World. The film was directed by Clyde Geronimi and two others under Disney's scrutinising eyes.
The movie was a box office dud but it caught on with the TV audiences. In 1974, it was re-released and became a big success. It had yet another theatrical release seven years later.
Movie buffs will have a stimulating time with the documentary Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland, one of the highlights of the extras..
And then there is I'm Odd newly discovered Cheshire Cat song, and the theatrical trailers shown in 1951 and 1974.
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Arthur J Pais in New York