Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is finally opening this week after much CGI to-do. It will definitely be a colorful, twisty, springy-haired experience. But hold on a minute; have any of you been audience to the 1933 version of Alice? Directed by Norman McLeod with an adapted screenplay by Joseph Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies, who according to The NY Times was the real powerhouse behind the film's look, as the uncredited art director; this freakish, unnatural, uncomfortable world was mostly Menzies' idea, springboarding from Lewis Carroll's scary imagination.
With a mostly unidentifiable cast of all-stars featuring Gary Cooper, W.C. Fields, Cary Grant (as the Mock Turtle!), Billy Barty and Mae Marsh, you'd think this would be a delightful childhood romp. But no. I saw this on television a few times as a child (they used to show old movies a lot in the 70s), and it was very unsettling. Even on a small black & white screen, I could not turn away even though at times, I wanted to. Alice in Wonderlandwill finally be available on DVD on March 2. Enjoy!
This scene with Tweedledum and Dee frightened me terribly. It still does.
This is right out of the John Tenniel illustration from the book.
Talking food. Scary people. Poor Alice.
W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty. Gaah.
The Mad Hatter didn't need technicolor to hold my attention.
The Cheshire Cat, made with phospherescent paint and some artful lighting.