Alice in Wonderland (1931 film)
|Alice in Wonderland|
|Directed by||Bud Pollard|
|Written by||Lewis Carroll (book)
John E. Goodson adaptation (uncredited)
Ashley Ayer Miller screenplay
|Edited by||Bud Pollard|
|Distributed by||Metropolitan Studios|
|Release date(s)||30 September 1931|
|Running time||58 min|
Alice in Wonderland is a 1931 black-and-white American-made film based on Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The first sound version of the story, and therefore the first film in which Carroll's original dialogue was heard, the film starred Ruth Gilbert as Alice and Leslie King as the Mad Hatter. It opened at the Warner Theatre in New York.
Alice (Ruth Gilbert) meets the White Rabbit (Ralph Hertz), the bad-tempered Cook (Lillian Ardell) and the Duchess (Mabel Wright). She joins a mad tea-party with the Mad Hatter (Leslie King), the March Hare (Meyer Berensen) and the Dormouse (Raymond Schultz), while the Cheshire Cat (Tom Corless) leaves his grin behind. The Caterpillar (Jimmy Rosen) becomes annoyed with her, and the Queen of Hearts (Vie Quinn) threatens to cut off her head. With the Duchess, Alice meets the Mock Turtle (Gus Alexander) and the Gryphon (Charles Silvern), and at a bizarre trial, Alice finally becomes fed up with all the strange events and people.
This low-budget film was made in 1931 at the Metropolitan Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, possibly with a cast of amateur actors, many of whom struggled to reproduce British accents. It came out one year before the centenary of the birth of Lewis Carroll, which event was causing a wave of 'Alice' fever on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States a number of 'Alice in Wonderland' plays, films, songs and puppet shows in the early 1930s attempted to cash in on this Carroll and 'Alice' fever. For example, in the Betty Boop cartoon Betty in Blunderland Betty went to Wonderland, as did Eva Le Gallienne in a 1932 Broadway adaptation that combined Alice in Wonderland with Through the Looking Glass, and which was one of the hits of the year. Irving Berlin had an 'Alice in Wonderland' song, while Paramount Pictures was preparing a big-budget Alice in Wonderland which starred an unknown, Charlotte Henry, with an all-star cast that featured W.C. Fields, Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. In 1932, Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the 'Alice' of the original books, and by now an elderly lady, visited America to take part in these centenary celebrations.
The film opened at the prestigious Warner Theatre in New York. It was not financially successful and received little critical attention. Today, it is rarely if ever shown, and for a time there was even some doubt as to whether prints of it still existed. It has never been shown on television.
- Alice in Wonderland at the Internet Movie Database
- New York Times Review, December 28, 1931
- 'Alice' on the British Film Institute website
- Review at Kiddiematinee.com