Alice in Wonderland (1983 film)

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Alice in Wonderland
Directed by Kirk Browning
Based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll
Starring Kate Burton
Richard Burton
Geoffrey Holder
Eve Arden
Nathan Lane
Country  United States
Language English

A 1982 Broadway stage performance of Alice in Wonderland was telecast on PBS's Great Performances in 1983.[1] Directed by Kirk Browning, it was produced by PBS affiliate WNET in New York. Black-and-white papier-mâché costumes aimed to re-create the book's original artwork by John Tenniel.[2]

The production was not recorded on film, but on videotape. It starred Kate Burton as Alice, and her father, Richard Burton, as the White Knight. Other notable roles included Nathan Lane as the Dormouse, Geoffrey Holder as the Cheshire Cat, and Eve Arden as the Queen of Hearts.

The production was a revival of actress-director Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus's famous 1932 stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll's novel. It had been presented on Broadway in 1982 with Ms. Burton in the lead, but with an otherwise different cast featuring the Mirror Repertory Company.[3] The videotaping was not made in a theatre with a live audience, but in a television studio, much as the 1960 version of Peter Pan had been years before.

The Le Gallienne-Friebus adaptation had previously served as the unofficial basis for the all-star 1933 Paramount Pictures film version of the novel, which featured Charlotte Henry as Alice. The stage production was successfully revived on Broadway in 1947 with Bambi Linn in the title role, and an abridged 6-record 78-RPM album featuring the revival's cast was made by RCA Victor.[4]

The 1983 TV adaptation of the stage production was not the first. It had previously been telecast in 1955 by NBC, as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.[5]