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Alice in Wonderland (1966)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  28 December 1966 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 461 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 15 critic

There have been numerous film adaptations of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", over the years. This one which was produced, written and directed by Jonathan Miller in 1966 for the BBC, is... See full summary »

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Title: Alice in Wonderland (TV Movie 1966)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne-Marie Mallik ...
Freda Dowie ...
Nurse
Jo Maxwell Muller ...
Alice's Sister (as Jo Maxwell-Muller)
Wilfrid Brambell ...
...
...
Geoffrey Dunn ...
Mark Allington ...
Nicholas Evans ...
Julian Jebb ...
Young Crab
...
Caterpillar (as Sir Michael Redgrave)
John Bird ...
Anthony Trent ...
Fish Footman / 2nd Gardener (as Tony Trent)
...
Avril Elgar ...
Edit

Storyline

There have been numerous film adaptations of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", over the years. This one which was produced, written and directed by Jonathan Miller in 1966 for the BBC, is one of the most original, capturing the surreal dreamlike quality of the book. Miller wanted to get away from the Disney image of the novel; he saw the novel as a picture of upper-middle-class Victorian society: stuffy, pompous and ritualistic. He was inspired by pre-Raphaelite paintings and Victorian photography; thus the imagery in this film is beautiful and is enhanced by Ravi Shankar's haunting music.

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Drama | Family | Fantasy

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28 December 1966 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Eyre (The Knave of Hearts) would later play the Frogface Footman in Alice in Wonderland (1999). See more »

Goofs

In the scenes with the Mock Turtle, his legs are crossed in all the long shots, but in close-up shots, his legs are in a completely different position; without there being enough time to have changed them from one shot and another. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jonathan Miller spins a surrealistic yawn
16 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Miller's version of "Alice In Wonderland" is at times both very beautiful to watch and somehow mildly boring to sit through. Boring perhaps because of the detached performance of Anne-Marie Mallik who plays Alice. Jonathan Miller has Mallik play Alice as a girl who watches her own dream fantasy of 'Wonderland' from the outside of the looking glass rather than someone who has gone through the looking glass. It's almost as if Alice knows that she's dreaming and is able to control her own dreams, yet is somehow bored and barely amused with the dream world she has created. Mallick walks through 'Wonderland' as a somnambulist chaser. Transitions from scene to scene include drowsy dissolves or close ups of Mallick in all of her hair brushed beauty staring away from the camera. Large sections of Mallik's dialog are heard by way of voice over while the other actors work around her silence acting in the gaps.

One of "Alice's" strengths is in the rest of the compiled cast. There are some very good performances, most notably Wilfred Brambell as the White Rabbit, John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle, Peter Cook as the Mad Hatter and Michael Gough as the March Hare and of course, Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts. It's too bad that with the two most brilliant comedic minds of the mid 1960's, that of Peter Sellers and Peter Cook, that more freedom wasn't given to explore the comic possibilities these two could give to the story. But having this comedic freedom was not to be part of Miller's vision. Miller describes on the audio commentary of the DVD his dislike for two ad-libs provided by Cook and Sellers. Apparently because of the tight shooting schedule, there wasn't any time for lengthy re-shoots of the two ad-libs that made it into the final cut. Thank goodness for small compromises, I would hate to think of anything Sellers or Cook did on film that would be lost to the cutting room floor.

Even though Jonathan Miller's artistic resume up until the release of this film could boast of a man steeped in the comedic tradition of the Cambridge Footlights and the ground breaking satirical group 'Beyond The Fringe', his version of "Alice In Wonderland" surprisingly finds itself mostly miles away from humor. However, what it lacks in humor it makes up for in the haunting sitar backing music by Ravi Shankar.

This isn't a bad movie, just terribly frustrating and surprisingly boring at times. The good news is that it's only an hour long. This is a trip you should take; just don't get your hopes up too high.

For fans of Monty Python, look for Eric Idle in the choir near the end of the film. He appears at around the 58-minute mark.

7/10 Clark Richards


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