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"Alice In Wonderland"

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Character's Name: Mock Turtle
Release Date:  December 22, 1933
Director: Norman McLeod
Studio:  Paramount Publix
Running Time: 76 minutes

Cast: Charlotte Henry (Alice), Richard Arlen (Cheshire Cat), Roscoe Ates (Fish), William Austin (Gryphon), Gary Cooper (White Knight), Jack Duffy (Leg of Mutton), Leon Errol (Uncle Gilbert), Louise Fazenda (White Queen), W.C. Fields (Humpty Dumpty), Alec B. Francis (King of Hearts), Skeets Gallagher (White Rabbit), Cary Grant (Mock Turtle), Lillian Harmer (Cook), Raymond Hatton (Mouse), Sterling Holloway (Frog), Edward Everett Horton (Mad Hatter), Roscoe Karns (Tweedledee), Baby LeRoy (Joker), Lucien Littlefield (Father William's Son), Mae Marsh (Sheep), Polly Moran (Dodo Bird), Jack Oakie (Tweedledum), Edna May Oliver (Red Queen), George Ovey (Plum Pudding), May Robson (Queen of Hearts), Charlie Ruggles (March Hare), Jackie Searl (Dormouse), Alison Skipworth (Duchess), Ned Sparks (Caterpillar), Ford Sterling (White King), Jacqueline Wells (Alice's Sister), Billy Barty (White Pawn, Baby, Two of Spades), Colin Campbell (Garden Frog), Harvey Clark (Father William), Henry Ekrzian (1st Executioner), Meyer Grace (3rd Executioner), Ethel Grillies (Governess), Colin Keany (Clock), Charles McNaughton (Five of Spades), Patsy O'Byrne (Alice's Aunt), Will Stanton (Seven of Spades), Joe Torrillo (2nd Executioner)

- by Zoë Shaw
You're not going to tell me you don't know the story of Alice In Wonderland!!!!! Go and read the book.......available from ALL booksellers!

- by Kelly McPherson
This rare 1933 movie adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic "Alice in Wonderland" is a timeless treasure!  With Charlotte Henry in the starring role of Alice she charms and intrigues you as she leads you through the wonderland of her imagination crossing the paths of a colorful cast of characters played by an all-star group of actors! This version is a true
classic and anyone who has the chance to see it should consider themselves "lucky"! Just as I do for having found a copy of one of my most memorable childhood memories!!

VARIETY Film Review - December 26, 1933
- by "Rush"
- submitted by Barry Martin
A  viewing of this feature brings to the fore the fact that a screen story, as one of its first essentials, has to have a definite progress - a parade of events that dovetail and carry the interest along.  A series of scattered, unrelated incidents definitely won't do to hold interest for an hour and a quarter. 

That 'Alice in Wonderland' is familiar ground to most grownups doesn't alter the situation.  Rather the fact that the book has a place in hundreds of thousands of homes is an argument against it for screen purposes.  It's a book for adults to pick up for a few moments of leisure.  Nobody ever stayed up late to read it.

On the screen it is vividly realized in all its fantastic angles.  The humor is genuine and the treatment satisfying on its literary side.  But an hour and a quarter of it is overpoweringly sedative.

It takes 10 minutes to get Alice through the looking glass and into topsy-turvy-land.  Then the adventures start, each adventure being just another detached incident surrounded by the same fantastic absurdity.  Nothing leads the attention along so attention wanders.

Cast brings together a stunning aggregation of screen names but none of them count on the screen.  Each identity is concealed behind an elaborate mask.  Some of the players can be identified by tricks of speech.  Charles Butterfield couldn't be mistaken for anyone else.  W.C. Fields projects himself through the deep disguise of Humpty Dumpty.  A few are recognizable facially, notably Edna May Oliver, as the Red Queen, and Louise Fazenda as the White Queen.  But Jack Oakie, as Tweedledum, might as well have been Ed Doakes and any one of Joe Cook's stooges would have served as well for the White Knight as played by Gary Cooper.  Use of heavy names for most of the parts represents a dead loss other than for billing.  

Picture is full of novelty effects of fantasy and they're expertly managed, but mere trick effects don't mean anything in a feature by themselves.  Fans are too familiar with the resources of the camera.  For some strange reason the visualization of 'Alice' falls lamentably short of the reading.  The printed page sets the imagination free to its own unlimited devices.  The screen chains it down to the visual fact.  In short, the immortal 'Alice' is one of the timeless books beyond the reach of the camera.

One incident is made out of extravagant paradox and it is followed by other detached episodes constructed from the same material.  Nothing grows out of anything else in this phantasmagoria.  It's like reading a whole volume of separate four-line gags.  It takes super-human endurance.

It's the subject itself that defeats the entertainment objective.  The producer has dealt with his task prodigally, and the acting is carried off with enormous spirit.  Examination of Alice by the Red and the White Queens is a first rate bit of spirited comedy by Edna May Oliver; W.C. Fields brusque handling of the Humpty-Dumpty scene is excellent, and throughout the acting of Charlotte Henry, as Alice is entirely unaffected and charming.

Any idea that the kids are going to hail the picture probably will turn out a disappointment.  Like most of the other supposed children's classics, 'Alice' is really a distinctly grown-up book.  Juvenile patronage probably won't be by choice of the kids themselves, but possibly under grown-up duress.  

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - December 23, 1933
- by Mordaunt Hall
- submitted by Barry Martin
Alice and those pleasantly mad companions of her trips in Wonderland and through the Looking-Glass are now busy entertaining youngsters, and those who would like to be, in 225 theatres in this country and Canada, including the Paramount of this city. And it is safe to venture that this pictorial transcription of the Carroll classics will spread no end of cheer wherever it is shown.

It is a marvel of camera magic and staging, but there are times when several of the players appear to be giving more thought to their grotesque appearances than to the inflection of their lines. Several of the voices are too harsh for such charming nonsense, but, after all, it was no easy matter to take pages here and there from the two books and splice them together. The film is quite satisfactory, but it does lack the smoothness and high quality of the Eva Le Gallienne stage production. The scenes seldom give the pleasant mind's-eye picture inspired by reading Alice's adventures and glancing at the Tenniel drawings.

As has already been widely heralded, Charlotte Henry, a 17-year-old girl from New York, fills the part of Alice. It is her idea of Alice and such is an acceptable portrayal without creating any deep impression, such as Josephine Hutchinson did in the role on the stage. Little Miss Henry is attractive, but her histrionic ability is apparently limited to a juvenile conception of moods. She speaks distinctly but her enunciation lacks the all-necessary shading.

In those passages where the Carroll lines have been treated with the distinction they merit, the film is really downright good. For instance, W.C. Fields as the hapless Humpty Dumpty gets everything out of the part, but on the other hand, to mention a disappointing portrayal, Gary Cooper makes a very poor White Knight. So far as the settings go they are set forth with imagination and skill, and if the appearances of the curious figures often out-Tenniel Tenniel, it is pardonable.

William Cameron Menzies, the art director, never disappoints one. He is, however, at his best in those scenes depicting the king's horses and men dashing to the rescue of Humpty Dumpty.

The Walrus and the Carpenter appear in a cartoon, in which the oysters also serve. The lachrymose Mock Turtle is highly amusing. As the tears well from his eyes he sings mournfully of "beautiful, beautiful soup." Cary Grant is entrusted with this role.

In the initial stages of the film, Alice is eager to get out in the snow, and as the time passes and the world becomes unreal, she finds herself visiting the looking-glass room, where the clock has an insolent fashion of booming out the hour. As things go on and Alice falls and falls after the worried White Rabbit, there come those glimpses where she drinks and grows tall and eats and becomes small. This is achieved with considerable cunning.

It is evidently no easy matter to play croquet with a flamingo for a mallet! The tea party here is only mildly interesting, except when the Carroll lines are not spoken too fast, and the Queen of Hearts, played by May Robson, is too eager to be heard and one is inclined to be relieved when she makes herself scarce.

The Dodo Bird with Polly Moran as the talker is splendid. In the picture one has the opportunity of discovering what a grin looks like without the cat and of harkening to Tweedledum and Tweedledee. No better Duchess could be imagined than Alison Skipworth's and likewise Charles Ruggles lends interest as the March Hare. Edward Everett Horton does well as the Mad Hatter, but one would like to have heard more from him. Ned Sparks plays the Caterpillar with a good understanding and Ford Sterling is fair as the White King.

The Gryphon, with William Austin inside, is another excellently done part and Skeets Gallagher as the White Rabbit gives one a good impression of mingled worry and haste.

The pen may be mightier than the combined camera and microphone, but this "Alice in Wonderland" is nevertheless very welcome.  

CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE Film Review - December 23, 1933
- by Mae Tinée
- submitted by Renee Klish

Film of 'Alice' Is Like Reading Carroll's Book

Critic Praises Intelligence of Production

Good Morning!

This morning we have with us a very famous little girl!  Her name is Alice, and over on the McVickers screen she steps through a looking glass and visits Wonderland . . .

"Alice in Wonderland," the movie, you see, combines the openings of both Lewis Carroll's books - for Alice not only steps "through a looking glass," she also follows the white rabbit down the hole.  All of this being because, as Charlotte [Alice] Henry recently explained, the fans who wrote in were undecided as to which of the books they wanted filmed.

The amusing fantasy of Alice and her quaint, fabled friends has been brought to the screen with care and intelligence.  You never saw such verity.  It's for all the world like turning the pages of the book and seeing Sir John Tenniel's drawings in action.  A marvelous achievement of makeup and settings!

Those there be who think the film would have been far more amusing with Alice as the only human in the cast and the other characters portrayed by Disney cartoons which was, originally, Mary Pickford's far-sighted notion.  Be this as may, there are few who will have heart or nerve to criticize severely anything as workmanlike as the characterizations evolved by the brilliant cast with the aid of their perfectly stupendous makeup. 

Though remarkable disguised, the personalities of many of the players shine through their camouflage - and it's fun trying to figure out those you can't recognize.  You couldn't be fooled on Cary Grant as he sings the Mock Turtle song - and who else but Gary Cooper [or the prince of Wales] could be the White Knight, who has such difficulty staying astride his noble steed?

Then there's Sterling Holloway as the Frog Footman, and none other than Alison Skipworth is the Ugly Duchess who dandles on her knee the awful baby that turns into a pig . . .  As for Charlotte Henry - the girl who was chosen from hosts of applicants for the part - she's a marvel!  Just your dream of Alice come true, with her long curls, her alert eyes, her sudden illuminating smile - and the complete seriousness with which she accepts her unprecedented adventures.  

Little Miss Henry has a lovely speaking voice and sings "Father William" most delightfully.

The picture opens on a snowy afternoon in a quiet English parlor.  Here, a bored little girl petitions her busily tatting governess to let her go out.


Do you think the snow will stop soon, Miss Simpson?"

Miss Simpson doesn't know.  Why doesn't Alice do some work on her sampler?  Alice doesn't want to.  She wanders about disconsolately, at last flinging herself into an easy chair with a book and her kitten on her lap.  She is very drowsy . . .

The fire crackles.  The snow drifts.  Miss Simpson tiptoes out.  And Alice steps through the looking glass . . .

Here is the cleanly, imaginative, classical, amusing sort of film parents have been importuning for.  If they don't take themselves and their children to see "Alice in Wonderland" they'll be ungrateful, to say the least.

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