Alice in Wonderland turns 69 wonderful years

Alice in Wonderland turns 69 wonderful years
It was way back in 1865 when Charles Lutwidge Dodgson managed to publish a fantastic story, with absurd tones and able to tickle the creative genius of directors of the twenty-first century. Doesn't it tell you anything? Let's change the name to Dodgson and use his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, add some details of the second book to his story Through the mirror and what Alice found there and voila, we have in front of our eyes Alice in Wonderland, released in the original version in USA under the name Alice in Wonderland, July 26, 1951.

The story of the blonde protagonist immersed in a parallel world full of crazy characters is the thirteenth of the Disney Classics distributed by RKO Radio Pictures and presented also at the Venice Film Festival in the same year. Do we really know everything about the genesis of this story and the Disney movie, which was not the first dedicated to Alice? Let's find out together to celebrate this little, great woman accompanied by rabbits, cats and queens of hearts that are not completely reliable.



The thirteenth Disney classic

The superstitious they will think that the number thirteen, especially in American culture, is an unfortunate number, and that this has marked the fate of the film from the beginning until today. But let's find out how the encounter between Carroll and Disney happened.

Alice's world was already known to Walt Disney, thanks to the reading of the aforementioned books by Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871), having met them as a boy at school time. His relationship with this story began in 1923, when Walt was an aspiring 21-year-old director employed by the Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City.

At the time, was struggling with the realization of a short series of cartoons (without success) entitled Newman Laugh-O-Grams . The last of these cartoons was called Alice's Wonderland , loosely inspired by the books of the story of Alice: the short film carried the story of a real girl (played by Virginia Davis ) interacting with an animated world . The study of the production, however, in the face of the business, went bankrupt in July 1923, and the film was never distributed to the public.



Ends up so sadly this story? Nothing at all. Disney has left the studio to the glamorous world of Hollywood and decided to use the film to show it to potential new distributors. Margaret J. Winkler enters therefore in scene: it was the first woman to have produced and distributed animated films, in addition to being represented in the film Walt Before Mickey for its importance in the life of the manufacturer.

The woman in fact, a key figure of Winkler Pictures agreed to distribute the comedies of Alice , and Disney partnered with his older brother, Roy O. Disney. With the rehiring of colleagues in Kansas City, including Ub Iwerks, Rudolph Ising, Friz Freleng, Carman Maxwell and Hugh Harman, were finally founded the Disney Brothers Studios , later renamed Walt Disney Productions. The series began in 1924 before being retired in 1927.

new attempts

So start the work in 1933, when Disney was considering to make a version of the animated and live-action of Alice starring Mary Pickford.

The live action Disney are always more numerous, even today, do not miss our updates at this link !

However, the production was shelved in favour of snow white and the Seven Dwarfs , mainly because the adaptation Disney was delayed by Paramount. This did not allow Disney to completely abandon the idea of adapting Alice, and in 1936 there were the first hints of the fantasy world thanks to the cartoon Thru the Mirror , that he saw the protagonist of the most famous mouse in the world, Mickey Mouse.

In 1938, after the enormous success of snow white, the Disney bought the film rights to Alice in Wonderland with the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel and recorded officially for the title with the Motion Picture Association of America . He then took to the storyboard, Al Perkins and art director David S. Hall to develop the story and the concept art for the film. All is well that ends well? Not yet.



A coil dedicated was completed in 1939, but walt Disney was not yet fulfilled. The illustrations of the Lobby resembled too much those of Tenniel, making them mostly too difficult to animate , and the overall tone of the screenplay Perkins was too grotesque. Realizing the amount of work needed for Alice in Wonderland , with the economic devastation due to the Second World War and the demands for the production of Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi, Disney abandoned the production of Alice in Wonderland . Again.

Rediscover the origins of Pinocchio in our special section devoted to the anniversary of this character.

The turning point for modernist

destiny, unhappy man, to Alice and his friends, but that has finally found its space and its realization in a rather unexpected, but majestic. In the autumn of 1945, shortly after the end of the second world war, Disney revived the project of this film with the assumption of the british author Aldous Huxley to re-write the screenplay. This is precisely the same visionary who has affixed the signature to the Brave New World ( The new world ), Crome Yellow ( Chrome Yellow ) and many more.

a Word invented for the occasion, a version that is too literal to the book of Carroll, Mary Blair submitted a number of drawings that turned away from the detailed illustrations of Tenniel and showing a side of modernism, using bold colors and surreal. Walt liked these plates and the screenplay was re-written to focus on comedy, music and on the side of the most absurd books of Carroll.



At that time, Disney was considered to make a version of live-action and animated Alice in Wonderland , but he soon realized that he could do justice to the book and making a movie all animated, and in 1946 he began to work on this type of product, in anticipation of its release in 1950. But history teaches us that the delay was only for one year roughly.

Between eliminations and adjustments

Through the various drafts of the script, many sequences in the book of Carroll suffered changes, including deletions and adapted, or modified. In any case, Walt Disney insisted on the fact that the scenes remain as adherent as possible to those of the novel, enhancing the humour in the writing of the original text.

Not only scenes, but also characters removed in this version of the story, as the Fake Turtle and the Gryphon , dropped, probably, for not weighing down the pace of the film and make the plot less loose. But these adaptations are not lost even after the release of the original film.



we Talk about localization in the various Countries. Take the case of the Italian version of the film, by Roberto De Leonardis , who found himself obliged to make substantial changes to the dialogues of the work. The biggest challenge was the translation of some of the games of words , in addition to having to invent other in replacement of those which are untranslatable.

Moreover, were not used in the names of the Italian edition of the book, but were made of the new translation ; thus, the White Rabbit becomes the white Rabbit, the Dormouse becomes the Toperchio, Tweedledum and Tweedledee become Pinco Panco e Panco Pinco, and so on. Also the kitten of Alice, which in the original is called Dinah, in the Italian version becomes a kitten named Orestes; this is to translate the spelling of Alice at the Mad Hatter in “C-To-T” in the spelling of the Italian”O-res-te”.

The first flop and the second life

All of these changes that were made compared to the original work, have not been appreciated particularly by the large public, besides that of the critics and from the world of british film that has pointed the finger against Disney of “americanisation” of what, actually, is an English opera. Walt was not surprised by the critical reception to Alice, but in any case, the film did not land the ends meet, earning small amounts even for the era. We talk about figures of around 2.4 million dollars , which failed to cover the budget of 3 million.

As ever, the film was a particular success? Leonard Maltin , film critic, tells us that the animator Ward Kimball felt the film failed because “ it suffered from too many cooks (directors). This was a case of five filmmakers who sought to outdo one another and make the sequence bigger and more crazy of the show. This had an effect of self-cancellation of the final product “.



A “ second life” of this film comes in at about two decades from its original release, after the success of the north american animated film by George Dunning, Yellow Submarine (1968). So the version in Disney's Alice in Wonderland was suddenly in vogue with the times, because of the artistic direction of Mary Blair, and the association of Alice in Wonderland by Carroll with the theme of the drug, the film was rediscovered among young people and was distributed in different universities.

Disney, if not at first accepted this link with socio-cultural vis-à-vis issues addressed in the film, decides to create, in any case, in 1974, its first re-release the film in absolute. The company also promoted as a film in tune with the times and in harmony with the tones of “psychedelic” song of success " White Rabbit performed by Jefferson Airplane.



This re-release was successful enough to justify a further re-release later in 1981, while in Italy the only re-release came out in 1970. From the last century to today, have passed several decades, and Alice has finally found “peace” on the streaming service Disney Plus .

in order To rediscover all the magic on the DISNEY+, you can access the service with an annual subscription (2 months free), or monthly !

A long and winding path, but that resulted in each case, to the realization of a timeless classic, and still today, there is space between the quotes, meme on social networks and re-film, such as the ones made by Tim Burton, to give voice to both the main story, its sequel. A story that is always worth rediscovering, because, of the rest, “ is always the time of the “.

Rediscover the film in the DVD version and the Blu-Ray Special Edition of the original film of 1951!

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