The 1980s produced another slew of Alice In Wonderland inspired films. In 1982 Soviet based Kievnauchfilm studio produced a 38-minute cutout-animation based on Through The Looking Glass called Alisa v Zazerkal.
Alicja (aka Alice), starring Sophie Barjac, was also released in 1982. It’s an unusual modern interpretation in which Alice falls in love with a jogger called Rabbit who is being plotted against by another character named Queenie… Other Wonderland characters involved in the tale include the Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Griffin, Mock Turtle, and the Duchess.
1982 saw two more Alice‘s brought to life on the small screen. Meryl Streep portrayed her in the Emmy Award winning Alice at the Palace, costarring Betty Aberlin, Debbie Allen, Richard Cox, and Michael Jeter.
Annie Enneking also took the role of Alice in a 1982 television production of Alice in Wonderland, which was adapted from a stage play performed by Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis. This production borrows elements from both Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. The sets and costumes are colorful and well designed, but observers have complained that “it’s slightly spoiled by the actors bellowing their lines as if they were performing for a live audience several hundred feet away rather than the whisper-sensitive microphone“.
Fushigi no Kuni no Alice, an anime adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, aired on the Japanese network NHK from March 26, 1983 to October 10, 1984. The series was a Japanese-German coproduction between Nippon Animation and Apollo Films. Of the 52 episodes produced, only 26 ever aired in the United States.
1985′s two-part TV musical Alice in Wonderland covers both stories & stars Natalie Gregory (Oliver & Company) as Alice. In this rendition, produced by Irwin Allen, the Jabberwock materializes when Alice reads the poem The Jabberwocky. The beast then pursues her throughout the rest of the show, which boasts an enourmous, star-studded cast including Scott Baio (Charles in Charge), Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure), Sid Caesar (Your Show of Shows), musician Sammy Davis Jr. (Cannonball Run), Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), Telly Savalas (Kojak), Shelley Winters (Pete’s Dragon), musician Ringo Starr (A Hard Day’s Night), Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl), Lloyd Bridges (Airplane!), Ernest Borgnine (The Wild Bunch), Carol Channing (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Patrick Duffy (Dallas), Merv Griffin (The Merv Griffin Show), Arte Johnson (Tales of the Apple Dumpling Gang), Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show), Karl Malden (Captains Courageous), Pat Morita (The Karate Kid), John Stamos (Full House), and Jonathan Winters (Mork & Mindy).
Also released in 1985 was the Gavin Millar film, Dreamchild, in which a reporter attempts to uncover the ‘true story’ of the Alice tales from an 80 year-old woman who may or may not be Alice Liddell. Featuring grotesque, aged versions of the Wonderland characters (designed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop), the film explores the relationships adults have with the fictional characters from their childhoods. It stars Ian Holm as Reverend Charles L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll).
Alice Through The Looking Glass was adapted into an animated TV movie in 1987. Janet Waldo was the voice of Alice, Mr. T was the voice of the Jabberwock, Phyllis Diller played the White Queen, and Jonathan Winters performed the parts of Tweedledee & Tweedledum. You can see the entire show on YouTube.
In 1988, Jan Švankmajer created Neco z Alenky, a bizzare surrealist fantasy that merged live action with stop motion animation. Kristýna Kohoutová plays the role of Alice and the English dubbed version features the voice of Camilla Power. It was released on DVD in English as “Alice” by First Run Features.
After an decade long absence, Alice returned to the screen in 1998′s Channel 4 movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Kate Beckinsale in the role of Alice. Ian Holm, who played Lewis Carroll in the 1985 film Dreamchild, returns to play the White Knight.
Tina Majorino (Napoleon Dynamite) stepped into Alice‘s shoes in the 1999 Hallmark TV movie Alice In Wonderland. Following her down the rabbit hole were costars Ben Kingsley (Sneakers) as Major Caterpillar, Martin Short (The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley) as the Mad Hatter, Whoopi Goldberg (Jumpin’ Jack Flash) as the Cheshire Cat, Peter Ustinov (Lorenzo’s Oil) as the Walrus, Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) in an amazing performance as the Mock Turtle, Christopher Lloyd (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension) as the White Knight, and Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as the Queen of Hearts. This Emmy Award winning rendition first aired on NBC and was later shown on British TV’s Channel 4. It merged elements from Through the Looking Glass including the talking flowers, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Chess theme including the snoring Red King and the clumsy White Knight.
See Gene Wilder as The Mock Turtle singing Beautiful Soup on YouTube
Wonderland returns to the small screen December 2009 in The SciFi Channel‘s upcoming Alice. The movie is scheduled as a two-part, 4 hour television event & comes from the creators of Tin Man, The SciFi Channel‘s recent Wizard of Oz inspired epic. Alice features the acting talents of Tim Curry (Legend), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Kathy Bates (Dolores Claiborne), Colm Meaney (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Harry Dean Stanton (Pretty In Pink), and stars Caterina Scorsone (Common Ground) in the role of Alice. For more information, see our previous post: Alice – The SciFi Channel Movie.
Wonderland fans around the globe are currently biting their nails in anticipation of Tim Burton‘s Alice In Wonderland. Due out March 5th, 2010, Alice In Wonderland will star Mia Wasikowska (Amelia) as Alice, Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands) as The Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club) as The Red Queen, Alan Rickman (Die Hard) as The Caterpillar, Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) as The White Queen, Christopher Lee (Dracula) as The Jabberwock, Crispin Glover (Back to the Future) as The Knave of Hearts, Stephen Fry (Kingdom) as The Cheshire Cat, and comic Matt Lucas (Shaun of the Dead) as Tweedledee & Tweedledum. For further details, read our previous article: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland – March 5th, 2010.
Other 2010 releases are rumored, but information on these films has been intermittant and sketchy at best. If stories are to be believed, we’ll soon see musician Marilyn Manson‘s production, Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, in which Manson himself plays the author. Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) is slated to portray Alice in the fantasy/horror film.
Not much has been said recently about the “strangely familiar, yet utterly wicked tale” that is American McGee‘s Alice, but the Internet Movie Database does currently list the video-game turned film as being in production and nothing has yet been stated on McGee‘s site about the project being scrapped. With luck, 2010 will see Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) take on the role of Alice as she battles her way through McGee‘s twisted take on Wonderland. In related news, a sequel to the video game itself has also been announced.
For a complete list of film adaptations, see the following sites:
Alice in Wonderland Films on Wikipedia
Through The Looking Glass Films on Wikipedia
Alice character profile on the Internet Movie Database
Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodgson profile on IMDB
Films influenced by Alice in Wonderland
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