This has been out for a year, but it’s the first time it came across our desk. The LCSNA member who forwarded it to us suspected that it was “execrable.” It’s a 2009 low budget documentary called Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll ($24.95) directed by Not Provided and starring Artist Not Provided. (Personally, I prefer their earlier work.) I would never judge harshly without seeing it, but luckily there are some Amazon.com customer reviews which have done that for me, with some disturbing facts about the movie’s mistakes:
“Worse than just a boring, repetitive ripoff off old biographies, this film ‘stars’ the director’s daughter mugging for the camera over and over. The director’s own bias towards the mystical warps Lewis Carroll into some chemical character. The most awful part here is the terribly Photoshopped picture of Lewis Carroll embracing and kissing Alice Liddell !? This is shown maybe 10 times throughout the film. If there is a Liddell or Dodgson estate extant, they should sue. ” -B. T Weddleton
“…it is filled with misinformation. For one example, every time the narrator discusses the family of Alice Liddell, a picture is shown of Carroll with the wife and children of George MacDonald, another Victorian author.” -Melody Green
Anyone else who has seen it, please leave your thoughts in the comments. And, since there’s no record of it on imdb or elsewhere, can anyone supply a name for the anonymous people responsible for this project?
Issue 48, Fall 2010, of Bitch Magazine, “The Make-Believe Issue,” includes “Alice in Adaptation-Land—How wanderer Alice became warrior Alice, and why.”
In the well-written article, Kristina Aikens makes the interesting point that the Carroll’s curious Alice is more of a feminist icon than Burton’s Alice that puts on armor, kills the Jabberwock, and seeks to colonize China.
Many Lewis Carroll lovers have been awaiting Marilyn Manson’spromised Dodgson movie with varying degrees of dread. The latest news, according to contactmusic.com, is that the studio has shelved the project:
Lily Cole & Marilyn Manson
Viewers were left shocked after disturbing clips from The Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll hit the internet, with the 22 year old [Lily Cole] appearing as Alice [Liddell] in a story about the Alice In Wonderland author.
Studio bosses have since decided to shut down the entire project, which was directed by goth rocker Marilyn Manson and also stars Tilda Swinton.
A source tells Britain’s Mail on Sunday, “The trailer caused such a backlash that a decision was made to close down the project. It’s unlikely it will ever see the light of day.”
According to the publication, the film is now officially on ‘indefinite production hold’.
Of course, sometimes studio suppression can increase interest (remember Terry Gilliam’s Brazil?), especially with a famous director and juicy controversy – but, at least for the time being…. phew?
When our cousins the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil held their first “Alice Day” in May this year, one of the main events was the live performance of a new soundtrack to the silent Alice in Wonderland (1903). The music was composed by Paulo Beto and performed by the band Frame Circus on keyboards, cello, percussion and Theremin.
Thank you to Adriana Peliano for sending us news of the event. Adriana tends Alicenations, the blog of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil. The above video featured in her Alice Day blog post, along with another soundtrack by Frame Circus, and a video of Leon Theremin playing his own instrument.
Shelby Tashlin of Las Vegas walked to the counter clutching a boxed edition of “Alice in Wonderland” containing an etching and 12 lithographs by Salvador Dalí. Ms. Tashlin’s opening thrust: the Dali prints were limited in number. Mr. Harrison’s parry: “He’s pretty well known for fudging numbers.” Mr. Harrison spoke about etching versus lithography and allowed that Dalí and Lewis Carroll were a “wonderful combination.” Then it was time for business. Ms. Tashlin wanted $10,000. Mr. Harrison asked if she had taken a little blue pill, and offered $5,000.
She politely declined and walked away still clutching “Alice in Wonderland.” “I was hoping it would go the other way, but I’m not surprised,” she would tell a reporter later.
According to the Wikipedia, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is now behind only two James Cameron films, the final Lord of the Rings movie, & another Disney Johnny Depp flick, as the highest grossing movie world-wide (of all time, partly adjusted for inflation.) They discuss the difficulties of calculating these figures meaningfully (inflation, ticket-price inflation, population and distribution, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.)
In comparison, in their “List of Highest Grossing Films in the U.S. and Canada: Not Adjusted for Inflation”, Alice in Wonderland is merely 20th, just above Forrest Gump. It is still the highest grossing film of 2010. Not bad for a movie sort-of based on a Victorian-era children’s book with no linear narrative. And also, a bit of an Alice-redemption for the Disney Corporation, whose 1951 version received sour reviews and box office disappointment.
Some light entertainment for your Sunday morning: Where would you put a life-size cut-out of Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (yours for only $34.95 from AG)? I would like to think of her used to direct attention to a particularly important agenda item, or perhaps to direct traffic (to the left).
I have to admit I am featuring this item mainly because the idea of the company made me giggle: AG, “Home of Cardboard People” is “the world’s largest manufacturer of cardboard standups.” Where “our kind of people are cardboard people.”
But fans of Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland may like to ask why it is possible to purchase a three-foot-tall cut out of Dumbo, but no Alice and no Cheshire Cat? Who exactly is the target audience? Does the Dumbo fan club really wield more eccentric purchasing power than the fans of Alice? Say it isn’t so!
There will of course be reviews of the new Tim Burton Disney Movie (knocked down by titans, dragons, and Tyler Perry, but still 5 in the box office in its fifth week, and having made already $300 million dollars!) in the forthcoming Knight Letter. Meantime, several LCSNA members have been forwarding this video around, seconding this reviewer’s sage insight:
At 12.01am this morning the curtain rose on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. If the last five months of hype have left you cold, how about being truly perverse and making today the day you watched the first Alice movie ever made?
Alice in Wonderand (1903), carefully restored by the British Film Institute’s National Archive, is now available online. In fact you can watch it right now, right here:
A fascinating article about the restoration project appears on the British Film Institute’s website. Apparently, the film featured the first British actor ever to be named in the credits of a film: it was the collie dog glimpsed at 3:16 minutes in, later to star in Rescued by Rover (1905). Now you know.
From the March 5th – 15th, the BFI will be hosting a “brief rabbit-hole retro,” with a selection of the most notable Alice films, from Paramount’s 1933 star-studded oddity, through to Jan Svankmajer’s 1988 masterpiece of taxidermy. All films will be shown at the London Southbank Centre. For a full schedule and ticket information, see the BFI website.
March 5th, 2010 | Category: Film and TV | Comments are closed