Paramount’s Alice in Wonderland (1933), directed by Norman Z. McLeod, has been mentioned a lot in the past few weeks, as the first big Hollywood all-star blow-out adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s books (with such stars as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and W.C. Fields.) Slightly lost amongst the thousands of other Alices being released this month was the fact that this film, which was never released on VHS or DVD, is finally available (list price $19.99). Why is it being released as Universal Homes Entertainment? Our source from inside Paramount answers that question:
Back in 1957, Paramount sold most (but not all) of its pre-1948 film library to Universal for some quick cash (at the time, Paramount was ailing, financially). Thus, a number of Paramount films are now distributed by Universal, under their corporate and home video label [...] Paramount no longer owns the rights to these films.
There’s a review from the New York Times here
Also released on DVD on March 2nd is the SyFy
(list price $19.99), which originally aired last December
. Jonathan Miller’s 1966 adaptation
was issued on DVD (featuring John Gielgud, Peter Cook, Peter Sellers; list price $14.98). I noticed that Amazon has a deal selling all three for $38.97, the price of which won’t even get a family of three into the IMAX to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
There’s more: Hallmark’s “overblown” 1999 television special of Alice in Wonderland (with Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short and Christopher Lloyd) is being reissued on DVD (list price, $19.99) along with its companion Through the Looking Glass (with Geoffrey Palmer and Ian Holm; list price only $9.98!)
Now, several tie-ins to the Disney movie were also released March 2nd: several hot new video games for Nintendo Wii
(list price $39.99), Nintendo DS
(list price $29.99), and a Disney Interactive
computer game for PC ($19.99). The movie soundtrack
by Danny Elfman was released on March 2nd (list price $18.98). And merchandise, merchandise, merchandise, too much to mention here.
Did you know Alice stories can also be purchased in a book form? Many editions of this “book” were released in conjunction with the big movie premiere, but the only book rolled out on March 2nd (to keep true to the theme of this post), was one called “The Real Alice in Wonderland: A Role Model for the Ages
” by C.M. Rubin and Gabriela Rubin (list price, $29.95), from AuthorHouse. A day after it was released, it appears to already be out of stock. From the product description:
In 2006, award-winning author C.M. Rubin and her daughter, Gabriella Rubin (who are related to the Liddell family), began an incredible journey to create the ultimate book about the original Alice in Wonderland’s life. Their grand pictorial, biographic vision for the book involved collecting photographs spanning two centuries, reaching out to many celebrated Alice in Wonderland artists (including Vik Muniz, Annie Liebovitz, Mark Steele, Lizzy Rockwell, Helen Oxenbury, Frances Broomfield, Jeanne Argent, David Cooper, Bruce Fuller, Tatiana Ianovskaia, Jewel, and Tom Otterness), and connecting with museums, libraries and schools around the world. The Real Alice in Wonderland book is told using never before seen pictures along with prominent voices from Alice’s lifetime and from the present day. C.M. Rubin and her daughter Gabriella explore the theme of inspiration. Behind every great person there is the person who inspires and believes in him or her. The person who motivates them to realize their dreams. This magnificent cross-atlantic epic will fascinate you — it will make you think again: what does it mean to inspire?
The Real Alice In Wonderland book is dedicated to all those who inspire the minds and souls of human beings.
However, don’t miss Simply Read Books edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, no longer out of print, with Iassen Ghiuselev’s unique and beautiful illustrations, reissued in hardcover on March 1st (list price, $24.95).
“Curiouser and Curiouser: The Games and Mind Games of Lewis Carroll,” an interactive exhibition of Lewis Carroll’s games and puzzles opens today at The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library.
From the Library:
The exhibition is drawn largely from the Flodden Heron Collection of Lewis Carroll materials in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Flodden W. Heron was an American bibliographer and collector of rare materials on Lewis Carroll. While this exhibition primarily coheres around Carroll’s fascination with puzzles and games, the items also reflect Heron’s own interests in the author, particularly Carroll’s penchant for play and the nature of his relationship with Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the little girl for whom “Alice in Wonderland/”was first written and dedicated.
The University of Illinois owns Carroll’s own chess and backgammon board–two pastimes he combined into an entirely original game called “Lanrick.” Carroll preferred games of skill and logic over those of chance. His games sought to instruct, but never at the expense of amusement.
The Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition includes special “game tables” where visitors can try some of Carroll’s puzzles and games, including Lanrick. Exhibition visitors can also try “mirror writing”–one of Carroll’s favorite forms of correspondence. Children are encouraged to attend the five-week exhibition.
The exhibition concludes on March 5 with a Mad Hatter Tea Party for Young People.
“Curiouser and Curiouser: The Games and Mind Games of Lewis Carroll” at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL. from 2 February to March 5, 2010
“Play the Alice in Wonderland Costume game and dress Alice in strange costumes worn by the characters of Wonderland, then click on the ace of spades to give Alice an item from the Mad Hatter!” This mildly amusing dress-up game from FlashArcadeGamesite.com appears to be designed for tween and younger girls. I do wonder if they got permission from Disney to use the movie version of the Cheshire Cat in the game…
“Ever wondered what it is like to be Alice in Wonderland? Jump down the depths of the Rabbit Hole and find out! ‘Alice Free Fall‘ [game for the iPhone] lets you re-experience the dreamlike and strangely awesome decent, which Alice made in pursuit of the White Rabbit. Just as in Lewis Carroll’s novel your journey through the Hole will be accompanied by mysterious Cheshire and lots of other strange things – both helpful and peculiar. Sure enough, the game will unfold your own memories and fantasies of the times, when you were reading or watching Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Moreover, it was our intention to make it this way – a dreamy and entertaining tribute to the great work of the great author. For now, the path to the Wonderland is open, adventure awaits…”
“Lewis Carroll and Alice Play Call Our Bluff” by Alan Lance Andersen and Rebecca Ann Edwards appears in the July issue of Games Magazine, which will be on newsstands around May 15th. This nicely illustrated piece is a feature article/puzzle in which the reader tries to solve the puzzle in the text—to determine which of the many tidbits of Alice history are true and which the authors made up—and these are based on, to quote Mr. Andersen, “quirky trivia” about Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. [Though some Carrollians might have one or two quibbles with the information in the article.]
(c) EA Games/Spicy Horse Games
“Electronic Arts Inc and Spicy Horse today announced that they have signed a publishing deal for an all-new title based on EA’s 2000 classic, American McGee’s Alice
™…” Read the various press releases at EA Games
and Spicy Horse Games
Check out Yasmin Sethi’s Alice-inspired chess set! “Inspired by [Through the Looking Glass], the chess pieces have an opaque mirror finish, when they touch the surface of the board they magically turn transparent and reveal the identity of the piece contained inside them. When removed from the board they revert to being opaque, hiding the identity of the piece. This is a comment on how a chess piece has no value unless it is in play on the board. …the White Knight only works when placed upside down, a reference to the book where the White Knight talks about how he thinks better when he is upside down.” Designed in response to a brief set by Schott UK Ltd. for final year students of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, one hopes that it will soon be on the market!
Frank Beddor has added yet another aspect (see Bits & Bobs) to his Looking Glass Wars “empire”: a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game called Card Soldier Wars. “Strategize to become the most powerful general in Wonderland and place your queen upon the throne!”