Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is the seventh classic full length animated feature from the studio. It is based on the Alice books by Lewis Carroll. The film premiered in New York City on July 28, 1951. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice, Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Verna Felton as the Queen of Hearts, and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter.
Walt Disney first attempted unsuccessfully to adapt Alice into an animated feature film during the 1930s, and he revived the idea in the 1940s. The film was originally intended to be a live-action/animated film hybrid; however, Disney decided to make it an all-animated feature in 1946. The film was considered a flop on its initial release, leading to Walt Disney showing it on television as one of the first episodes of his TV series Disneyland. It proved to be very successful on television, especially during the psychedelic era. It was eventually re-released in theaters which proved to be massively successful. The film became even more successful through merchandising and subsequent home video releases. The theme song of the same name has since become a jazz standard. While the film was critically panned on its initial release, it has since been regarded as one of Disney’s greatest animated classics, notably one of the biggest cult classics in the animation medium, as well as one of the best film adaptations of Alice In Wonderland.
A live-action adaptation of Carroll’s works and animated film, Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2010.
Everything you need to know about Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland:
While her sister reads, a very bored Alice expresses her want of adventure, leading her to a riverbank. There, Alice spots a passing White Rabbit in a waistcoat, exclaiming that he is “late for a very important date”. She gives chase, following him into a large rabbit hole. She sees him leave through a tiny door, whose talking knob advises her to shrink to an appropriate height by drinking from a bottle marked “Drink Me”. She does so and floats out through the keyhole into a sea of her own tears, which she had cried after eating a biscuit marked “Eat Me”, which caused her to grow very large. As she continues to follow the Rabbit, she meets numerous characters, including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who recount the tale of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”.
Alice tracks the Rabbit to his house; he mistakes her for his housemaid and sends her to retrieve his gloves. While searching, she finds and eats another cookie marked “Eat Me” and grows large again, getting stuck in the house. Thinking her a monster, he brings the Dodo to help expel her. When the Dodo decides to burn the house down, Alice escapes by eating a carrot from the Rabbit’s garden, which causes her to shrink to three inches tall, and continues following him. Along the way, she meets a garden of talking flowers who initially welcome her with a song, but then mistake her for a weed and order her to leave, followed by a Caterpillar. He becomes enraged by her distress at her current height, which is the same as his, and turns into a butterfly. Before leaving, he advises her to eat a piece of his mushroom to alter her size. She does so and returns to her original height, and continues following the Rabbit.
In the woods, Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, who advises her to visit the Mad Hatter or the March Hare to learn the Rabbit’s location. She encounters both, along with the Dormouse, at the Hare’s house having a mad tea party and celebrating their “unbirthdays”. They celebrate hers too, but she becomes frustrated by interruptions whenever she tries to speak. As she prepares to leave, the Rabbit appears, continuing to exclaim that he is late; the Hatter examines his pocket watch and says it is “two days slow”, and attempts to “fix” it by filling it with food and tea but ends up having to destroy it after it goes “mad”. The Rabbit laments that his watch was an “unbirthday present”, and the Hatter and Hare sing “The Unbirthday Song” to him before throwing him back into the woods. Fed up with the nonsense, Alice decides to go home, but her surroundings have completely changed and she gets lost. Fearing she is lost forever, she sits on a rock sobbing.
The Cheshire Cat reappears and advises Alice to ask the Queen of Hearts for directions home, showing her a “shortcut” to the King and tyrannical Queen’s castle. The Queen orders the beheading of a trio of playing card gardeners who mistakenly planted white roses instead of red ones (but paint them to make them look red), and forces Alice to play against her in a croquet match, in which live flamingos, card guards, and hedgehogs are used as equipment. The equipment rig the game in favor of the Queen. The Cat appears again and plays a trick on the Queen, causing her to fall over. The Cat disappears in time to make it look like Alice was the prankster, but before the Queen can order her execution, the King suggests a trial.
At Alice’s trial, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Dormouse are called to the stand as witnesses, briefly celebrating the Queen’s unbirthday and giving her a headpiece as a present, which turns into the Cat. Chaos ensues when the Dormouse, frightened when Alice points out the Cat, runs around the courtroom. As the Queen orders Alice’s execution, Alice eats the pieces of the Caterpillar’s mushroom she saved and grows large again. The King and Queen order her to leave the courthouse, but she refuses and insults the Queen. As she does so, she returns to her normal size, and the Queen orders her execution. Alice flees, and the Queen, King, card guards and other characters give chase. When she reaches the small door she encountered at the beginning of the film, he shows her that she is actually already outside, asleep. She yells at herself to wake up; she does thanks to her sister, and they return home for tea.