One of the very first adaptations of Alice in Wonderland is out on Blu-ray today for the very first time! Film history buffs, and even fans of old animation, listen up! We’ve got all the details on this brand new release of the 1933 version, and Alice in Wonderland fans definitely do not want to miss this release!
I don’t talk about it much here on Rotoscopers, but I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. If you follow my YouTube channel, then you’ll know I’ve been watching and reviewing all sorts of versions of the story for the last three years, but for the most part, it is really hard to find some of the older, more obscure releases. Aside from people like me who are interested in the history, it’s kind of easy to see why many of these more obscure versions are so hard to find because they’re either not that great, or they were overshadowed by a far more popular adaptation.
And for some of them, it’s kind of a shame that they’ve faded into obscurity, because even though we have a few versions that could be called the quintessential adaptations of the story, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other versions out there worth checking out. And at least for me, the 1933 version is one of those that’s worth watching, so I was surprised and happy to find out there was going to be a brand new release, and it was actually coming to Blu-ray!
I won’t get into the story itself, because, for most of you, you know what the story is about. Like many adaptations, it mixes elements from both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, but there are a few ways that they do this, unique to this adaptation, so it’s fun to see what they do.
Fans of old Hollywood will enjoy spotting famous faces from yesteryear, or, at least hearing famous voices, because in some cases, you can’t actually see the faces, due to the elaborate costumes. This could be a drawback for some, like my cousin who was disappointed to find that Cary Grant’s face was hidden by the head of the Mock Turtle, his character in the film.
Now for fans of 1930s-era animation, this movie actually has something for you too! This is a mostly live action adaption; however, there is a sequence during the Tweedledee and Tweedledum scene, where the story of The Walrus and the Carpenter is told through animation. The one drawback here is a brief shot of an octopus that is seemingly based on a blackface caricature, which were rather prolific at that time, but other than that, the 1930s style is a charming addition to the film for fans who enjoy that era in animation.
For the most part, this release is for people who want to own the movie, but if you’re a fan of bonus features like I am, there’s actually something here for you as well! In addition to an original theatrical trailer, I was shocked to see that there was actually a feature-length commentary included, featuring film historian Lee Gambin! In a time when it seems to be getting harder and harder to find commentary tracks included on home releases, I love that they thought to include one on an older, more obscure film like this. It’s just a really fun, interesting inclusion, and I’m grateful that they added it in.
So all in all, this film is a must watch for Alice in Wonderland fans, film history buffs, fans of old Hollywood, and even animation fans. This may not be the best adaptation of Alice in Wonderland ever put on screen, but it is an oddly charming little film and an interesting piece of film history. If you have a chance, I’d definitely check it out.
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What adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is your favorite?
Edited by: Kelly Conley