Alice in Wonderland (1931) is an independently made black-and-white Pre-Code American film based on Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, directed by Bud Pollard, produced by Hugo Maienthau, and filmed at Metropolitan Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
This was the first sound version of the story, and therefore the first film in which Carroll's original dialogue was heard, the film starred Ruth Gilbert as Alice and Leslie King as the Mad Hatter. The film opened at the Warner Theatre in New York City.
Alice (Ruth Gilbert) meets the White Rabbit (Ralph Hertz), the bad-tempered Cook (Lillian Ardell) and the Duchess (Mabel Wright). She joins a mad tea-party with the Mad Hatter (Leslie King), the March Hare (Meyer Berensen) and the Dormouse (Raymond Schultz), while the Cheshire Cat (Tom Corless) leaves his grin behind.
The Caterpillar (Jimmy Rosen) becomes annoyed with her, and the Queen of Hearts (Vie Quinn) threatens to cut off her head. With the Duchess, Alice meets the Mock Turtle (Gus Alexander) and the Gryphon (Charles Silvern), and at a bizarre trial, Alice finally becomes fed up with all the strange events and people.
- Ruth Gilbert as Alice
- Leslie T. King as Mad Hatter
- Ralph Hertz as White Rabbit
- Vie Quinn as Queen of Hearts
- N.R. Cregan as King of Hearts
- Pat Glasgow as Knave of Hearts
- Mabel Wright as Duchess
- Lillian Ardell as Cook
- Tom Corliss as Cheshire Cat
- Meyer Beresen as March Hare
- Raymond Schultz as Dormouse
- Charles Silvern as Gryphon
- Gus Alexander as Mock Turtle
- Jimmy Rosen as Caterpillar
This low-budget film was made in 1931 at the Metropolitan Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, possibly with a cast of amateur actors, many of whom struggled to reproduce British accents. It came out one year before the centenary of the birth of Lewis Carroll, which event was causing a wave of 'Alice' fever on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the United States, a number of 'Alice in Wonderland' plays, films, songs and puppet shows in the early 1930s attempted to cash in on this Carroll and 'Alice' fever. For example, in the Betty Boop cartoon Betty in Blunderland Betty went to Wonderland, as did Eva Le Gallienne in a 1932 Broadway adaptation that combined Alice in Wonderland with Through the Looking Glass, and which was one of the hits of the year.
Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures was preparing a big-budget Alice in Wonderland which starred an unknown, Charlotte Henry, with an all-star cast that featured W.C. Fields, Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. In 1932, Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the 'Alice' of the original books, and by now an elderly lady, visited America to take part in these centenary celebrations.
The film opened at the prestigious Warner Theatre in New York City. However, the film was not financially successful and received little critical attention. Today, it is rarely if ever shown, and for a time there was even some doubt as to whether prints of it still existed. It has never been shown on television.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Alice in Wonderland (1931), fortleefilm.org; accessed July 23, 2015.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "'Curiouser and curiouser' - Alice in Film", NorthJersey.com; accessed July 23, 2015.
- ↑ Film review, ovguide.com; accessed July 23, 2015.