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Alice in Wonderland

Musicals & Performing Arts movie directed by Harry Harris

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FINALLY!!!!

  • May 28, 2006
Rating:
+5
Finally after years of waiting, fans (and children of the 80s) can finally take home the fondly-remembered 1985 two-part television musical production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, produced by Irwin Allen and featuring just about every single showbusiness personality of the time.

Part One opens with Alice (played winningly by Natalie Gregory) wishing she was old enough to enjoy afternoon tea with all of the grownups. After going down to the lake she spies a White Rabbit (Red Buttons), follows him down a rabbit-hole and into a kaleidoscope of colour and fantasy. Alice meets many wonderful characters like the Caterpillar (Sammy Davis Jr.), the Duchess and her eccentric cook (Martha Raye and Imogene Coca), the Mad Hatter (Anthony Newley), the Mock Turtle (Ringo Starr) and the Cheshire Cat (Telly Savalas). Finally after a brush with the head-chopping Queen of Hearts (Jayne Meadows), Alice escapes, only to discover she is in fact trapped on the wrong side of the mirror.

Part Two finds Alice now somehow in Looking-glass Land, which is actually a giant chess-game. In order to win the game and hopefully return home, Alice must make it to the eighth square of the board. On her way Alice meets many more wondrous characters like Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee (Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme), the Red Queen (Ann Jillian), the White Queen (Carol Channing), the White King (Harvey Korman) and the White Knight (Lloyd Bridges). But throughout her journey Alice is terrorised by the scary Jabberwocky dragon which thrives on fear. Alice must conquer her fears of the Jabberwocky if she is ever to return home...

Famous for star-studded films of the 70s like "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno", producer Irwin Allen made sure the cast of this spectacular ALICE IN WONDERLAND featured just about every single showbusiness veteran and notable of the day. It would have been easy for Natalie Gregory to have become overwhelmed or overshadowed by her cavalcade of co-stars but the appealing young actress holds her own and gives a very solid performance, though it must be noted that her singing was in fact dubbed by another little girl called Lara Beeson. The musical numbers, written by legendary host Steve Allen (who also appears as the Paper Suit Man during Part Two), are all very fine and perfect for the characters but the best number by far is the beautiful ballad "Emotions", delivered by Ann Jillian in a tear-inducing rendition.

Children of the 80s remember this version with a lot of nostalgia, and it's so lovely to think we can now introduce this gem to our own children.

THE COMPLETE CAST LIST:

Part One (Alice in Wonderland)
Sheila Allen.......Mother
Scott Baio.......Pat the Guinea Pig
Red Buttons.......White Rabbit
Sid Caesar........Gryphon
Imogene Coca.........Cook
Sammy Davis Jr............Caterpillar
Natalie Gregory.........Alice
Sherman Hemsley.........Mouse
Arte Johnson..........Dormouse
Roddy McDowall........March Hare
Jayne Meadows.........Queen of Hearts
Robert Morley ..........King of Hearts
Anthony Newley..........Mad Hatter
Donald O'Connor...........Lory Bird
Martha Raye.............Duchess
George Savalas...........Courtier
Telly Savalas.............Cheshire Cat
Ringo Starr............Mock Turtle
Shelley Winters...........Dodo Bird

Part Two (Through the Looking Glass)
Steve Allen.............Gentleman in the Paper Suit
Ernest Borgnine..........Lion
Beau Bridges...............Unicorn
Lloyd Bridges..............White Knight
Carol Channing.............White Queen
Patrick Duffy.............Goat
George Gobel...............Gnat
Eydie Gorme...............Tweedle-Dee
Merv Griffin..................Conductor
Ann Jillian....................Red Queen
Harvey Korman...............White King
Steve Lawrence...............Tweedle-Dum
Don Matheson.................Red Knight
Karl Malden....................Walrus
Donna Mills......................Rose
Pat Morita.....................Horse
Louis Nye.........................Carpenter
John Stamos....................The Messenger
Sally Struthers..................Tiger-Lily
Jack Warden........................Owl
Jonathan Winters.............Humpty-Dumpty

TECHNICAL DETAILS:
Single-sided, dual-layer disc
Keep case
Audio: 2-channel stereo
Subtitles: French (English closed-captioned)

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About the reviewer
Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #146
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The king of 1970s disaster movies, producer Irwin Allen, brought together novelist Paul Zindel, songwriter Steve Allen, and a host of celebrities for a pair of 1985 TV movies paying homage to Lewis Carroll'sAlice. In this first installment, the 7-year-old girl dreams of being grown up enough to join the adults for tea, only to shrink to miniature size, climb through a hole beneath the door, and follow a twitchy Red Buttons in big white rabbit ears. Whether arguing with the Mad Hatter (Anthony Newley), or trying to keep her head in the company of the Queen of Hearts (Jayne Meadows), Alice is constantly running into a host of '70s and '80s personalities like Telly Savalas, Ringo Starr, Scott Baio, and Shelley Winters. If this roster isn't enough to make a poor girl trippy, she also meets up with Sammy Davis Jr. as the caterpillar, and the pair perform an entertaining hip-hop-esque tap number to "Father William." An enjoyably campy version of Alice's wondrous journey, it features detailed sets, marvelously tacky costumes, and mildly clever musical numbers. This 90-minute TV movie's pleasant goofiness will amuse children 4 and older as well as nostalgically minded adults. The TV movie has been broken into two parts on video withAlice Through the Looking Glasspicking up where this one leaves off.--Kimberly Heinrichs
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Details

Director: Harry Harris
Genre: Music, Musical
Screen Writer: Paul Zindel
DVD Release Date: August 1, 2006
Runtime: 187 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
First to Review

"FINALLY!!!!"
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