Friday, March 19, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (1966 TV play)

Alice in Wonderland (1966) was a BBC television play based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was directed by Jonathan Miller, then most widely known for his appearance in the long-running satirical revue Beyond the Fringe.

The play featured a number of prominent British actors including Michael Redgrave (as the Caterpillar), John Gielgud (as the Mock Turtle), and Peter Sellers (As the King of Hearts), as well as Miller's fellow cast members of Beyond the Fringe, Peter Cook and Alan Bennett as the Mad Hatter and the Mouse, respectively. The title role was played by Anne-Marie Mallik, the 13 year old daughter of a Surrey barrister, this being her only known acting performance. Wilfrid Brambell played the White Rabbit, Michael Gough and Wilfrid Lawson were the March Hare and Dormouse, Alison Legatt was the Queen of Hearts, and Leo McKern in a drag turn as the Ugly Duchess. Radio and Television Personality Malcolm Muggeridge was The Griffon. The play also featured a very young Eric Idle, several years before Monty Python brought him notice, uncredited as a member of the Caucus Race.

Ravi Shankar wrote the music for this unusual production which was first broadcast on 28 December 1966.

Interior scenes were shot at Netley Hospital, a mid 19th century building that was demolished not long after this film.

This play is extremely interesting from the point of view of costume - The Queen and King of Hearts are dressed respectively as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and thus give viewers clarity as to their character within Lewis' book.

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