Monday, March 22, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (1985 film)

Alice in Wonderland is a 1985 film adaptation of Lewis Carroll's books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. It was a two-part special made for television and used a huge all-star cast of notable actors and actresses. The role of Alice was played by Natalie Gregory. Alice in Wonderland was first telecast December 9, 1985, (part one) and December 10, 1985 (part two), at 8:00pm EST on CBS. The movie was released on DVD on August 1, 2006.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The first part opens with Alice (Natalie Gregory) helping Mother set the table for tea time. Although thankful for her daughter's help, Mother tells Alice that she is still not grown-up enough to join the adults at tea. Alice goes outside to see her sister (played by Gregory's real-life older sister Sharee Gregory), but gets bored at the "dull thought" of reading a book with no pictures. Her sister tells her that she will understand when she grows up, but Alice thinks she is already grown up (after all, she's seven and a half). While playing with her cat, Dinah, the White Rabbit comes running by, saying he's late. Wondering where he is going, Alice follows him until she falls down a dark rabbit hole, which takes her into Wonderland. Unlike the book and most movie versions, the rabbit hole appears here dark and frightening.

Alice finds herself in a hall with many doors, all of them locked. On a table is a key which Alice can use to open one small door. Yet the door is far too small to even fit her head in. A small bottle appears labeled "Drink Me." Doing this, she shrinks to the right size for the door, but can no longer reach the key to open it. A box of sweets appears labeled "Eat Me." Doing this, she grows to over nine feet tall. As she begins to cry, her tears fall on the floor and flow under the cracks. The White Rabbit appears, but frightened of the giant Alice, runs away dropping his fan and gloves. Using the fan makes Alice shrink again to a size small enough to crawl into one of the cracks, which takes her diving in her pool of tears.

While swimming in the pool of tears, she meets the Mouse, who tells her why he hates dogs and cats. Alice later catches up with the White Rabbit, and, in his house, curiously she finds another "drink me" bottle and chances it growing her full 9 foot character once again. Angry at Alice, the rabbit and his friends think that this is uncalled for and begins throwing stones at her which turn into cakes that causes her to shrink back to size. After running away she meets the Caterpillar and goes to the house of The Duchess. Finding the house too violent and hateful, she takes the Duchess' baby away, but it then turns into a pig. She meets the Cheshire Cat, who gives her directions to see either the March Hare or the Mad Hatter, but warns Alice that they, along with everyone else, are mad. Alice visits the garden of the Queen of Hearts, who always yells "Off with her Head!" and plays croquet, or at least watches the others play. She visits The Gryphon as well as the Mock Turtle, but then she is called to attend a trial.

The trial deals with the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of having stolen The Queen's tarts. There is no proof that he did it, but again there is no proof that he did not do it, nor is there proof that anybody did it, which proves him guilty, according to the Queen. Alice argues with the ways of the court, but inexplicably begins to grow larger again. The Queen becoming angry, yells "Off with her Head!" and has the guards chase the giant Alice, who is hardly afraid of them as "they're nothing but a pack of cards." Alice keeps running until she trips and falls and finds herself back home, in her normal size.

She runs happily back home, but finds that nobody is there and nobody can hear her. Hearing her cat Dinah, she sees her in the other side of a mirror, along with her parents, who can only see their own reflections and can't see or hear their daughter. Alice doesn't know how to get through to the other side. She notices a strange book next to her and starts reading it. There is a poem called Jabberwocky about a scary monster. Trying to deny her fears, she gets very scared as the room becomes dark and the Jabberwocky monster appears in the house. This marks the end of the first part.

Through the Looking Glass

The second part opens with the Jabberwocky scaring Alice. But as Alice wishes it away, it disappears. Yet, she is informed by The Owl in a painting that it may come back any time and reveals to her that it is a creation of Alice's own fears.

After an interesting conversation with talking flowers, Alice meets The Red Queen, who is taking the place of one of the pawns/children of The White Queen on the chess board. Alice plays a pawn, but finds herself now on the second square, from where she must reach the eighth square to become a queen. The Red Queen tells her that only if she becomes a queen she may go home.

On the way to the eighth square, Alice meets many various characters and visits many places. She goes on a train that doesn't stop, along with The Goat, The Horse, and The Gentleman in Paper Suit. She meets The Gnat king, as well as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who sing the story of "The Walrus and the Carpenter." She bumps into The White Queen, who speaks about the ways of the land and ends up turning herself into a sheep. She is then chased by a giant bird, which she initially thought was the Jabberwocky, and meets Humpty Dumpty. The Jabberwocky appears again, and Alice flees when it pursues her after knocking Humpty Dumpty off a wall. Alice then meets The White King and his Messenger, who bring Alice to see the Lion and the Unicorn, who are fighting for the crown. The combatants call a temporary truce and are intrigued by Alice, whom they perceive as a "fabulous monster." Alice flees the group after a deafening barrage of drums begins to play, which she is apparently the only one to hear. Thereafter, she meets The White Knight, who sings and dances with her. Finally, Alice reaches the eighth square and finds her way to her castle, where a great feast in her honor takes place, with many of the characters she met previously on her journey.

Alice appreciates the feast but tells everybody that what she really wants is to go home. A present is then brought to her, out of which comes The Jabberwocky. The beast starts frightening and terrorizing everyone in the castle. The White Knight tries to rescue Alice, but fails. Alice manages to find her way back to the mirror and into her home, where she gets to confront The Jabberwocky. Telling him that he is just in her imagination and that she does not believe in him, he finally disappears. After this, Mother walks in and tells her daughter that she is finally old enough to join the grown-ups at tea time. Alice then sees the Wonderland characters in the mirror, and they sing farewell to her. Tearfully, Alice waves them goodbye as the movie ends.


Alice in Wonderland (In Alphabetical Order)

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

Alice Through the Looking Glass (In Alphabetical Order)

Sheila Allen as Mother
Steve Allen as The Gentleman in Paper Suit
Ernest Borgnine as The Lion
Beau Bridges as The Unicorn
Lloyd Bridges as The White Knight
Red Buttons as The White Rabbit
Carol Channing as The White Queen
Patrick Duffy as The Goat
George Gobel as The Gnat
Eydie Gormé as Tweedle Dee
Natalie Gregory as Alice
Merv Griffin as The Conductor
Ann Jillian as The Red Queen
Arte Johnson as The Dormouse
Harvey Korman as The White King
Steve Lawrence as Tweedle Dum
Karl Malden as The Walrus
Don Matheson as The Red Knight
Roddy McDowall as The March Hare
Jayne Meadows as The Queen of Hearts
Donna Mills as The Rose
Pat Morita as The Horse
Robert Morley as The King of Hearts
Anthony Newley as The Mad Hatter
Louis Nye as The Carpenter
John Stamos as The Messenger
Sally Struthers as The Tiger Lily
Jack Warden as The Owl
Jonathan Winters as Humpty Dumpty


Roddy McDowall would later play the role of the Mad Hatter in Batman: The Animated Series.
For this television adaptation, Alice's nationality was changed from British to American.

For the 1990s US home video release, each part was released separately in slightly re-edited form. Part one ended with an onscreen quote from the final chapter of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland rather than the original cliffhanger, while part two began with a "prologue" of sorts (the final minutes of part one) and was retitled Alice Through the Looking Glass for release.

Gillian Lynne of Cats fame was brought in to complete the choreography after the original stager was jettisoned.

This was Irwin Allen's final TV movie.

Ringo Starr and Lloyd Bridges would meet each other in Shining Time Station.

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