Disney · Uncategorized

TTD – Alice in Wonderland

Image result for alice in wonderland 1951Hello!

If there is one thing I love about the Disney Studios of the 1950s, it is their knack for releasing quality films that endure and are loved by generations. Cinderella gave them the kickstart they needed after the end of the Second World War and transformed the studios into what we know today – a multimedia enterprise focused on wholesome family entertainment.

However, Cinderella has had its time in the Disney Library Spotlight. Jump forward a year from 1950 to 1951 and it is the turn of Alice in Wonderland, another story that Walt Disney was adamant about adapting.

Whether we have read Lewis Carroll’s original literary classic or not, Alice in Wonderland is a story we all know. It’s ingrained in society and popular culture, and it is one story all of us – whether we’re readers, critics, film analysts etc – want to pick apart. It doesn’t matter if we believe that the wackiness behind the story is inspired by hallucinogenic drugs, that Lewis Carroll was sexually obsessed with Alice Liddell (the young girl who inspired Alice), or that Wonderland is a political allegory. We bask in its whimsy, its childhood innocence and imagination and simply enjoy Alice’s journey.

I personally love Alice in Wonderland though it is by no means a favourite. It is one film and story I have become engrossed in since childhood and I sometimes found myself identifying with Alice. She’s curious about her surroundings, questioning what is, and trying to make sense of everything. We’ve all done that and I did it a lot as a child, sometimes I still do. When I think about this, I can’t help being reminded of a quote from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:

There’s plenty of sense in nonsense sometimes if we wish to look for it.

This is Alice and us as a wider audience to a T.

We all want to make sense of Wonderland. Like I said above, we want to uncover it layer by layer until we find whatever it is that makes this story and film so popular and loved.

As a film, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is arguably the most popular adaptation to date, yet it wasn’t loved by any of its producers or animators. Walt Disney hated it and he blamed its initial box office failings on Alice’s “lack of heart.” Other reasons are that it didn’t capture the atmosphere of the original novel and possess the quintessential Disney touch. Nowadays it is a huge cult classic and considered to be some of Disney’s finest work.

What helps it to stand out is Mary Blair’s design and artwork. Her modern and colourful style is perfect for the whimsical and imaginative world that Carroll created. In fact, it is a match made in heaven.

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Image result for alice in wonderland animation

Its popularity today goes beyond the artwork, the nonsense characters, and the continuing success of the original novel. The Disney studios might not have liked it at the time, but I believe they’re the ones who have pushed it further into our own consciousness with its representation and presence in the Disney parks. Disneyland Paris, for example, has a huge part of Fantasyland dedicated to Alice in Wonderland!

Image result for alice in wonderland at DLP

There’s Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. Characters such as the Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter, Alice, and even the Queen of Hearts have regular meet and greets near the entrance to It’s A Small World. They’re also really fun characters to be around in the park, especially Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Their interactions with guests and other characters put a smile on your face and remind you of how special Disney magic can be. They’re also popular in the parades, the most notable being the Once Upon A Dream Parade where we had an entire float dedicated to the film.

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Whether Alice in Wonderland is one of our favourite films or not, we can’t deny its huge presence and popularity in society and popular culture.



So what do you think of Alice in Wonderland?

Have you tried to decipher its meaning? 
Do you agree with Walt Disney’s original thoughts about it being the weakest film?

Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!
xx

 

6 thoughts on “TTD – Alice in Wonderland

    1. I’ve not either but I’ve constantly seen reports and articles that Lewis Carroll was under the influence of drugs and that the wackiness of Wonderland was a direct response to that. It never seems to come down to just simple brilliance and a vivid imagination. I’m personally intrigued because I want to know the validity of the theories and eventually do some more research into Lewis Carroll and his writing of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

      That far side of Fantasyland is one of my favourite areas although I’ve never done the Teacups or the maze – next to inversion rollercoasters, spinning and getting lost in hedges is my idea of hell! I want to get back to DLP at some point because I miss it so much and despite its shortcomings, I love everything about it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. this version of alice in wonderland is probably my favorite disney movie! i don’t think it quite captures the nonsense of the book (which is my all time favorite book), but it’s still whimsical and lovely. i love alice in it and the art!

    i’ve never been of the belief that lewis carroll was on drugs when he wrote it, primarily because there’s no evidence to support that. i’ve been reading The Annotated Alice and it provides tremendous insight into carroll’s mind and life.

    i think one of the most fun things about alice is that it can be interpreted in millions of ways, or none at all! nonsense to the core in the best way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No matter how much Walt Disney wanted to capture and translate the nonsense and lyricism of the original text, he and the animators never would have managed it to a phenomenal extent. Something would have always been lost in translation and next to the characterisation of Alice, I think that’s why he never liked it that much.

      Also I agree with you on Carroll. I’ve never seen anything to suggest that’s the case, although I am curious to find out where those theories originated from – there has to be some source material somewhere and my inner historian is itching to find it.

      I firmly hold to the belief that it is a remarkable piece of imagination, designed to bring some life to the dreary nature of Victorian literature. Nonsense is certainly great and well-loved in this case!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve loved the cartoon for quite sometime, and I finally picked up the book last year and loved it even more than I thought possible.
    I don’t think about the meaning, I just get caught up in it💜
    I think it’s a perfectly fine novel, just written before it’s time. Me and my mom discussed this once. Yes, I do believe the Mr. Carroll could have been on drugs, but who *really* wants to actually think about that? I just want to believe it’s true, very vivid imagination😊

    I do believe the movie could have added some of the other characters in book, and things that happened but overall it’s still a wonder movie and a beautiful book for me💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think about its meaning either but sometimes I’ve seen articles and reports about whether there was some deeper reasoning behind Alice in Wonderland. Like you, I just think it’s the product of an amazing imagination and it’s certainly a world I got lost in countless times as a child.

      Like

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