Disney’s film Alice in Wonderland (1951) will kick off the Ransom Center’s Young Adventurers Film Series this Saturday at 3 p.m. Other films in the series include James and the Giant Peach (1996) on June 13, Coraline (2009) on June 20, and Where the Wild Things Are (2009) on June 27.
Drawing on Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, the film has become one of the most popular representations of the Alice stories.
Animator Walt Disney had been intrigued by Alice since the 1920s. His early films included an Alice series in which a live action actress called Alice finds herself in an animated wonderland. Disney wanted to make a feature-length film but found it difficult to bring Carroll’s word play to the screen in a coherent narrative.
After several attempts, the film finally was completed in 1951. Disney promoted the film as the next in a series about great literary heroines that he had brought to the screen, including Snow White and Cinderella. The movie, however, was not a great box office success. The New York Times offered this assessment:
What we are saying is simply that Mr. Disney has plunged into [Carroll’s] work… has snatched favorite characters from them, whipped them up as colorful cartoons, thrown them together willy-nilly with small regard for sequence of episodes, expanded and worked up new business, scattered a batch of songs throughout and brought it all forth in Technicolor as a whopping big Disney cartoon.
The screening is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome. Seating is first-come, first-served, and doors open at 2:30 p.m. Run time is 75 minutes, and the film is rated G.
This series is held in conjunction with the Ransom Center’s current exhibition Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, on view through July 6.
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