Alice in Wonderland (1933)

William Cameron Menzies is only credited as a co-writer (with a certain Joseph L. Mankiewicz) on Paramount’s unforgettably odd 1933 adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland,” but as contemporary press accounts confirm, his contributions to the film, directed by Norman McLoed, went far beyond the script: the expressionistic production design, ingenious in-camera special effects and the thematic focus on a child’s horrified perception of a dangerous, demented adult world all reflect the strong personality that Menzies brought to bear on the projects he touched, in all his different capacities. Finally released in a respectable DVD version by Universal (for years, “Alice” has been one of the most bootlegged titles on Ebay, right up there with the still mysteriously unavailable “Island of Lost Souls”), the film makes a perfect companion piece to Menzies’ body-snatching bedtime story of 1952, “Invaders from Mars.” My New York Times review, complete with an approving quote from Alice herself, is here.

258 comments to Alice in Wonderland (1933)

  • jbryant

    I would love to see again Bille August’s TWIST AND SHOUT, a teen-centric 1984 Danish film that I recall as being pretty tough-minded stuff.

  • Jared Weigley

    In my previous comment, I twice mixed-up Jon Savage and Jon Powers. Brain fart. The book I refer to is by Savage.

  • Johan Andreasson

    Blake, the films in the Nils Malmros box you linked to only have subtitles in Danish.

  • Blake Lucas

    Don’t you mean they are in Danish with no subtitles, Johan?

    Tough news if that’s indeed the final word…

    For those who speak Danish, I highly recommend, and personally I do love listening to the language for its own sake, but these are movies where one needs to understand what is being said in order to be fully appreciated, although their purely cinematic qualiies are good on their own, especially so in TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.

    Johan, do you know Malmros? Anyone else here have a view of him or any of his films?

    I’m glad I took the opportunity to proselytize for him anyway. And will hold out hope for subbed versions down the line.

  • Johan Andreasson

    Blake, according to the info on the site you liked to the Malmros DVD:s have subtitles for the hearing-impaired in Danish.

    I haven’t seen any of his films, but your post made me curious. Spoken Danish is very hard for a Swede to understand, but written Danish is fairly easy, so I think I’ll give it a try.

  • Kent Jones

    I withdrew my comment (because I saw that the subtitle issue had been settled), but I do not withdraw my thanks to Blake for drawing attention to this film.

  • Scott Sentinella

    The ending to the 1933 Alice in Wonderland is the most bizarre of any of the film versions. It technically has the finale of Through the Looking Glass (the book) but is even more surreal.