Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Reviews

Page 1 of 5
½ October 16, 2016
A musical adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" that would be better without the music. The songs by John Barry are not bad songs, but the movie already suffers from sluggish pacing, so stopping the story for songs that don't advance the plot is brutal. The fine cast, including Ralph Richardson, Peter Bull, Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore, rightfully leads you to expect more than what you get. All existing prints of this seem to be TV prints that brutally mangle the film's Cinemascope images.
½ July 19, 2015
The wonderful and familiar Victorian classic Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, was first published in 1865. Written by author, Lewis Carroll (real name - Charles Dodgson), this ethereal fantasy-adventure story has been adapted to both the stage and screen countless times. There's the familiar, miserably underrated Walt Disney animated classic in 1951, whilst there is an endless number of live-action adaptations that have largely failed to capture the true spirit and flavour of Lewis Carroll's vivid vision of Wonderland.

This 1972 adaptation is, refreshingly, something of an exception and stands out as the best live-action version of the book. Director William Sterling shrewdly evokes the dark and often frightening vision of Wonderland as dreamed up by Lewis Carroll. Fiona Fullerton heads the cast making a pleasant Alice. What Fullerton succeeds in doing is actually taking you with her on a magical journey, allowing you to view the bizarre adventures through her eyes, conjuring a feeling of being drawn into a child's dream that steadily escalates into a nightmare.

Fiona Fullerton is most certainly given admirable support from a stellar cast, featuring some of the best British thespians of the era. The multi-talented Michael Crawford assumes the role of the jittery White Rabbit. Crawford plays the part with a certain flair, relying mostly (and appropriately) on his inimitable comic skills. Robert Helpmann (who is more well known for his famous role as the evil child catcher in another excellent classic children's movie, Chitty,Chitty, Bang, Bang) shines as the notorious Mad Hatter during the manic Mad Hatter's tea party sequence. Helpmann's comic facial expressions and spirited playing makes the sequence work extremely well. He shares the spotlight in this madcap scene with Peter Sellers whom gives a fine supporting turn as the March Hare, whilst Dudley Moore causes some amusement as the poor, put-upon Dormouse.

Ralph Richardson delivers a fairly fine performance as the Caterpillar in a very vivid scene, whilst Davy Kaye as the Mouse during the dreamy Caucus Race Sequence, plays the role with a degree of subtlelty. Much more effective, though, is Flora Robson, putting in a fantastic interpretation of the ferocious Queen Of Hearts and is both comical and scary in the role. Michael Jayston appears in the opening scene as Dodgson and Duckworth (Hywel Bennett) sit on a river bank one hot summer's afternoon. It is here where Dodgson begins telling Alice the story of Alice's adventures underground.

The nightmarish Duchess and Cook sequence is ignited by a fittingly off-beat performance from Peter Bull as the Duchess, while Patsy Rolands, as the demented, pepper-loving, plate-throwing Cook, takes this role to fabulous new heights! The sullen, ever-crying Gryphon is played marvellously by Spike Milligan, while Michael Hordern is equally excellent as the Mock Turtle. This fun sequence where Alice, the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle are seen running and dancing their way round a deserted beach, is speeded up at points to add to its comical and magical effect. The scene is also accompanied by one of the very few effective songs of the saccharine soundtrack, 'Will You, Won't You Join The Dance?'

Roy Kinnear is the permanently grinning and somewhat snide Cheshire Cat, and other notable players in the more than capable cast include Dennis Price in a small but adequate role as the King Of Hearts, Rodney Bewes as the bumbling Knave Of Hearts, Julian Chagrin as Bill The Lizard (seen during the scene where Alice has grown large and is stuck in the White Rabbit's house; Bill the Lizard attempts to slide down the chimney into the house but Alice then swiftly kicks him back up again), Freddie Earle as Guinea Pig Pat (also seen during the White Rabbit's house scene), Ray Brooks as 1 of Spades, Dennis Waterman as 2 of spades and, of course, not forgetting twin brothers Frank and Freddie Cox who make the definitive Tweedledee and Tweedledum (characters that were taken from a segment in Lewis Carroll's sequel Through The Looking Glass And What Alice Found There; most stage and screen versions often tend to draw large segments from both Alice books).

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1972) encapsulates a dreamy, very hazy-like effect that enhances the atmosphere, intentionally giving the film an often dark, creepy edge. It strikes an even balance between moments of fun, magical comedy to more frightening settings.

Most of the film is engaging and totally enchanting.For instance, the surreal sequence at the beginning of the adventure is one of the scenes that really stands out in my mind as it is done to bewitching effect. Alice wakes up in a giant story book
garden and spots the White Rabbit gazing at his waist watch. Alice proceeds to follow the White Rabbit into a long, dark tunnel. Keeping up with the whole familiar ethos of Alice In Wonderland's most famous catchphrase, 'Curiouser And Curiouser', Alice continues following the White Rabbit unaware of the danger lying in front of her and then finds herself tumbling down a large rabbit hole, landing in the whimsical, topsy-turvy world of Wonderland. The score, courtesy of John Barry, is masterful and hauntingly
atmospheric during this sequence.

The Pool Of Tears sequence also works incredibly well, where, after plummeting down the rabbit hole, Alice finds herself in a large hall full of doors. A small door, to her delight, leads into a beautiful garden. It is here where she discovers potions and cakes that alternately make her shrink or grow large. At one point, Alice grows large and begins crying which subsequently leads to her shrinking and swimming in her own pool of tears. Alice is washed ashore from the pool of tears and finds herself indulging in the Caucus Race with a mouse, dodo, owl, magpie, frog, duck and an eagle in a vastly surreal sequence! I've heard (as I'm sure you all have) various myths that Lewis Carroll was high on LSD at the time of writing the book. I have no idea whether this is true or not but you certainly can see peoples perceptions of this when you watch all these odd goings on in Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. I put it all down to a bizarre but great imagination on Lewis Carroll's part and this film merely reflects that. Even so there's something that distinctly gives me the creeps when watching scenes such as The Pool Of Tears and the Caucus Race.

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1972) is even more disturbingly surreal later on in the film such as the scene in the forest where a torrential storm occurs and a a giant black crow emerges from the gloomy sky ready to attack Alice. The Duchess and Cook sequence also used to really give me the creeps when I first watched this at 4 years old back in 1983. There was just something eerie and nightmarish about the whole scene but again this ties in closely with the book. The Trial of the Knave Of Hearts is where it gets most off-the-wall and at the close of this scene there are lots of swirling, hallucegenic close-ups of the characters. Alice, of course, then wakes up on the riverbank as it was all just a dream.

What compliments the mesmerising, hypnotic vibe of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland is a bewitching, hauntingly atmospheric score by BAFTA-winning, John Barry. The film also boasts magnificent cinematography from Geoffrey Unsworth which sticks closely to the original illustrations of the book. Some of the cardboard-like sets look far more suited for a stage production but many are eye catchingly beautiful and sumptuous.

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1972) is an extremely faithful and enchanting adaptation that's most noble in its loyalty to the book. In that fact it deserved far greater recognition than it has received. Widely regarded as the best live-action screen version by lovers of the book, it was still unfairly slated by critics of the day where some claimed it was too long, tedious and boring. To a point I can see where they're coming from so you really have to be in the right mood to take this film on. On the right day it proves a thrilling, almost hypnotic viewing experience.

In an attempt to ignite the films fortunes, Fiona Fullerton was being promoted as the new Julie Andrews, but this did little to help the films fate. Making matters worse was Peter Sellers who blatantly criticised the film to the media before it had even opened at cinemas! Sadly, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland did not endure the high Box Office turn over as anticipated.

It's true that Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1972) is too slow and bland at points but on casting its shortcomings (which you can over-look) aside, it's most definitely worth a look. Fans of Alice In Wonderland that have not yet had the delight of watching this charming, atmospheric version, will be thoroughly enthralled.
½ July 20, 2013
Truthfully, I dozed off for the middle 50 minutes but didn't feel I really missed anything judging by the final minutes. A shame with such a promising cast.
July 13, 2013
Dreary musical adaptation with a drab Alice, annoying songs, and creepy character costumes.
May 7, 2013
watch now.................. :-) ;-) :-P :-* B-) :-$ O:-)
½ December 8, 2012
I loved the rabbit house scene, I thought it was very funny. But the rest of the film... no. The acting was acceptable, but the music, style and quality of the film generally made it look as if it was made in the early 1940s.
It's curious how awful a film can get!
December 7, 2012
Could be worth a viewing, would like to see it sometime in the future.
½ November 21, 2012
love it, Michael Crawford played a great white rabbit and Peter Sellers and Robert Helpmann was great, Robert Helpmann also played the child catcher in the chitty chitty bang bang, it was a great film, I loved it, I own it on DVD
October 14, 2012
This might just be the worst version of this story ever. I'm not a big Alice fan to begin with but when they would break into song, I wanted to scream.
½ September 24, 2012
Horrible, Just Horrible! Lewis Carols on Acid...
January 19, 2012
Despite my somewhat hatred for the Alice In Wonderland moves (not much plot, too many characters, doesnt make sense), I have to admit that I really enjoyed this version. Fiona Fullerton does a very good job as Alice, and the cast adds to the chickanery rather than distracts from it. The music is very good too. One of the better Alice adaptations.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2011
One of the most faithful adaptations but the magic is missing from this British production - after watching several of these cinematic journeys to Wonderland, I now wonder if it is even possible to do justice to this classic. Interesting sets and plenty of people in animal costumes, but the staging is sterile and Fiona Fullerton doesn't seem quite right as Alice.
½ September 13, 2011
A quirky, and fun film based on the classic story that gives us an entirely different adventure than the Disney cartoon.
June 10, 2011
The whole movie was rather uninteresting to watch, the songs were boring, but I will say that the costumes were very fun to see. I just wish that the sets were a bit bigger to fit the proportions of the animal characters. To be honest I just had to randomly fast forward through parts of the movie because it dragged on way to long. I do not have anyone that I would recommend this movie too, well actually this is something that I would recommend this to a few people at art school, this is something that they would enjoy.
½ April 17, 2011
The costumes would have been better for stage.
½ April 14, 2011
This is the most accurate version of the first book except having the Tweedles in the movie, but they were still funny.
February 5, 2011
Whoa.... This has to be one of the most drug-trippy, strange, make-you-feel-weird movies I've seen in a very long time (and I have seen a fair share of movies like that). I was up until 5:00am last night watching it because it was so fascinating I just couldn't turn it off. It's just... It was just... so WEIRD! I think one of the main things that kept me hooked was John Barry's score for the film. As always, he delivered a very enchanting score. Probably if it hadn't been for that/him, I would have stopped watching.

I really should give this like 1 or 2 stars... but I've just got to give it 3, for some reason.... I just have to.... Because..... it was so WEIRD!
January 6, 2011
Classic, love it, really good songs
½ January 6, 2011
So for a version of Alice in Wonderland with Michael Crawford in it you would think there would be more singing. The songs pretty much were horrible but at least they were short, and I do mean about one line of someone singing and it was over. Crawford plays the White Rabbit. It does include a lot of things from the book while still changing little things along the way. It wasn't too bad, at least since the songs were stupid they were short.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2010
Another all star flop production of Alice in Wonderland. I don't know why filmmakers continue to make live action movies of the story.
Page 1 of 5