My favorite of the Alice movies despite having some truly terrible musical numbers. I've never been a big fan of musicals save the Marx Brothers early films for Paramount. But that's because most of the musical numbers were as satirical as the rest of the film.
But this adaptation remains my favorite out of all the productions. Produced in England and starred a veritable who's who of British actors at the time. Most notably Peter Sellers as the March Hare. This would not be Sellers first time in a production of Alice. He had played the King of Hearts in a previous production for British Television directed by Jonathan Miller of Beyond the Fringe fame.
The film features Fiona Fullerton in the role of Alice. Ms. Fullerton was 15 when she took the role. Again, still not the age Lewis Carroll originally wrote the character to be. But still. Considering some of the actresses were over the age of 20 playing the part, Fullerton is probably the closest to the way Carroll wrote the character age wise. She would later gain notice as the Anastasia in Nicholas and Alexandria as well as cuddling up in a jacuzzi to an aged Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.
Michael Jayston, who would later star with Fullerton as Tsar Nicholas in the movie Nicholas and Alexandra appeared in the film as Lewis Carroll... or as he's referred to by his real name Charles Dodgson in the film.
Doctor Who fans would come to know Michael Jayston as the Valeyard. Whom the Doctor discovers is in fact an evil future interim regeneration of himself.
Although the costuming in the movie still has that school play look to them by today's standards. It's a very well done school play look. Unlike the previous 1933 Alice, the make up allows the actors they natual expressions. In the case of Peter Sellers, who loses himself in a role, you truly believe him to be the March Hare.
Being able to see the actors eyes and expressions makes their performances more believable for me. Well, as believable as a story like this CAN be.
As far as the last 30 or 40 years are concerned, this version is still the best adaptation of the story that has been produced. Sadly, it is only available copies of the film that are available are VHS versions copied to DVD and it has not been fully restored and remastered. Which is a shame. Especially given this year marks the movie's 40th Anniversary.
Despite that, I would highly recommend checking the movie out. There are some really great performances for a really great cast. And for the time, the costuming and set designs are pretty good!
Tomorrow we look at quite possibly the strangest adaptation of Alice from 1949.