Disney: Alice in Wonderland
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrariwise, what it is, it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?
Number 13 in the Disney Animated Canon
, this 1951
adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
was a long time coming. Walt Disney
was a lifelong fan of the book and wanted to make it a decade earlier, but another production of the story was being produced elsewhere at the time, prompting the studio to shelf it for a while. Then World War II happened and they lost a lot of their budget on war films. Some years of Development Hell
turned the film from into a more wacky, comedic cartoon in the same vein as The Emperor's New Groove
and a very odd entry in the Disney canon.
It inspired three attractions in the Disney Theme Parks
, most prominent being the famous spinning teacups ride, which each resort has a variation of. Disneyland also has a conventional dark ride based on the film, and Disneyland Paris has a Wonderland labyrinth. When Slave Labor Graphics had the licenses to produce different Disney comics, they published a sequel miniseries simply titled Wonderland
, in which the White Rabbit's unseen maid Mary Ann gets her Day in the Limelight
and has to save her boss when he is blamed for being responsible for the havoc Alice wrought on Wonderland.
If you're looking for the 2010 Tim Burton
film, also by Disney, visit here
This film contains examples of:
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: "SerPENT! SerPEEEEEEEENT!
- Adaptation Distillation
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Alice's hair color is never mentioned in the books, but her real-life namesake, Alice Liddell, was a brunette. Here, she's blonde. This follows the precedent set by Tenniel's illustrations from the books, which were based on a different model and not meant to look like the real-life Alice.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Adipose Rex: The Queen of Hearts.
- All Just a Dream
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The Cheshire Cat. Indeed, this adaptation seems to have led to later adaptations making the Cheshire Cat that brilliant mix of purple and pink.
- And Starring: The opening credits list "And Introducing Kathryn Beaumont," although she had already been in relatively small roles in other films.
- Art Shift: Wonderland has more abstract, boldly-colored backgrounds compared to the riverbank where Alice's sister read to her and Dinah.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Alice as she tests the size-altering portions of Caterpillar's Mushroom, and again when she defends herself in court.
- Also happens early in the movie after eating a cookie from the White Rabbit's house, and he and the Dodo think she's a monster.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The White Rabbit and Bill the lizard.
- Berserk Button:
- Never insult the Caterpillar for his size. EVER.
- Also, never mention cats around the Dormouse.
- Practically everything for the Queen of Hearts. And she enjoys it.
- Big "WHAT?!": The White Rabbit, when the Dodo suggests burning his house down when a grown Alice, thought to be a monster, is trapped inside.
- Butt Monkey: The White Rabbit, oh, so much. Alice (accidentally) demolishes his house, the Dodo demolishes all his furniture, and that's before the Mad Hatter gets hold of his poor, poor watch...
- Canon Foreigner: The Doorknob only exists here.
- Censorship by Spelling: A G-rated example. Alice spells out C-A-T in an attempt to stop the Dormouse from going berserk.
- Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. It looks like the size-changing mushrooms will get Alice away from the Queen, but taking both of them at once (since she couldn't remember which piece would make her grow) almost immediately returns her back to her normal size just in time for a frenzied chase.
- Closing Credits: The first picture in the Disney Animated Canon to include these (the only one until The Black Cauldron), a list of characters and their voice actors scrolls after the "The End" card.
- Comically Cross-Eyed: The completely insane Mad Hatter and the March Hare often take on a cross-eyed expression.
- Composite Character:
- The Queen of Hearts is a combination of the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, and the Red Queen. The line "All ways are my ways" is from the Red Queen and is The Artifact here, as it refers to her being a chess piece who can go in every direction. Also, Pat's role is given to the Dodo.
- The Dormouse has the Mouse's fear of cats.
- The Hatter's "unbirthday" schtick, which replaces the novel's explanation for the Tea Party, is actually taken from Humpty-Dumpty's dialogue.
- Conspicuously Light Patch
- Covers Always Lie: Perhaps not a total lie in a strict visual sense, but a lot of the posters and promotional material for the film would make the denizens of Wonderland out to be much friendlier than they actually are. In reality, most of the Wonderlanders end up quite rude, hostile or too deranged to be of any help, and Alice's journey is less an enchanting trip through a land of whimsy than it is an endurance test. One old poster goes far enough to show the Queen of Hearts herself smiling and sitting along with Alice at the tea party!
- Crowd Song: "The Caucus Race", "All in the Golden Afternoon", "Painting the Roses Red" and "The Unbirthday Song Reprise". Man, they love to sing!
- Cut Song: Loads. One of them, an "I Want" Ballad titled "Beyond the Laughing Sky", eventually received new lyrics and became "The Second Star to the Right".
- Darker and Edgier: This movie is clearly darker than the original book. Why? The cards that the Queen sentences to decapitation. In the book, the King pardons them. In this movie, though, they don't get any mercy like that.
- Dark Reprise: "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?"
- Deadpan Snarker: Alice.
Alice: That was a very sad story.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Eh, and there's a moral to it!
Alice: Oh, yes, a very good moral! If you happen to be an oyster.
- Detail-Hogging Cover: In this case, it's the opening credits. As they were still shots, they could show a lot more detail than the film. For instance, the Queen's Pimped-Out Dress has white edging on the overskirt, but the fabric isn't clear in the film◊, while in the credits it's shown trimmed◊ with white ermine.
- Disney Acid Sequence: The whole film, naturally.
- Don't Explain the Joke:
Doorknob: Quite alright, but you gave me quite a turn!
Alice: You see, I was falling—
Doorknob: [interrupts] Heh! Rather good, wot? Doorknob, turn?
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Alice fails to see how Tweedledee's and Tweedledum's story about the dangers of curiosity applies to her.
- Dumb Dodo Bird: The Dodo of course!
- DVD Commentary: The Masterpiece Edition DVD became Disney's first two-disc DVD, outside of the Walt Disney Treasures collection, not to include an audio commentary. This would eventually become rectified for the 60th Anniversary Blu-Ray, when historians of Disney animation and/or classic literature teamed up for a picture-in-picture commentary titled, "Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland."
- Everyone Chasing You: Happens to Alice right before she awakens in the real world.
- Face Palm: Alice has a particularly good one◊ in reaction to the reprise of the Unbirthday Song.
- Fanfare: The March of the Cards.
- Fan Disservice: When the Queen of Hearts falls down in her croquet game.
- Fantastic Racism: The flowers are very nice and accommodating to Alice until they discover she is not a flower. Then they become hostile, having decided that if she is not a flower, she must be a weed.
- False Friend: The Cheshire cat. He gives Alice horrible advice on who to ask for help, get her in trouble with the queen constantly, and causes a big chase scene at the end with everyone in Wonderland after Alice. Too bad Alice didn't realize this sooner about him..
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
- Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Walrus, the March Hare, and the Dormouse.
- Fungus Humongous: The Caterpillar's mushroom.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In the flower garden scene, one of the flowers pulls up Alice's skirt to look at her "stems".
- For another thing, when Alice mentions her cat's name to the March Hare, he intriguingly asks her who that is and... pants. Yeah.
- Go Among Mad People: Discussed in the opposite when Alice says that she doesn't "want to go among mad people!"
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of Hearts.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: In the courtroom:
King of Hearts: What do you know about this unfortunate affair?
March Hare: Nothing.
Queen of Hearts: NOTHING WHATEVER?!
March Hare: NOTHING WHATEVER!
Queen of Hearts: THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT!!!
- Hammerspace: The items in the small room Alice is in before the "pool of tears" appear out of nowhere.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Disney really loves using "gay" as "happy", and it pops up as "fancy-free and gay" in "The Caucus-Race".
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy:
- The Cheshire Cat not only has plantigrade feet, he has thumbs on his feet in one scene in the movie.
- Dinah has plantigrade feet to a lesser extent.
- Hurricane of Puns: "All In The Golden Afternoon".
- "I Am" Song: Does "I'm Late" count?
- Iconic Outfit: Alice's blue dress with the pinafore, white stockings, black Mary Janes, and "Alice band".
- Impact Silhouette: When the Walrus runs through the door of the seaside shack.
- Ink-Suit Actor:
- Kathryn Beaumont as Alice.
- Ed Wynn as The Mad Hatter.
- Jerry Colonna as the March Hare.
- Insistent Terminology: "Your way?! All ways here are my ways!"
- Jerkass: Several characters. A notable example being the Cheshire Cat.
- Jeweler's Eye Loupe: Played with when the Mad Hatter uses a salt shaker as a loupe to examine the White Rabbit's watch.
- Large Ham:
- Mind Screw: Aside from the obvious, there's the way Alice escapes from Wonderland; she wakes up by dreaming that her dream self is begging her real self to wake up.
- Mood Whiplash: "Very Good Advice", in which Alice sings about her personal flaws and breaks into tears, feels out-of-place to some people, especially since it comes in between the parts where Alice explores the Tulgey Wood and the Cheshire Cat tells her to visit the Queen of Hearts.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg:
Her Imperial Highness, Her Grace, Her Excellency, Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of Hearts! ...and the King. Voice: Hooray!
- Mythology Gag: The Cheshire cat sings the beginning of "The Jabberwock" poem ("'Twas Bril-lig/ And the sly-thy toves/ Did gyre and gim-ble in the wabe...").
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Alice uses the mushrooms during the trial so she could turn giant and give a speech about the reasons the Queen of Hearts sucks, but she shrinks while she says it. No one takes it seriously as a result.
- Off with His Head!: The Queen's favorite phrase is to literally call for people to get their heads cut off.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: After Alice eats a treat that says "Eat me", she starts growing again while searching for the White Rabbit's gloves and gets that reaction.
- Only Sane Man:
- Not just Alice, but also the White Rabbit at some points.
- Mother Oyster in "The Walrus and The Carpenter". She avoids death because of it.
- Opening Chorus
- Panty Shot: The Queen of Hearts' white, heart-printed, ankle-length bloomers are on display after the Cheshire Cat causes her to flip over and upside down, with a flamingo used as a croquet mallet or club to lift up her dress.
- Parachute Petticoat
- Parental Bonus: In "Painting the Roses Red," the Ace blames the Deuce, who blames the Trey. The queen echoes the Ace: "The deuce, you say?" The 1950 viewing audience would have recognized, "The deuce, you say!" as their older generation's slang term for "Bullshit!"
- Pimped-Out Dress: The dress worn by the Queen of Hearts, with the high collar, underskirt with the black and gold chevron design, and the overskirt with the ermine trim (although the animation limitations made it look like just a solid white trim in the film).
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Predating even the trope namer.
- Second Face Smoke: The Caterpillar does this to Alice.
- Sidekick Song: "The Unbirthday Song".
- Size Shifter: Alice, whenever she eats or drinks anything in Wonderland.
- Sneeze of Doom: "Well... There goes Bill."
Alice: Poor Bill.
- Somewhere Song: "In a World of My Own".
- Speech Impediment: The Mad Hatter's lisp, which was one of Ed Wynn's trademarks.
- Spelling Song: "AEIOU", more or less.
- Suddenly Shouting: As Alice complains to the Caterpillar about three inches being a bad height for her, this happens:
Caterpillar: I am exact-tically three inches high, and it is a very good height INDEED!
Alice: But I'm not used to it! And you needn't... SHOUT!
- Synchronized Swarming: While Alice is traveling through the Tulgey Wood she meets a group of mome raths, who form themselves into the shape of an arrow to lead her to a path.
- Those Two Guys: Several pairs show up: Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Mad Hatter and the March Hare.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Three of the characters get red with anger, two of them twice:
- A furious carpenter turns red when he comes back to find the oysters had been devoured by the walrus and he chases after him with his hammer.
- The caterpillar turns red twice. Once when Alice inadvertently offends him about his height and he hurriedly puffs away on his hookah before the smoke engulfs him and he turns into a butterfly; the other time after having become a butterfly and Alice bugs him with a question concerning directions.
- The irascible Queen of Hearts gets red-faced twice. Once after having been turned upside down during the croquet game with a flamingo-for-a-mallet (thanks to the Cheshire Cat) and automatically presuming that Alice was responsible for the act, and accusing her of it; the other time when she shouts for silence at the trial.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The King and Queen of Hearts.
- Too Dumb to Live: No prizes for guessing what the oysters not taking their mother's advice about staying in the sea to heart led to.
- Trivially Obvious: A couple of examples.
Mad Hatter: Something seems to be troubling you! Why don't you tell us all about it?
March Hare: Start from the beginning!
Mad Hatter: Yes, and when you get to the end ha ha ha...stop. See?
- True Blue Femininity: Alice's dress, to match the original book's art.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight/Comically Missing the Point: Alice sees a rabbit in a waistcoat, holding a giant pocket watch, running around and singing. What does she find odd about all this?
Alice: How very curious. What could a rabbit possibly be late for?
- Viewers Are Geniuses: The film doesn't explicitly state that the White Rabbit and the Bird in the Tree are nearsighted. The audience is expected to know just from their wearing glasses.
- Villain Song: "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?"
- Visual Pun: Several. Bread-and-butterflies, horsefly, and so on...
- World of Ham: Wonderland is quite loud and dramatic, but Queen of Hearts and the March Hare stand out as the hammiest.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Queen of Hearts is perfectly willing to have a little girl beheaded.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: When Alice meets the mome raths, they help her find a path out of Wonderland. Unfortunately, as she runs down it and cheers that she will finally return home, a dog with broom bristles on its head and tail appears and sweeps the path away. It's hard not to share Alice's frustration afterward.