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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All in the golden afternoon...
This remarkable film almost defies description; it's so completely unlike any other film or any other adaptation of Carroll's book. Watching it is like gazing through a crystal ball at someone's confused, faded, half-dreamed memories of childhood in another life and another age, when summers were long and lazy and hot and the world was severe and confusing. Little of...
Published on 16 Mar. 2004 by Amazon Customer

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles for deaf = NO!!!!!!!!!
The DVD arrived today, very fast delivery and packaging. The DVD quality looks good and clear. Unfortunately the DVD does not have subtitles for hard of hearing/deaf, a negative that is not obvious/mentioned in the description, this is not unusual with DVD's from Amazon and is greatly annoying!!!!!!!!!. However, I shall keep the DVD, though I cannot follow the storyline,...
Published on 4 April 2012 by Lizlass


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All in the golden afternoon..., 16 Mar. 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
This remarkable film almost defies description; it's so completely unlike any other film or any other adaptation of Carroll's book. Watching it is like gazing through a crystal ball at someone's confused, faded, half-dreamed memories of childhood in another life and another age, when summers were long and lazy and hot and the world was severe and confusing. Little of Carroll's text is preserved intact; his ingenious wordplay is mainly given second place to atmosphere, so for all its wonderful qualities this can't really be considered the definitive adaptation - perhaps such a thing is impossible - but it does capture aspects of the original that no other version comes close to. Director Jonathan Miller gives a fascinating, entertaining commentary and you can't help but wonder what we would have had if the BBC hadn't insisted on trimming thirty minutes out of it before transmission... though we shouldn't complain too much about that; today, such a fascinating and individual piece of work would probably never get commissioned in the first place, by the BBC or anyone else.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, beautiful, surreal, 25 May 2010
This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
I could watch this film over and over again. Every time I see it I always manage to see things I never noticed before. Extremely underrated, this very British film version of Alice in Wonderland is probably the best adaptation made. It was created by Jonathan Miller for the BBC in 1966, a time when the Beatles were gearing up for Sgt. Pepper. Despite this the film has a timeless quality and could've been made at any time, and the crisp black and white cinematography (to deliberately resemble Victorian photographs) emphasises this.

The film noticeably breaks away from the cinematic conventions of previous Alice adaptations in a way that makes it refreshingly free of cliche. For example Alice's descent down the rabbit-hole is not done with her suspended from wires in front of a green-screen -- here she runs through the corridors of an abandoned hospital, white curtains billowing in the wind. The actors are depicted without animal masks, dressed instead in Victorian period costume to reflect the time the book was written in. There are next to no special effects in the film and the illusion of Alice shrinking and growing is done simply through changing the furniture size and the use of extreme wide-angle lenses that stretch and distort her. The sets are cluttered with Victorian bric-a-brac, lending a very Gothic overtone to the whole film. This could be accused as being the "arthouse" Alice and in a way it is, but merely because it is so original.

Then there's the stellar cast assembled from a variety of British stars from John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle to Peter Cook as the Hatter. Many have voiced their dislike of this particular Alice, played by Anne-Marie Malik, thinking she stares mutely at the camera too much and that she is too ugly. However I think she makes a super Alice, a departure from the usual chirpy and overly-cheery depictions of the character. With dark, wild, tangled hair and a melancholy expression she seems to have stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. The dialogue is taken straight from the book and, thankfully, there is no Tweedledum and Tweedledee in a film called "Alice in Wonderland". The music is by Ravi Shankar who incidentally would end up working with the Beatles on "Within You Without You", and his use of sitars reflects the drone of insects on a summer day.

This is the last thing I will comment on: the film has a beautifully surreal atmosphere like that of a long, hot day at the height of summer. The montage of the Queen's croquet-game is a series of semi-tableaux-vivants that perfectly captures the feeling of time stretching out as it does on such days. The effect is one perfectly suited to Lewis Carroll: the book, after all, depicts the dream of a young girl who is sitting by her sister on the bank and having nothing to do, on a day so hot it made her feel very sleepy and stupid.

If you liked this adaptation I also recommend Jan Svankmajer's 1988 version and the 1998 adaptation of Through the Looking-Glass with Kate Beckinsale, a low-budget production that nevertheless is very strange and dreamlike.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Father's ALICE IN WONDERLAND..., 9 April 2010
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
...could easily have described this version when it first appeared in 1966 and it can still be used to describe it over 40 years later. There's no two ways about it, people either love or hate this adaptation by Jonathan Miller and it's easy to see why it generates this kind of reaction. The film is a TV movie shot in black and white, not light and shadow b&w but basic monochrome b&w like an old photograph or an early silent film. None of the actors wear any kind of traditional ALICE make-up or costumes although they wear Victorian clothes from Lewis Carroll's time. The character of Alice goes through the film in a dreamlike state rarely interacting with the others which renders it very impersonal for some which is generally why they don't like it. Its take on ALICE is so quintessentially British that it wasn't seen outside of England for many years. It is only now being given a wider release (it first appeared on DVD in 2003) to cash in on the new Tim Burton movie (just like other versions of ALICE now being reissued).

As an out and out Anglophile and a child of the 1960s, I thoroughly enjoyed this ALICE. It has a dream cast of actors from Peter Cook to Michael Redgrave to Peter Sellers with horror fan fave Michael Gough thrown in for good measure and you haven't lived until you see Leo McKern in drag playing the Duchess. The Indian soundtrack by Ravi Shankar helps to give it an otherworldly feel while rooting it firmly in the time in which it was made. Director Jonathan Miller gives an insightful commentary on his approach to the material which helps immensely after you have seen it but won't necessarily persuade you if really don't like the film. Not as bizarre as Jan Svankmajer's ALICE and miles away from the Disney animated version, it should appeal to Alice fans who are looking for something different or as an opportunity to see a once in a lifetime assembly of top British talent delivering Carroll's prose as only they can. The DVD also comes with Cecil Hepworth's 1903 version as an added bonus which, as a silent film specialist, is why I bought the disk in the first place.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Life, what is it but a dream?", 1 April 2008
By 
Steampunk "JS" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
This is certainly one of the weirder takes on the Alice story.

Don't expect to see any actors in tacky animal outfits or jazzy settings of the songs.

Instead... well, imagine a young girl in the late 1800's who has just read ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Then she falls asleep. This film could be her dream. Instead of caterpillars and griffins, you get the various crusty academics, ecclesiastics, maids and governesses who inhabit her waking life.
(Played, incidentally, by a superb cast).

AS a lifelong fan of Lewis Carroll, part of me feels that I should passionately hate this interpretation - but oddly, I think it's my favourite of all the screen versions.

Everything is disjointed and dreamlike. In most of the scenes, Alice is facing or staring away from what's happening. This sullen, wild-haired girl goes through the story in what looks like a state of total disinterest. When she speaks, it's in a sulky flat-toned voice.

If you're a fan of the Alice story, I don't think you'll feel neutral about this film. You may hate it, or you may love it (perhaps, like me, you may love it without quite knowing why!)

In any case, it's something you should really see at least once.

Personally, I rented it, thought about it for a few days, then decided that I had to have my own copy

"Life, what is it but a dream?" This version of ALICE captures that feeling more than any other I've yet seen. I think, ultimately, that's why it works for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High on Empire, 14 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Strange, haunting, surreal, satirical and unsettling - had the BBC not lopped off thirty minutes from Jonathan Miller's film of Alice In Wonderland (1966) then I think we would be looking at a masterpiece. As it stands, it is still a unique piece of work and it is hard to see how it could be bettered (unless, that is, those aforementioned thirty minutes can be found and restored). It is one of those projects where the right director, the right subject and the right cast seem to have come together at the right time. You cannot really repeat something like that.

This version has a magic, a melancholy and a depth to it which is somehow best captured in Sir John Gielgud's film-stealing turn as the Mock Turtle.

There are a few points of detail about Miller's Alice that I would like to clarify:

In his "Director's Commentary" (which is well worth listening to), Sir Jonathan confirms that Ravi Shankar's sitar music was used on the soundtrack in order to suggest the presence of India - specifically the Raj - in the English psyche of the Victorian period. The music is not there because it is "a sixties thing". In alliance with one or two of the visuals, you can see that the effect of it is to suggest a nation "high" on Empire.

One of the strengths of this production is that instead of using studio sets, Miller used, where possible, the interiors and exteriors of English buildings of the Victorian period (and their gardens) which were then still extant. This adds enormously to the atmosphere of the piece.

He also chose to shoot it in black and white, and in naturalistic light, in order to capture the look and feel of Lewis Carroll's own photographs. Carroll - for those of you who might not know - was, amongst other things, a pioneering Victorian photographer, as well as the author of the Alice books.

I would also say that Miller was extremely fortunate in his choice of cameraman, Dick Bush. Many of the scenes are not only beautifully composed, but also beautifully and deeply shot.

Other than anything I might already have mentioned, my only real disappointment was that "Pig And Pepper" - my favourite chapter from the book - was not especially well realised in this adaptation (although Leo McKern is perfectly cast as the Duchess). Perhaps this particular scene suffered from the aforementioned cuts.

The BFI print is lovely to look at.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Alice, 8 Mar. 2004
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This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
For Alice aficionados Miller’s 1966 film really is the best version there is. It blurs the boundaries of reality (Lewis Carroll’s world of Oxford University dons) and fantasy in a way that no other version could hope to match. Although this film is not really considered a ‘children’s’ film I would definitely recommend that children watch this version rather than the artificially sweetened Disney version. Don't be fooled by technicolor singalongs, what children and adults alike really want is originality, magic, and absurdity. Millers vision has it all. It's altogether darker, funnier, and truer to the original book.
This is the sort of classic that rarely appears on DVD/home video – get it while you can!
If you’re interested in an alternative and challenging vision of Carroll’s classic, see also Jan Svankmajer’s animated ‘Alice’, for superb surreality and a more gothic flavour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Reflections, 21 Feb. 2014
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
No Caterpillar or Tweedle dee but if you want a quintessential English film from the 1960's which captures the essence of the era then this is it. A cross between slightly sinister and as weird as filming can get without special "effects" this takes it all back to the Breton, Bunuel end of the surrealistic cannon as here it strikes a match within the UK.

Less about the growing pains of a young girl and more a take on the special characters dotting the UK landscape. Each is wrapped within their everyday madness. So the bows are stretched by the use of a sitar to explore the full impact of a culture turned in on itself to produce gallons of eccentricity and everyday starched uprightness. Bowed so far it stretches into its ironing board stiffness and then into complete parody.

Shot in black and white after assembling a cast of the greats who defined the era in one respect, Gielgud, Sellers, Bramble, Peter Cook and onwards and upwards this is a treat the photography has its eye firmly on "L'amour fou," and a good thing it is too as is shows Britain embracing itself within a mirror.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The curiouser the better, 2 Oct. 2010
By 
T. A. Wright "Tim Wright" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
If I could only keep three DVDs, this would be one of them. It's in black and white but the tones are so beautiful the screen appears to be bursting with colour. Superbly directed and realised, this is a masterpiece. My recommendation? Don't hesitate, place your order now. This psychedelic treasure from the 60s is timeless and spellbinding. It's the (Cheshire) cat's whiskers.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRIPPY ALICE IN WONDERLAND - 60's version!, 7 July 2003
By 
Jn Johansson "arrow-arm" (Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
At last this CLASSIC BBC TV-film from 1966 is available to a wider audience. SUPERBLY Directed by Jonathan Miller, giving it a "Pre-'67 Psych" feel, when looking on it now, and with an armada of SUBLIME Brit actors, i.e. Sir John Gielgud, Leo McKern, Peter Sellers etc etc AND Peter Cook as the Mad Hatter is nothing short of BRILLIANT! + Anne-Marie Mallik is superb as Alice. Jonathan M. version captures the dreamlike feel of Lewis Carroll's fantasy, with his MAGIC WAND, which makes it a movie experience, extraordinare. Ravi Shankar's(!) specially composed music is highly original and fits perfectly! INVEST!!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 years on, still modern, 12 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
The comment I want to make is on just how modern this version of Alice in Wonderland appears some 40 years later. Perhaps it's the timeless effect of the black and white, but it's quite easy to imagine this being made today, using guest stars like Vic Reeves and David Walliams in place of stars Peter Cooke and Leo McKern.
The drug fuelled aspect is alluded to often - Alice looks 'out of it' more than once, clearly by design, and the sense of being inside an LSD trip is conveyed subtly but clearly. Again, this allows the play to retain a modernity - if Miller (or Carroll) had shown any actual use of drugs, this work would have been censored and probably banned - but by using Carroll's device of bottles and cakes marked 'eat me' and 'drink me' he pretty much gets away with making you feel like you just spent an endless summer day tripped out at woodstock without risking any censorship.
Quite an experience.
Very connected to the psychedelic movement that was as it's height then too - I half expected John Lennon to appear, but sadly he didn't. Beatles fans will recognise the warped victoriana throughout the play.
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Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD]
Alice In Wonderland [1966] [DVD] by Jonathan Miller (DVD - 2003)
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