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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
USA 1951

 

”Alice in Wonderland” was one of the Disney’s very first ideas for a feature length motion picture. He had acquired the rights for Lewis Carroll’s book in the early thirties and in 1933 he began preparing a feature length film, where live action would be combined with animation, which was to star Mary Pickford as Alice. But when Paramount the same year announced and released their version of the book, Disney dropped the project.

In 1936, David Hall made the Mickey Mouse short “Thru the mirror”, and Disney began considering the project again, but postponed it, as the studio at that time already had two films in production. While Disney in 1938 registered the film with the MPAA, it wasn’t until after the war, in 1945, Disney finally announced that the studio would make “Alice in Wonderland”, now with Ginger Rodgers as Alice. But after seeing “Song of the South” in 1946, Disney replaced Rodgers with his new child star Luana Patten, who played Ginny in “Song of the South”, and also decided to make it an all animation film. For various reasons, Disney later replaced Patten with first Margaret O’Brien, and finally in 1948 to have only 10-year old Kathryn Beaumont play the lead.

“Alice in Wonderland” was at that time Disney’s most expensive production, a budget of $3 million, and his most problematic production. Disney’s major problem was how to translate the books somewhat disconnected stories, its poems and its charm to the screen. An incredible amount of scenes were story boarded and over thirty songs were written. At one point, the project was so huge, that a joke at the studio suggested the final version would have a length of two weeks. Another problem, which Disney in his late years spoke about, was, that Alice, according to him, was a spoiled brat without a heart. Finally, Disney had originally decided to have the animations been drawn in the style of the original illustrations by John Tenniel, but after having seen tests, he decided to drop this idea, partly because it slowed the animation process down, partly because he feared, that the style wouldn’t be identifiable with a Disney film. As a result, the final film became a series of compromises and simplifications of a few key passages.

The film premiered July 26, 1951 and was butchered by the critics. The “New Yorker” was the harshest, calling it a dreadful mockery of a classic, violence against the style of Tenniel, and that Disney attempted to hide his failure to understand a literary masterpiece with a few shiny tunes more suitable for a flea circus. Even “Life Magazine”, normally Disney strongest supporter, gave it the thumbs down. But also the audience turned their backs to the film, and for the first time ever, Disney chose to shelf a film. It wasn’t seen again until 1954, this time in an edited version on TV, and where other Disney films were re-released every sixth or seventh year, “Alice in Wonderland” was not. It remained shelved.

However in 1968 Disney released the film in a 16mm version rental version. It was subsequently re-discovered by the psychedelic generation and became a huge success because of its surrealism and its connections to the drug culture. As a result, Disney withdrew the rental version, as the studio didn't appreciated the association. It was finally re-released in 1974, with a psychedelic poster even.

As a film, “Alice in Wonderland” is a Disney classic, but in no way amongst his major films, mainly because Disney attempted to squeeze a classic into a Disney template, where grotesque characters became stereotyped cute Disney figures, where complex passages became simplified by a cute little song, and because the production had so many problems, that the final result became incoherent and very episodic.

While children love it, adults and Disney fans should approach the film as a fantastic fiasco, as Disney’s most ambitious project and has his most flawed film.

 

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 26, 1951

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Comparison:

Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Bill McAlpine and Henrik Sylow for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Walt Disney Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Walt Disney Studios
Region 1 - NTSC
Walt Disney Studios
Region 2 - PAL
Walt Disney Studios
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:15:21 1:15:03 1:12.08 (4% PAL speedup) 1:15:16.178
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 43,904,112,612 bytes

Feature Size: 17,230,700,544 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.02 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection)

 

Bitrate:

 

Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Walt Disney Studios (Special)

 

Bitrate:

 

Walt Disney Studios Blu-ray

 

Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital English, 2.0 Dolby Digital Spanish (dub)

5.1 Dolby Digital English, French (dub), Spanish (dub) and 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono English

5.1 Dolby Digital English, Danish (dub) and Norwegian (dub)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3081 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3081 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps
Subtitles English Closed Captions English Closed Captions English, Danish, Norwegian, None English (SDH), French, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Alice in Wonderland DVD Storybook
• Trivia Game
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: July 5, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 27
 

Release Information:
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 1:
• Virtual Wonderland Party activities including riddles, silly song & dance, Teapot orchestra, Mad Hat
• 'Thru the Mirror' animated short with Mickey Mouse
• 'I'm Odd' never before heard song
• 2 Sing along songs
• Adventures in Wonderland set-top game
• Disc 2:
• 'One Hour in Wonderland' documentary (60 mins)
• 'An Alice Comedy: Alice's Wonderland' featurette (8 mins)
• 'Operation Wonderland' featurette (11 mins.)
• Excerpt from 'The Fred Warring Show' (30 mins.)
• Deleted Material Featurettes: 'From Wonderland to Never Land,' 'Song Demos,' Deleted Storyboard Conc
• Original Walt Disney TV introductions and trailers
• Art galleries
• Wonderland match card game set

 

DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 27

Release Information:
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Virtual Wonderland Party activities including riddles, silly song & dance, Teapot orchestra, Mad Hat
• 'Thru the Mirror' animated short with Mickey Mouse
• 'Operation Wonderland' featurette (11 mins.)
• 'I'm Odd' never before heard song
• 2 Sing along songs
• Deleted Material Featurettes: 'From Wonderland to Never Land,' 'Song Demos,' Deleted Storyboard Conc
• Still frame gallery

 

DVD Release Date: February 23, 2005
Amarey

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
New BD Features
•  Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland - View the movie in this special mode and discover references to the original Lewis Carroll classic - introduced by the voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont.
•  Disney View - Watch the movie in this expanded viewing experience with new Disney art in the wings of the screen
•  Painting the Roses Red game - Help paint the roses red in the Queen's garden. Careful, or someone could lose their head!
•  Walt Disney color TV introduction (1959) - A never-before-seen color TV intro by Walt
•  Reference Footage: Alice and the Doorknob - Kathryn Beaumont provides an introduction to this newly discovered reference footage of Alice talking to the doorknob
•  Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks - Kathryn Beaumont introduces a newly discovered pencil test of Alice shrinking
PLUS, Classic DVD Features:
•  Reflections on Alice
•  Operation Wonderland (now in hi-def)
•  "I'm Odd" newly discovered Cheshire Cat song and intro
•  Thru the Mirror Mickey Mouse animated short (now in hi-def)
•  One-hour in Wonderland
•  An Alice Comedy: Alice's Wonderland
•  Original theatrical trailers (1951 & 1974)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Standard Blu-ray Case w/slipcase

Chapters 27

 

Comments NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Disney Region FREE Blu-ray: January 2011: Quite a massive jump in color saturation and vibrancy in the new 1080P transfer of Disney's 51' classic Alice in Wonderland. As with the previously released Pinocchio, Snow White and Fantasia on Blu-ray we get the option of original 1.33 viewing OR having Disney art fill the black vertical bars at the sides of HD (1.78) TV frames with custom imagery. It seems with each digital release the image quality offers a brighter canvas showcasing far more brilliant colors and more visible detail.  The visuals are thick, rich and embody the original theatrical appearance that wowed audiences 60-years ago. Reds, blues and yellows are notable improvements, there are no unseemly jaggies - as well as a dramatic improvement - it looks flawless - almost as if it were brand new. In a word 'brilliant'.

We have an overly abundant DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3081 kbps that, while never tested for depth or adroit separations - has all the qualities fans would expect in a strong representation of the original. Anything more dynamic wouldn't have suited the film. Oliver Wallace' original score sounds wonderful. It's clean, sharp and crisp and there are optional subtitles on this Region FREE disc.

Supplements are rife from the Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland mode with the ability to view the movie with references to the original Lewis Carroll classic - introduced by the voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont to games (Painting the Roses Red) and Walt Disney color TV introduction plus the enclosed 'Classic' DVD with other extras. It is 'THE' package for this enduring animated 'Alice' - a must own for all generations.

Gary W. Tooze

***

On Region 1
Disney's 2-disc Masterpiece Edition DVD is a great improvement over their Gold Classic edition. The Gold Classic edition is far too dark and murky with much of the detailed backplate artwork completely obscured in darkness. Digital work has been performed on the Masterpiece Edition to remove dirt and scratches and to improve and smooth the colors with a slight loss of visible grain. The Masterpiece Edition shows more information on the top and right side and a sliver less on the left.

Most of the Gold Classic extras are included on the new edition in addition to an entire 2nd disc of extras. Easy choice - buy the Masterpiece edition!

Bill McAlpine


***

On Region 2
For some reason, Disney has chosen to release the film as a single DVD edition in Europe. Essentials missing from this DVD is:

- 'One Hour in Wonderland' documentary (60 mins)
- 'An Alice Comedy: Alice's Wonderland' featurette (8 mins)
- Excerpt from 'The Fred Warring Show' (30 mins)
- Original Walt Disney TV introductions and trailers

Also missing are the song demos, some artwork and some games. As a result of this, the R2 DVD additional 18 minutes of material pushed onto the DVD, reducing space for film, which also can be seen by the lower bitrate.

The image lacks the sharpness in details of the R1, being somewhat "un-focussed", which isn't that uncommon for NTSC to PAL transfers. But when zooming in to 300%, the R2 image also reveals heavy pixelations around certain objects (see around the hearts in image #7) and an uneveness in the colour scales, where as there is virtually none in the R1 image. Finally, the R2 image also has 3px less information left and right (0.84%) and 7px less information top (1.3%).

The sound is a 5.1 Dolby Digital “Disney Enhanced Home Theatre” mix. Opposite the mix in "Bambi", the mix isn't that impressive and feels wrong. Where the R1 has the original mono track, which is preferable, it is sadly missing from the R2 DVD.

Unless one has to have the film with a dubbed track, for the kids, simply ignore the R2 edition and go for the R1.

Henrik Sylow  

 



DVD Menus
(
Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

DisneyView

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

 

1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Walt Disney Studios (Gold Classic Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Walt Disney Studios (2-Disc Masterpiece Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Walt Disney Studios (Special) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Walt Disney Studios (60th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Walt Disney Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Walt Disney Studios
Region 1 - NTSC
Walt Disney Studios
Region 2 - PAL
Walt Disney Studios
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




 

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