Friday, February 18, 2011

A Very Merry Un-Anniversary to Alice!

Today I'd like to wish a very merry un-anniversary to Disney's Alice! To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of Alice in Wonderland, Disney has released the film on Blu-Ray this month. Disney's Alice was orignally released on July 28, 1951, so that's why I called this post an un-anniversary, because the actual date is in July.

Lewis Carroll's stories don't easily lend themselves to the cinematic treatment, but I think Disney took the best of both stories and combined them in a way that was faithful to the original works and celebrated the wit and silliness of the characters and wonderland, as well as Alice's plucky personality, yet made it more approachable for a wider audience. Not only that, it was some of the most stunning animation that Disney has ever produced, under the art direction of Mary Blair. What's odd is that Alice was probably one of the most negatively reviewed and criticized films in the Disney cannon, especially during its original release. Most of the criticism came from Lewis Caroll devotees, literary purists, and British critics who accused Disney of "Americanizing" the story.

To celebrate this un-anniversary, I thought I'd provide some fun diversions for you, on this lazy Friday afternoon. Below is a list of links, with more information about the film, as well as a list of the Blu-Ray special features, and even a link to some crafts and coloring pages for your kids (or for you, if you're a big kid). Cheers!

An overview and fun facts about the film can be found at the Disney Archives site here.

Click here to watch a "making of" video discussing the creation of the Alice soundtrack.

You can find games, downloadable coloring pages and crafts on Disney's site here. (Disney's site really is massive and has a ton of free stuff, if you're ever looking for a new desktop wallpaper, or something for you and your kids to do on a rainy afternoon.)

Click here to see preview clips of the Blu-Ray version of the film. Below is a list of the special features included on the Blu-Ray.
• Blu-Ray Features:

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

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