Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All About Alice. . .

I'm still not sure whether I'll go and see Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland - I'm gettting rather tired of movies that rely too heavily on computers for their special effects, though I'm sure it'll be visually stunning. However, the New York Times has this review of a 1933 version, that has just come out on DVD and I'll definitely be checking it out. Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle. Gary Cooper as the White Knight. W.C. Fields as Humpty-Dumpty. The imperiously delicious Edna May Oliver as the Red Queen. And the delightful Edward Everett Horton (you'll know him if you're a fan of Astaire/Rogers films) as the Mad Hatter! Can it get any better than this? The Times notes that, "seen today, it’s still a profoundly creepy experience. This Wonderland is not the proto-psychedelic playground of the 1951 Disney animated version, but a distorted, claustrophobic environment populated by menacing, bizarre figures."

Of course this is a great time to re-read Lewis Carroll's classic book. And on my reading pile is a new novel, Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin, a fictionalized account of the girl who inspired it all - Alice Liddell Hargreaves. I can also recommend Stephanie Bolster's White Stone: The Alice Poems which I read many years ago when it was first published. It won the 1998 Governor General's Award for Poetry and explores the life of Alice, both the real girl and the literary legend. Like the kids who inspired Christopher Robin or Peter Pan - it's a tough and haunting legacy to live with.

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