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Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (Broadway Theatre Archive)

16 customer reviews

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(Nov 20, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the elaborate Broadway revival of the 1932 Eva Le Gallienne/Florida Friebus production comes a whimsical retelling of the Lewis Carroll classic. In director Kirk Browning's enchanting adaptation, Alice's adventure in the land of fantasy is presented within a contemporary framework. An all-star ensemble cast--including Richard Burton and his daughter Kate--makes this a stellar version of a truly timeless tale and a great theatre treat for young and old alike.

This gorgeously designed theater production of Lewis Carroll's world-famous fantasy, based on a famous production from the 1930s, features an astonishing array of notable actors. Richard Burton is quietly touching as the doddering White Knight; Eve Arden spits out commands as the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts; Donald O'Connor plays the woeful Mock Turtle as a jaunty standup comedian; and such varied talents as Colleen Dewhurst, Nathan Lane, Maureen Stapleton, James Coco, Andre Gregory, and Geoffrey Holder fill out Carroll's phantasmagoria as Kate Burton (Richard's daughter) plays the title character in the classic blue-and-white dress and blond tresses. All the sets and costumes are meticulously based on the illustrations from the original books (the story line is a mix of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass), capturing artist John Tenniel's elaborate creations with zest. Though the story lacks dramatic action, the wordplay and visuals are delightful. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Performer theatre and film credits
  • Historical liner notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Eve Arden, Kaye Ballard, Kate Burton, Richard Burton, James Coco
  • Directors: Kirk Browning
  • Writers: Eva Le Gallienne, Florida Friebus, Lewis Carroll
  • Producers: Ann Blumenthal, Jac Venza, Susie Fassbinder
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QBZ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,756 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (Broadway Theatre Archive)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MaxFabian on May 26, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have studied Carroll, I have researched the 'Alice' stories, and I have even directed a successful production of the very same Eva LeGallienne script, and I was very excited to see this production available on DVD. I was hoping to see if a big budget could make sense of a theatrical script that doesn't really work. Please don't get me wrong...Ms. LeGallienne's script is by far the most true to the original stories. Ms. LeGallienne's script pulls out of the original stories only the most important characters and qualities, but the script itself still lacks the thread that creates one complete story, and unfortunately this production chops away even further by ommitting key transitional moments leaving only the major scenes.
Did I enjoy it? Absolutely! The design was gorgeous. The characters and the scenery seemed to have been lifted from the pages of Teniel's illustrations and brought to life. There were so many brilliant moments. Most notably the aloof and condescending Catepillar, the doughy-faced Dutchess, Stapleton's flighty White Queen, the academic snobbery of Humpty, and Lane's neurotic Mouse. I also have to add, I completely disagree with another reviewer's opinion of Arden's Queen of Hearts. I felt that her understated, and underplayed Queen was a brilliant choice. Remember, screaming does not an actor make. Her insincerity and aloofness is the perfect mirror image of Victorian royalty. And the insuated affair between the Knave and Queen of Hearts kept me laughing for hours! Bravo! I am also sorry to say that I was disappointed with Burton's Alice. She completely lacked the sensitivity and sensibilities of a 7 year old. She played Alice as an adult instead of Alice attempting to act as an adult.
Overall, I highly recommend this for anyone who loves 'Alice'. Despite the problems with the script, it is by far the most true adaptation of the stories, and one worth owning.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAME on March 3, 2006
Format: DVD
Fantastic television performance of the Eva LeGallienne adaptation of Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND, featuring the 1982 Broadway revival staging by director Kirk Browning. Richard Addinsell's lovely score highlights the production with fine performances all around, headed by Kate Burton who gives Alice a sassy, modern sensibility. LeGallienne's version (which premiered in 1933 and was first revived in 1947) throws the stories and characters of "Wonderland" and "Looking Glass" together, creating a veritable kaleidoscope of colour and whimsy.

The cast is truly impressive including - Colleen Dewhurst's manic and imposing Red Queen; the befuddled White Queen of Maureen Stapleton; Nathan Lane plays the waterlogged Mouse as a tango-dancing lothario; Kaye Ballard as the baby-beating Duchess; Geoffrey Holder as a sinuous, seductive Cheshire Cat; and Donald O'Connor as the soft-shoe Mock Turtle.

Perhaps most poignant is Richard Burton, playing the melancholy White Knight. His scene with real-life daughter Kate is very touching, and his performance of the White Knight's bittersweet "A-Sittin' on a Gate", one of the truly great songs in Addinsell's score, is a highpoint of the whole production. The actual story of Alice is bookended by a nervous young actress about to star in her very first leading role. The saga of Alice herself provides a nice counterpoint as Lewis Carroll's heroine also must face her fears if she can ever return home.

Truly a production to savour and a rare treat for all theatre and Lewis Carroll admirers.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hazen B Markoe on April 10, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Lewis Carroll's classic fantasy of wonder and weirdness, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, has long been a favorite subject of both playwrights and screenwriters to adapt. From the all star Paramount classic of the 30's with Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle to the wild colors of the Disney cartoon, this story has been very difficult for writers to get a solid handle on. Part of the reason is the mere episodic nature of the story, as Alice flits from one wacky character to the next. This version, based on a 1984 theatre revival, is only partly successful. The costumes and sets wonderfully recall the original illustrations of John Tenniel, and Kate Burton makes for a winsome and witty Alice. Unfortunately, some of the performances seem almost too laid-back for a show that should demand high energy. For example, Eve Arden's Queen of Hearts, instead of being overtly furious and bloodthirsty in her "Off with her head" tirades, comes across as merely slightly miffed!!! It also doesn't help that James Cocoa's King of Hearts has no personality whatsoever. Andre Gregory's Mad Hatter is likewise handicapped. However, there are some performances that do convey a better spirit of the story and inject life into this production. Geoffrey Holder makes for a regal and slightly sinister Cheshire Cat. A young Nathan Lane is a wonderfully skittish Mouse, while Fritz Weaver makes for a sage Caterpillar. Donald O'Conner soft-shoes his merry way as a light-footed Mock Turtle. Bookended with a back-story concerning an actress (Ms. Burton) getting ready for her first big production, this production is both literate and a treat for the eye. However, this production misses that vital spark of energy that keeps a merely good production from being a great one. However, if you love theatre, this one is worth your time.
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