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Alice in Cartoonland - 35mm Collection
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Walt Disney produced 57 "Alice" cartoons between 1923 and 1927. The series owed its success to both its clever special effects cartoon characters interacting with a live young girl cleverly superimposed within the frame and its breezy humor. The cartoons on this DVD have remarkable clarity because they were transferred directly from 35mm nitrate negatives. Bonus Features: Scene Selection| Trailers| Bios| "Alice in Hollywood" by JB Kaufman, co-author, with Russell Merritt, of "Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney"| Three cartoons from the seldom seen "Life Cartoon Comedy" series, re-titled "Krazy Kid Cartoons" for their 1930 sound reissue.| Synopsis of each of the cartoons on the DVD with a click to play feature. Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital; 92 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA NR; Year - 1925, 1927; SRP - $19.99.
- "Alice in Hollywoodland" essay by JB Kaufman and Russell Merritt
- Synopsis of each cartoon
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1) (1926) Alice's Orphan - also on the Inkwell DVD release.
2) (1925) Alice's Tin Pony
3) (1925) Alice in the Jungle - also on both Disney & Inkwell DVDs.
4) (1926) Alice's Balloon Race
5) (1925) Alice Cops the Suey
6) (1927) Alice the Waler - also on both Disney & Inkwell DVDs.
7) (1925) Alice Rattled By Rats - also in the Inkwell DVD release
8) (1925) Alice's Eggplant - also on both Disney & Inkwell DVDs.
9) (1925) Alice the Jailbird
10) (1925) Alice Solves the Puzzle - edited re-issue, also on Inkwell Images "Before Walt" DVD.
BONUS CARTOONS: Krazy Kids Cartoons (sound re-issues of the rare "Life Cartoon Comedies")
1) North of Nowhere
2) Hitting the Trail
3) Whales Everywhere
Even though about half of these duplicate the Inkwell images DVD-R, none of these were copied from the Inkwell Images release. These are fresh 35mm Nitrate Film transfers done by VCI from the KIT*PARKER*FILMS nitrate negatives. Three titles duplicate the Disney Treasures DVD release with some minor variation, but they look equally good.
I should note that these are mastered from the 1930-31 sound re-issue negatives, but many dialogue balloons & dialogue cards are still there. Most existing prints are from these re-issue versions, listen to the soundtracks on other Alice video releases. The only known edit is in ALICE SOLVES THE PUZZLE; the bootlegging & intoxicated Julius the Cat sequences were removed for the 1930 re-issue. I believe even the 35mm master in the Disney Archives is this version. A 35mm tinted print of the original edit is said to survive in the Deutsches Institute fur Filmkunde, Wiesbaden. Maybe some day that version will become available.
Some fans have complained about the 1930 cartoony soundtrack, but I think if sound recording was available to the then low budgeted Disney Animation Studio, it would probably have sounded like these do. And better yet, since the dialogue cards are there, you can turn the sound off if you don't like it.
The films are not presented in chronological order. I haven't figured why they are in the order that they are, but that is of little concern as you can play them individually.
Sadly, about 17 Alice cartoons made from September 1926 to August 1927 are believed to be lost and the remaining 8 from that period exist in foreign versions only. But all of the Alice cartoons from 1923 to Sept 1926 do exist, most are in Disney's vault. Hopefully these unreleased 16 titles from this period will make it to the next Disney DVD release.
Collectors note: You will still want to get both the DISNEY TREASURES : RARITIES & INKWELL IMAGES : ALICE IN CARTOONLAND DVDs as both have two or three cartoons not in this set.
TREASURES also has:
(1923) Alice's Wonderland
(1924) Alice's Wild West Show
(1924) Alice Gets In Dutch
INKWELL IMAGES also has:
(1925) Alice the Toreador
(1926) Alice on the Farm
This release is a true DVD, not a DVD-R.
Back in the 1920s, before "Walt Disney" was an international household name, our boy produced a series of silent-era cartoons about a young girl (the titular "Alice") interacting with animated characters within a cartoon universe.
After Walt struck gold with Mickey Mouse, a distributor glommed onto these cartoons and added a soundtrack for distribution in the new sound-era of the 1930s. This collection is sourced from these "Raytone" prints. These original nitrate 35mm prints look sharper and have better soundtracks that the 16mm dupes I've seen over the years.
I'd give this collection my highest recommendation, except for one thing. VCI felt compelled to use something called DIGITAL VIDEO NOISE REDUCTION (DVNR) during their film-to-video transfer process. DVNR is peachy-keen for live-action films, as it can get rid of lines, scratches and dirt artifacts. Unfortunately, with cartoons, the DVNR mistakes the outlines of fast-moving drawings for something to be removed, so you can end up with patchy, compromised images.
DVNR aside, a bonus that makes this collection a "keeper" in my book is the inclusion of three more silent-era-but-dubbed-with-sound subjects! These are the "Krazy Kids Kartunes!" (Note that VCI calls them "Krazy Kid Cartoons." I wonder if this is to avoid a KKK connotation?) These sort of left-field finds are always of interest to me! There is DVNR on these shorts as well, but the effect isn't as severe as seen on the "Alice" comedies.
1. The prints are magnificent and above average. I have over 17 DVDs and VHS videos with Alice in Wonderland film shorts and have rarely seen better picture quality.
2. Since Virginia Davis, who played ALice in these film shorts, is still alive, it would have been nice to have her commenting about her experiences on the set, and how fans have worshipped her other the years. Still, that might be too costly but the price of this DVD is worth it.
3. I personally get to meet Virginia Davis at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen, Maryland in September since she's a guest so I not only get to ask her a few questions, I get her autograph too!
Buy this DVD and add it to your collection. It's worth the admission price.