Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi/Wilfred Jackson/Hamilton Luske

Written by: Milt Banta/Del Connell/William Cottrell/Joe Grant/Winston Hibler/Dick Huemer/Dick Kelsey/Tom Oreb/Bill Peet/Erdman Penner/Joe Rinaldi/Ted Sears/John Walbridge

Based on books by: Lewis Carroll

This is kind of a weird one. I mean…the source material is super surreal, but for a Disney movie, this is just kind of bizarre.

Disney had wanted to make a version of Alice for years. When he worked at the Laugh-O-Gram Studios in the 20s, he worked on a short version. It was never released, but it stayed in his mind. He then thought about a live-action/animated film in the 30s, but a live-action version came out and he abandoned his. After Snow White, he bought the rights to the story and seriously tried again. Again, it didn’t work out.

Then, after the war, he hired Aldous Huxley of all people to write a script. Not so surprisingly, this didn’t work out, either.

Finally, Walt settled on a script (after dumping a bunch of scenes and changing songs here and there) and started production. The movie came out and…it didn’t do so well. No one quite understood it. It didn’t necessarily bomb, but it also didn’t really make its money back. Because of this, they never re-released it in Walt’s lifetime. It wasn’t until 1974 that they decided that it was time for Alice to hit the theatres again, this time as a psychedelic film. That’s when she found her niche. Suddenly, Alice was a classic!

Strangely enough, as much as I love the surreal (and the Cheshire Cat), Alice is not my favorite Disney film. I mean, it’s great! It’s imaginative and fun. But it’s also really episodic and those episodes don’t always gel. It’s still a classic Disney film that is kind of unlike any other Disney film.