Alice in Wonderland

Adaptations and influence

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Since the first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 150 years ago, Lewis Carroll’s work has spawned a whole industry, from films and theme park rides to products such as a 'cute and sassy' Alice costume ('petticoat and stockings not included'). The blank-faced little girl made famous by John Tenniel's original illustrations has become a cultural inkblot we can interpret in any way we like."[5]

Alice and the rest of Wonderland continue to inspire or influence many other works of art to this day,[57] sometimes indirectly via the 1951 Disney movie, for example. References, homages, reworkings and derivative works can be found in many works of literature, film, theatre, visual art, music, and games (such as playing cards).[58] Labelled “a dauntless, no-nonsense heroine” by The Guardian, the character of the plucky, yet proper, Alice has proven immensely popular and inspired similar heroines in literature and pop culture, many also named Alice in homage.[30]

Cinema and television

The book has inspired numerous film and television adaptations which have multiplied as the original work is now in the public domain in all jurisdictions. The following list is of direct adaptations of Adventures in Wonderland (sometimes merging it with Through the Looking-Glass), not other sequels or works otherwise inspired by the works (such as Tim Burton's 2010 film Alice in Wonderland):

  • Alice in Wonderland (1903), a British silent film directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, with May Clark as Alice.[59]
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1910), a silent film directed by Edwin Stanton Porter
  • Alice in Wonderland (1915), a silent film directed by W. W. Young
  • Alice in Wonderland (1931), the first talkie adaptation, directed by Bud Pollard
  • Alice in Wonderland (1933), a film version directed by Norman Z. McLeod, US
  • Alice in Wonderland (1937), a TV adaptation directed by George More O'Ferrall
  • Alice in Wonderland (1937) TV adaptation again directed by George More O'ferrall with Usula Henray as Alice.[60]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1944) TV adaptation of Eva La Gaillenne's stage version of both books, US.[61]
  • Alice (1946), a BBC production starring Vivian Pickles directed by George More O'Ferrall, UK
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (1948) BBC TV broadcast.[62]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1949), a live-action/animated film with stop motion segments, directed by Dallas Bower
  • Through the Crystal Ball: Alice in Wonderland (1949) US TV performance.[63]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1950), televised on the CBS Ford Theatre, with Iris Mann as Alice, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951), a film version in traditional animation from Walt Disney Feature Animation. Arguably the most well known of the Alice film adaptations, and today considered one of Disney's great classics.[64]
  • Alice au pays des Merveilles (1951) France TV broadcast of a stage version
  • Alice in Wonderland (1954) BBC broadcast of a ballet version.[65]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1955), a live television adaptation of the 1932 Eva LeGallienne /Florida Friebus stage adaptation of the novel, directed for television by George Schaefer for the Hallmark Hall of Fame
  • The Adventures of Alice (1960), a televised opera.[66]
  • The BP Super Show: Alice in Wonderland (1962) Australian TV musical special.[67]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1966), an animated Hanna-Barbera TV movie with Janet Waldo as Alice
  • Alice in Wonderland (1966), a BBC television play directed by Jonathan Miller
  • Alice au pays des merveilles (1972), a version made for television, by Jean-Christophe Averty.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972), a musical film version starring Fiona Fullerton as Alice
  • Alice in Wonderland (sometimes listed as Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy) (1976), an American erotic musical comedy film, starring Kristine DeBell
  • Nel Mondo Di Alice (In the World of Alice) Italian TV series in 4 parts.[68]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1983), a PBS Great Performances presentation of a 1982 stage play which was in turn a revival of the 1932 LeGallienne production
  • Fushigi no Kuni no Alice, an anime series which ran on the TV Tokyo network and other local stations across Japan from March 1983 to October 1984.
  • Alice in Wonderland (1985), a two-part made-for-TV special produced by Irwin Allen and featuring a large all-star cast
  • Alice in a Winter Wonderland (1985): a BBC One Christmas Special parody, performed by sketch-comedy duo The Two Ronnies, featuring Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.[69][70]
  • Alice in Wonderland (1986), a BBC adaptation directed by Barry Letts and starring Kate Dorning
  • Alice (1988 film) by Jan Švankmajer, stop motion and live action
  • Alice in Wonderland (1999), a 1999 television movie first shown on NBC and then shown on British television on Channel 4

Comic strips and books

Alice in Wonderland (1934–1935) was a comic strip adaptation drawn by Edward D. Kuekes and written by Olive Ray Scott. This version also featured a "topper" strip, Knurl the Gnome. The strip was distributed by United Feature Syndicate.[71]

Literary and comic-book adaptations include:

  • The Westminster Alice (1902): a political parody by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki), illustrated by Francis Carruthers Gould.[72]
  • Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951, Dell Comics).[73]
  • Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1965, Gold Key Comics)
  • Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (Whitman, 1984)
  • "The Complete Alice in Wonderland" (2005, Dynamite Entertainment).[74]
  • Return to Wonderland (2009, Zenescope Entertainment).[75]
  • Alice in Wonderland (2011, Zenescope Entertainment)
  • Alice in Weirdworld (2020, Flying Buffalo Incorporated)

Live performance

The first full major production of 'Alice' books during Lewis Carroll's lifetime was Alice in Wonderland, an 1886 musical play in London's West End by Henry Savile Clark (book) and Walter Slaughter (music), which played at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Twelve-year-old actress Phoebe Carlo (the first to play Alice) was personally selected by Carroll for the role.[76] Carroll attended a performance on 30 December 1886, writing in his diary he enjoyed it.[77] The musical was frequently revived during West End Christmas seasons during the four decades after its premiere, including a London production at the Globe Theatre in 1888, with Isa Bowman as Alice.[78]

As the book and its sequel are Carroll's most widely recognised works, they have also inspired numerous live performances, including plays, operas, ballets, and traditional English pantomimes. These works range from fairly faithful adaptations to those that use the story as a basis for new works. Over the years, many notable people in the performing arts have been involved in Alice productions. Actress Eva Le Gallienne famously adapted both Alice books for the stage in 1932; this production has been revived in New York in 1947 and 1982. One of the most well-known American productions was Joseph Papp's 1980 staging of Alice in Concert at the Public Theater in New York City. Elizabeth Swados wrote the book, lyrics, and music. Based on both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Papp and Swados had previously produced a version of it at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Award-winning actress Meryl Streep played Alice, the White Queen, and Humpty Dumpty.[79] The cast also included Debbie Allen, Michael Jeter, and Mark Linn-Baker. Performed on a bare stage with the actors in modern dress, the play is a loose adaptation, with song styles ranging the globe. A community theatre production of Alice was Olivia de Havilland's first foray onto the stage.[80]

Similarly, the 1992 operatic production Alice used both Alice books as its inspiration. It also employs scenes with Charles Dodgson, a young Alice Liddell, and an adult Alice Liddell, to frame the story. Paul Schmidt wrote the play, with Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan writing the music. Although the original production in Hamburg, Germany, received only a small audience, Tom Waits released the songs as the album Alice in 2002. A musical adaption was written by Michael Sirotta and Heather M. Dominick in 1997, titled Alice in Wonderland, a Musical Adventure.[81][82]

The English composer Joseph Horovitz composed an Alice in Wonderland ballet commissioned by the London Festival Ballet in 1953. It was performed frequently in England and the US.[83] A ballet by Christopher Wheeldon and Nicholas Wright commissioned for The Royal Ballet entitled Alice's Adventures in Wonderland premiered in February 2011 at the Royal Opera House in London.[84][85] The ballet was based on the novel Wheeldon grew up reading as a child and is generally faithful to the original story, although some critics claimed it may have been too faithful.[86] The ballet overall stays generally light hearted for its running time of an hour and forty minutes. The ballet returned to the Royal Opera House in 2012.[87]

Gerald Barry's 2016 one-act opera, Alice's Adventures Under Ground, first staged in 2020 at the Royal Opera House, is a conflation of the two Alice books.[88]


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