Alice in Wonderland (1903)

I just became aware of the British Film Institute’s YouTube Channel which is featuring the first screen version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which was directed  by  Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow. The BFI, which is touting its restoration in conjunction with the release of the new Tim Burton film, notes that, at around 12 minutes (of which only 8 survive), it “was the longest film yet produced in Britain.” It also features “an early appearance by the [Hepworth] family dog, Blair, who would become famous as the star of Rescued by Rover(1905),” one of the most famous of early British films.

All this and the attempted fidelity to John Tenniel’s original illustrations, is all well and good; but what interested me most was the film’s use of Georges Méliès-style special effects, which I found quite delightful.

Author: Harvey Deneroff

Harvey Deneroff is a Los Angeles-based independent animation and film scholar specializing in labor history. He formerly taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was editor of Animation Magazine, Animation World Magazine, and Graiffit (published by ASIFA-Hollywood). He is the founder and past president of the Society for Animation Studies.

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