Despising the Disney take, Jonathan Miller set out to de-anthropomorphise the story of Alice In Wonderland by returning to Dodgson’s mathematical logic and Victorian values for this BBC drama.
Stripping away the masks and costumes, he allowed the audience to see Wilfrid Brambell’s White Rabbit, Peter Cook’s hammy Mad Hatter, Michael Redgrave’s irritable Caterpillar, Peter Sellers’s goonish King of Hearts and John Gielgud’s sweetly melancholic Mock Turtle.
He also invested the action with a somnambulant melancholy that made adulthood seem forbidding.
Yet 14-year-old Anne-Marie Mallik’s Alice is anything but a waif, as she gives as good as she gets during a progress whose trance-like oddity is reinforced by Dick Bush’s deep-focus monochrome photography and Ravi Shankar’s sitar score.
Squarely aimed at grown-ups, the film was commissioned for television by the BBC as a centenary celebration and screened after 9 pm, well after most children’s bedtime.
Queen of Hearts
King of Hearts
Knave of Hearts