A Few Words About A few words about Alice in Wonderland...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The folks at Disney Home Entertainment have been re-working their classic animated features since the birth of DVD in a very positive effort to make them look new on the format.

    With the release to DVD of the 1951 Alice in Wonderland, fans and collectors of quality classic animated films can add what is essentially only the seventh fully animated feature film produced by Disney out of a total of ten, produced between 1937 and 1959.

    These films are rare commodities. Of the ten fully animated Disney features, only two remain unreleased -- the 1942 Bambi and 1950 Cinderella.

    These films have been judiciously (and brilliantly) re-issued every seven years or so to new audiences of children, and generally have been seen in high quality prints.

    Releases in the past on video tape and laserdisc have looked more like the film versions that we know -- based upon the original hand-inked and painted cells, with all of their idiocyncratic brush strokes and Disney "dust."

    Now digitally cleansed, but returning to original elements, this new release of Alice is not precisely the one that played in theatres for your parents as children, but that may not be a bad thing.

    The image is sparklingly clear, colors more vibrant than ever, and the ever-present dust, which had adhered to the cells is now virtually absent.

    One point of historical (and archival) interest, is that Alice is now seen with its original RKO logus intactus, rather than the replacement Buena Vista.

    Although I personally prefer the original "un-cleansed" look, this new version glistens and glows, sending a message of precisely how much work the studio put into the release. Any negative comments would be nitpicking.

    We'll view it as a new edition, the same conceptually as their DVD release of Snow White. Anything lost to originality is more than made up for by the high quality of the release.

    This is a two disc set, with a myriad of extras as have been the recent offerings by of Disney on these releases.

    It comes highly recommend from these quarters.

    A DVD that fits into that "no-brainer" must buy category. I'm not aware if this release fits into the limited time availability of some of the other Disney titles, which are now going for a premium.

    I do have one negative point regarding the packaging. Disney still refuses to date their releases with any sort of information regarding the year of production. The only annotation is "2004 release." Even the copyright notice is kept to a simple copyright Disney.

    With the amount of history held in the Disney vaults, and the overall and constant quality of their animated work, I would think that this would be information of interest to lovers of film. That Alice in Wonderland is now over half a century old and looking - and sounding - incredibly beautiful, might be something to share with the public. I don't see a negative here.

    RAH
     
  2. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    the negative is J6P going "50 years old!?...forget it honey, get something thats fresher. i'm not paying $25 for a 50 yr old movie."
    at least thats all i can imagine for Disneys reticence for dating material.

    and wasn't that basically the reason that studios began the practice of dating movies in Roman numerals- to mask the fact that the film may be a few yrs older when in re-release?
     
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor
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    I'm glad I've already pre-ordered this one. Even if the Disney DVDs don't have all of the "film" look of the original releases, these transfers to date have presented a chance to look at the beautiful hand-drawn animation in stunning detail.

    Can't wait for this one... (and still kicking myself in the ass for not grabbing Beauty And The Beast when I could have)
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Ooh, words of wisdom from Robert Harris.

    I always enjoy opening these threads.

    Nice to hear that Alice In Wonderland has
    a brand new sheen, although it may not be the same
    sheen that our parents may remember.

    This has been preordered for quite some time.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As far as BatB, please go here and purchase before they're gone:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd


    As far as a film being "aged," quality has no age. And while, it is realized that you are speaking parenthetically for J6P and not personally, our job may be to educate J6P as to the quality of classics.

    If one can still enjoy reading Homer (the Greek Homer), one can equally enjoy Gregory Peck's extraordinary performance in To Kill a Mockingbird, James Stewart and Kim Novak in "Vertigo," or Peter O'Toole as Aurens.

    The message to be spread is that age and quality are independent.

    Like all of these, the Disney animated features are timeless, and are there to be shared, enjoyed and past down through generations. Such is the legacy of Mr. Disney.

    RAH
     
  6. James_Garner

    James_Garner Stunt Coordinator

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    I respect Mr. Harris as a film expert and restorer; however, there is one possible "buyer beware" issue I would like Mr. Harris to address before it becomes a "No-brainer purchase" for me. In 1996, Disney released a 3-laserdisc set of "Alice" with the Christmas 1950 TV special "One Hour In Wonderland" included, just like the new DVD does. I would like to know if the DVD version of "One Hour in Wonderland" is unedited with the Coca-Cola plugs, the uncut "Clock Cleaners" sequence and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) the 10-minute sequence from "Song of the South" included. If not, I'll have to pass on it. I hate when Disney pulls editing stunts similar to what they did with "Disneyland USA" & I will not support Disney as long as they continue similar practices
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Mr. Baskett and his blue birds are inclusive derived from Technicolor.

    I don't believe that any "stunts" are being played here.

    The release is one of quality and has been well thought out.

    RAH
     
  8. James_Garner

    James_Garner Stunt Coordinator

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    I was concerned since "Song of the South" seems to be a sore spot for Disney, especially since the film has been out of commission since 1986 for "alleged racial content." I was suprised Disney would allow a segment of "Song" to be used in a mainstream "family-oriented" DVD release. I was expecting the DVD release of any footage of "Song" to be limited to the company's Limited-edition "Treasures" DVD line.
    Speaking of Disney's "Treasures" line, they are promoted as being "Uncut"; however, Every show on the "Disneyland USA" set has been cut without any disclaimers; most notably, the omission of the original Mousketeers in the opening day ceremonies at Disneyland. I was expecting something similar to happen on "One Hour".
     
  9. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Of course, this is the second DVD incarnation of Alice. It was previously issued on July 4, 2000 as a Gold Collection title, which I think is now OOP.
     
  10. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Robert,
    i was actually trying to find the rationale for the corporate mindset that would make the conclusion that a 'past date' would somehow hinder sales.
    that's the only logical explination i can come up with, even though it seems somewhat irrational.
    i actually give J6P more credit and think the majority would believe as you do that quality has no expiration date.

    i chalk it up as corporate paranoia.
    thems the people that needs the edjucatin'.
    it frustrates me too.
     
  11. Larry P

    Larry P Stunt Coordinator

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    Great to hear that you liked the colors. This is Disney's most colorful film, in my opinion; the little psychedelic moments are wonderful.

    The style of animation in Disney's late 40's/early 50's releases like Alice were so similar in style to their 1990's features that "dating" the film doesn't really date it since Disney's been pretty much doing the same thing for the past 15 to 20 years. I always thought that Alice seemed like it could have been made in the mid to late 80's.

    I think they're afraid the date might scare children away. Not that Im suggesting there's any basis in reality for those fears, but you know Disney.

    In fact, in a few years they'll probably start to use only CG art for the covers to their traditionally animated films.

    Glad to hear about the RKO logo being used. Props, indeed.
     
  12. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    I am so pleased to hear that ALICE looks great, although I too miss seeing the brush strokes. Every time I watch FANTASIA with someone who has never seen it, I preface the viewing by asking them to remember that everything they are about to see was made by human hands with no help from computers whatsoever. It has never failed to help them appreciate it all the more. We've become so used to seeing computer animation now, that it's difficult for some people to remember the true artistry that went into the making of these films. I don't mean to disrespect computer animators. I also consider the Pixar films to be works of art. I'm just awed by the fact that the hand-drawn animation of the Disney Classics still holds up after all these years.
     
  13. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    I believe Vera Miles appears in the Coke commercial for "One Hour in Wonderland" (1950). Candice Bergen may have also appeared as one of the kids on the show--hosted by her Dad. It demonstrates remarkable production values for a 1950 tv show.
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I'll be posting my review of Alice in Wonderland this afternoon. Please be sure to pick up some discussion in that thread too when it arrives... [​IMG]

    In brief, I echo RAH's sentiments.

    [​IMG] James, you'll be happy to note that the Zippadeedoodah snippet from song of the south...as well as the skit where b. rabbit getts caught in the rope and tricks brother bear into earning a dollar a minute..are indeed on the disc (presented in about average laserdisc-quality looking video). coca-cola plugs are also there...the entire television show appears to be on the DVD from start to finish without any editing that I can detect.

    I'll post back here once the review is up!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  15. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

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    What is the release date?
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    January 27
     
  17. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Just out of curisosity, what are the 10 movies produced between 1937 and 1959? I wasn't able to figure out how to get that information out of IMDB. I love Disney films, but always seem to forget about one or two.
     
  18. RafaelB

    RafaelB Second Unit

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    The 10 fully animated Disney films produced between 37 and 59, IIRC are:

    Snow WHite
    Pinocchio
    Fantasia
    Dumbo
    Bambi
    Peter Pan
    Cinderella
    Sleeping Beauty
    Lady and the Tramp
    Alice in Wonderland

    Is that correct? :b

    Rafael.
     
  19. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    One Hour in Wonderland was the very first Disney television program!
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Always great to hear from our resident restorer! [​IMG][​IMG]

    I guess this can wait until the review thread this afternoon but I'll ask it anyway: is the transfer any different from the one they put out on DVD in 2000? I'm not sure the extras will get me to double-dip, but if it's a new transfer I may purchase this.
     

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