Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland, starring perennial Burton player Johnny Depp, is sure to have all of the quirky director’s wacky visuals and eccentric charm, but we’d like to direct you to the excellent 1966 version from British director Jonathan Miller (available on DVD 3/2).
That Alice in Wonderland, made for the BBC, is a little-known masterpiece that finds room for Peter Sellers, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Michael Redgrave, a young Eric Idle and a soundtrack by Ravi Shankar. Miller’s Alice has a Victorian innocence and, with her bushy hair, bears a great resemblance to Lewis Carroll’s original illustrations. Indeed, Miller made a film that is faithful to its source: It’s atmospheric and meandering, and while it pokes fun at British manners, it leaves out what Miller calls the “japing fun and games” that populate other versions. Above all, it captures the innocence and vision of childhood with which Carroll was so enchanted.
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