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"I think Alice got what she deserved. I never wanted to make it in the first place, but everybody said I should. I tried to introduce a little sentiment into it by getting Alice involved with the White Knight, but they said we couldn't tamper with a classic. So we just kept moving it at circus pace."
Number 13 in the Disney Animated Canon, this 1951 adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was a long time coming at Disney, seeing as Walt Disney had a longtime interest in the Wonderland books that was reflected in some of his earlier works. They wanted to make it a decade earlier, but another production of the story was being produced elsewhere at the time, prompting the studio to shelf it for a while. Then World War II happened and they lost a lot of their budget on war films. Some Development Hell turned the what-would-be horror flick into more of a wacky, comedic cartoon in the same vein as The Emperors New Groove, making it probably the most surreal and very odd Disney film in memory!
It performed poorly in theaters initially (it made money in re-releases), but over time it grew into one of Disney's funniest films and inspired people to this day, including Tim Burton. If you're looking for the 2010 Tim Burton film, also by Disney, visit here.
This film contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation
- Adipose Rex: The Queen of Hearts
- All Just a Dream
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The Cheshire Cat.
- Art Shift: The scenes of Alice and Dinah at the riverbank with Alice's sister have more realistic backgrounds than the rest of the movie does.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Alice as she tests the size-altering portions of Caterpillar's Mushroom, and again when she defends herself in court.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The White Rabbit.
- Berserk Button: Never insult the Caterpillar for his size. EVER.
- Canon Foreigner: The Doorknob only exists here.
- Censorship by Spelling: Alice spells out C-A-T in an attempt to stop the Dormouse from going berserk.
- Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. It looks like the size-changing mushrooms will get Alice away from the Queen, but taking both of them at once almost immediately returns her back to her normal size just in time for a frenzied chase.
- Composite Character: The Queen of Hearts is a combination of the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, and the Red Queen. The line "All ways are my ways" is from the Red Queen and is The Artifact here, as it refers to her being a chess piece who can go in every direction. Also, Pat's role is given to the Dodo. And the Dormouse has the Mouse's fear of cats.
- Conspicuously Light Patch
- Crowd Song: "The Caucus Race", "All in the Golden Afternoon", "Painting the Roses Red" and "The Unbirthday Song Reprise". Man, they love to sing!
- Cut Song: Loads. One of them, an "I Want" Ballad titled "Beyond the Laughing Sky", eventually received new lyrics and became "The Second Star to the Right."
- Darker and Edgier: The original 1939 draft by Al Perkins managed to exceed even American McGee's Alice in creepiness. The final film is still subtly darker than the book.
- Dark Reprise: "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?"
- Disney Acid Sequence: The whole film, naturally.
- Don't Explain the Joke:
Doorknob: You gave me quite a turn there! Heh! Rather good, wot? Doorknob, turn?
- Efficient Displacement: When the Walrus runs through the door of the seaside shack.
- Face Palm: Alice has a particularly good one in reaction to the reprise of the Unbirthday Song.
- Fanfare: The March of the Cards.
- Fan Disservice: When the Queen of Hearts falls down in her croquet game.
- Fantastic Racism: The flowers are very nice and accommodating to Alice until they discover she is not a flower. Then they become hostile, having decided that if she is not a flower, she must be a weed.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
- Fungus Humongous: The Caterpillar's mushroom.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the flower garden scene, one of the flowers pulls up Alice's skirt to look at her "stems".
- For another thing, when Alice mentions her cat's name to the March Hare, he intriguedly asks her who that is and... pants. Yeah.
- God Save Us From the Queen: The Queen of Hearts.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: In the courtroom:
King of Hearts: What do you know about this unfortunate affair?
March Hare: Nothing.
Queen of Hearts: NOTHING WHATEVER?!
March Hare: NOTHING WHATEVER!
Queen of Hearts: THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT!!!
- Hurricane of Puns: "All In The Golden Afternoon".
- "I Am" Song: Does "I'm Late" count?
- "I'm Odd" is a closer example.
- Ink Suit Actor:
- Kathryn Beaumont as Alice.
- Ed Wynn as The Mad Hatter.
- Jerry Colonna as the March Hare.
- Insistent Terminology: "Your way?! All ways here are my ways!"
- Jerkass: Several characters. A notable example being the Cheshire Cat.
- Large Ham: Who do you think? OFF WITH HER HEAD!
- Man of a Thousand Voices: J. Pat O'Malley provides all the voices in the "Walrus and the Carpenter" segment.
- Memetic Outfit: Alice's blue dress with the pinafore, white stockings and black Mary Janes.
- Hey, don't forget the "Alice Band".
- Mood Whiplash: "Very Good Advice", in which Alice sings about her personal flaws and breaks into tears, feels out-of-place to some people, especially since it comes in between the parts where Alice explores the Tulgey Wood and the Cheshire Cat tells her to visit the Queen of Hearts.
- My Friends and Zoidberg:
White Rabbit: Her Imperial Highness, Her Grace, Her Excellency, Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of Hearts!...and the King.
- A more traditional example comes when the White Rabbit does roll call at the beginning of the trial:
Your majesty? Members of the Jury? Loyal subjects? And the king.
- Mythology Gag: The Cheshire cat sings the beginning of "The Jabberwock" poem ("'Twas Bril-lig/ And the sly-thy toves/ Did gyre and gim-ble in the wabe...").
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Alice uses the mushrooms during the trial so she could turn giant and give a speech about the reasons the Queen of Hearts sucks, but she shrinks while she says it. No one takes it seriously as a result.
- Oh, No, Not Again: After Alice eats a treat that says "Eat me", she starts growing again while searching for the White Rabbit's gloves and gets that reaction.
- Only Sane Man: Not just Alice, but also the White Rabbit at some points.
- Opening Chorus
- Panty Shot: The Queen of Hearts' white, heart-printed, ankle-length bloomers are on display after the Cheshire Cat causes her to flip over and upside down, with a flamingo used as a croquet mallet or club to lift up her dress.
- Parachute Petticoat
- Pimped-Out Dress: The dress worn by the Queen of Hearts, with the High Collar of Doom, underskirt with the black and gold chevron design, and the overskirt with the ermine trim (although the animation limitations made it look like just a solid white trim in the film).
- Recitation Handclasp: Alice assumed this posture when she was reciting poetry.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Predating even the trope namer.
- Second Face Smoke: The Caterpillar does this to Alice.
- Sidekick Song: "The Unbirthday Song".
- Sizeshifter: Alice, whenever she eats or drinks anything in Wonderland.
- Sneeze of Doom: "Well... There goes Bill."
- "Somewhere" Song: "In a World of My Own".
- Spelling Song: "AEIOU", more or less.
- Synchronized Swarming: While Alice is traveling through the Tulgey Wood she meets a group of mome raths, who form themselves into the shape of an arrow to lead her to a path.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Three of the characters get red with anger, two of them twice:
- A furious carpenter turns red when he comes back to find the oysters had been devoured by the walrus and he chases after him with his hammer.
- The caterpillar turns red twice. Once when Alice inadvertently offends him about his height and he hurriedly puffs away on his hookah before the smoke engulfs him and he turns into a butterfly; the other time after having become a butterfly and Alice bugs him with a question concerning directions.
- The irascible Queen of Hearts gets red-faced twice. Once after having been turned upside down during the croquet game with a flamingo-for-a-mallet (thanks to the Cheshire Cat) and automatically presuming that Alice was responsible for the act, and accusing her of it; the other time when she shouts for silence at the trial.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The King and Queen of Hearts.
- True-Blue Femininity: Alice's dress, to match the original book's art.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: The film doesn't explicitly state that the White Rabbit and the Bird in the Tree are nearsighted. The audience is expected to know just from their wearing glasses.
- Villain Song: "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?"
- Would Hurt a Child: The Queen of Hearts is perfectly willing to have a little girl beheaded.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: When Alice meets the mome raths, they help her find a path out of Wonderland. Unfortunately, as she runs down it and cheers that she will finally return home, a dog with broom bristles on its head and tail appears and sweeps the path away. It's hard not to share Alice's frustration afterward.