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Film Adaptations

“The challenge of adapting Alice in Wonderland is this: How do you create relationships, a story, a purpose out of a tale whose prime purpose is not to have one?” (Gleiberman, 52).


Here you can explore the various Alices as she has been adapted (usually not very well) for the silver screen. However, these are some of the best known and best loved iterations of Alice, and many are even better known and loved than the original. Films in particular not only shape their viewers imaginations and thus their "readers responses," but they are also wonderful opportunities to study a particular director's "response" to Alice. And so, to truly understand how the "text" has changed over time we must examine how these different directors and filmmakers have interpreted Alice. What parts of the story were kept or lost? Is the adpatation aimed at children or not? These are important questions that help us to realize what we the readers have begun to deem as the "essential" Alice. Of course there are disagreements. Will Brooker writes in his book, Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture,"

" 'Alice' as a character, text, and cultural concept has gathered a rich and interesting cluster of interpretations since 1865...these Alices do more than simply express a single director's individual interpretation; they seem to channel a broader way of seeing and responding to the book and its central character...The film versions...all draw to some extent on the cultural understandings of Alice as dark fable, innocent children's fantasy, Freudian dreamwork, English heritage treasure, or drug hallucination--often incorporating more than one reading in the same film, despite the fact that some seem mutually exclusive." (201-202)

These Alices all go in very different directions but each one has the ability to shape the Alice in our head, whether that means that the Mad Hatter will always speak like Ed Wynn or Johnny Depp in our head, or whether we think of Alice as seven, ten, fifteen, or twenty years old. Take a minute to poke around this section, watch a clip or two from chapters 5, 6, or 7, and think about what the Alice in your head looks like and sounds like.


Film Adaptations

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Other Alices on Film

For a list of other Alice Adaptations as well as films influenced by Alice click here.




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