SUNDAY TIMES - Barry Ronge's Classic DVD : Alice in Wonderland
Sunday Times STLive By Barry Ronge, 2010-08-15 00:00:30.0

Barry Ronge's Classic DVD : Alice in Wonderland

The enormous success of Tim Burton's ingenious exploration of the adventures of Alice in Wonderland has brought attention back to the 1951 Disney animated film.

It was made under the personal supervision of Walt Disney, and he took special care when animating British fantasy.

He called them his "English Cycle". They included Peter Pan and The Jungle Book, but this version of Alice took a terrible beating from critics, especially in Europe and the UK.

Disney was so disappointed that he withdrew the film and forbade anyone to re-release it in any form until after his death. When it did come back into circulation in 1981 a whole new generation discovered it for the first time.

The glowing, psychedelic colours, the strange creatures like the smoking caterpillar and Tweedledum and Tweedledee seemed to fit into pop culture far more easily than in the '50s.

In an interview, Burton, who is a connoisseur of classic animation as well as being a great animator in his own right, said the long-delayed release of the 1951 Alice in Wonderland was part of the inspiration for his recent hit, which was about how Alice went back to Wonderland and what she found there.

We now have an excellent "special edition" of Disney's Alice in Wonderland in stores, alongside Tim Burton's hit, and that's a classic combination any film buff would love.