• requiem18963 January 2005
    6/10
    A treat worth its time.
    Some people loved this rendition of Lewis Carol's work, others completely hated it. It was by no means a stunning success. I could spend the next several lines explaining what went wrong and what went right, but I won't. This isn't that type of movie.

    I recommend this for a very simple reason. The movie is full of great talent. Great performances? Not really. But great talent. The enjoyment of this movie is watching some of the true greats in playful roles. If you watch this expecting great acting performances and great cinematic moments with inspiring music then you are a fool. It was never meant to be anything more than a delightfully fun experience with great moments. (Sammy Davis Jr. as the Catapillar is a great example.)

    I can't describe this any other way than to say that Harry Harris got some of the most recognizable faces of Hollywood to put on stupid costumes and act crazy. Even if you don't recognize many of the names on the cast list you should watch it anyways. Several faces will be familiar without your knowing their names.

    My major criticism (and warning) many of the songs are very hokey. In some scenes its damn annoying. Most people who demonize this film attack the music first and hardest. Its up to you to sit through the musical numbers you don't like and enjoy the rest of the film. IF you accept this adaptation for what it is and watch it for the right reasons, I guarantee you will be pleased you spent the time.
  • gypsycaine13 August 2001
    10/10
    I fell in love all over again
    When this was first run, I liked it, but now barely recalled details of it. I was a senior in HS, and it was mainly put on to amuse my brother (but my family knew of my own fascination with Alice, lol, so I guess to amuse me too!), who didn't really care. I knew that I recognized the girl who played Alice (who was Jenny in Oliver & Co--THAT'S where I knew her from, thanks IMDB!) at the time, but never could place her. The actors and actresses took their roles and made them their own. I believe that besides Alice, the White Knight is my favorite supporting role, however. I too had nightmares at age 17 (!) of the Jabberwocky but that didn't stop me from watching it. In the many years since the details faded, but that Jabberwocky stayed with me--until I could no longer recall which version I had seen it in. I've been seeking it. I did like the 1999 version, which sits in VHS beside the Disney version (can't tell I'm a fan in general?) which I also liked. Each had their own parts that drew me in. This one, despite the problem with accents, did the same.

    Yes, it's a Hollywood'ed version, so they tend to ignore the setting when it comes to accents, but would you really want to hear Sammy Davis Jr with an English accent? I did find Sally Struthers as the obnoxious Tiger Lily rather humorous (especially after her "correspondence school" commercials, iirc that she had out during that time too! It seemed to fit some how. :)

    All in all, a very good movie, and one that I shall look for in Ebay, Yahoo and Amazon for a copy. I am very grateful to the local library who carried part 2, and allowed me to renew my acquaintance with this gem once again.

    Dee
  • Meredith P. (Etoile)1 March 1999
    Fantastic production with the perfect cast!
    Yes, I saw this -- so did you! This is quite possibly the best version of Alice ever, and one of the rare versions that includes Through the Looking Glass. This film is so exquisitely done that I remember being both thrilled and terrified! (My mother had to tell me that the Jabberwocky was just a costume that was hung up in a closet before I could go to sleep...and then I was afraid of my closet!) The cast is ideal -- no one else could play the Caterpillar so well as Sammy Davis Jr., and only Red Buttons could be such a perfect White Rabbit! Of course, my copy was taped over (Mom's attempts to comfort me just weren't enough, I guess!), but I would love to see it again. Find it at your local video store if you can, or order it -- but if you plan to have your kids watch it, make sure they see it in the daytime, and NOT right before naptime or bedtime!
  • poetris6 April 2005
    10/10
    Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
    By far, the very best adaptation of Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland. I taped this movie when I was small, only for my brother to record over it with wrestling. Since then, I have searched long and hard to find this movie. I am shocked that so few people have seen this movie, many have never even heard of it. This is not only a surprise because of the phenomenal cast line up, but the artistic and complex visuals and costume design. This is definitely a must see for all Alice In Wonderland enthusiasts, children, or fans of children's movies. As in a previous comment about this movie, I also was able to find Through the Looking Glass (the second half of the movie) much easier (and, I daresay cheaper). I recently came upon the movie on DVD on ebay, which is a lot cheaper as you get both the first and second half, for about the price of the second half on VHS. Whether DVD or VHS, though, this multi-million dollar movie is sure to entertain the whole family with the fun story line, and awe with the beautiful sets.
  • Mellissa T2 January 2005
    8/10
    a delight!
    I love this version of Alice in wonderland, because of the jaberwalkie. this movie has a dark sinister undertone running through, which Alice and wonderland should have. when I was young it always gave me weird feeling and I loved it because it scared me in a way most movies had never achieved before. It was "trippy" and fun and interesting all at the same time. The songs are o.k. but the story is divine! Carol Channing's character made me really weirded out. This is the way Alice was meant to be, confusing, a little scary and amusing rolled into one a must see a real winner! a+ if you want to treat yourself to something fun and special this version of Alice in wonderland is an instant crowd pleaser, I mean I could just go on and on but you should just watch it for yourselves.
  • Matt Barry8 March 1999
    A Classic for All Ages...
    I first saw this ALICE IN WONDERLAND version when I was very young, in 1985. This is, to me, the definitive version. I was impressed with everything about it. As with all the ALICE IN WONDERLAND versions, this used a special guest cast (and an impressive one, at that). However, unlike other versions, the script was tailored to suit the guest stars, although they were perfect in their parts. Even the 1933 version had each character actor in Hollywood doing his act for the camera under the guise of the main story. The 1999 version was the same deal-all the stars doing their acts for the camera, with no regards to the story! But in this version, the actors played their roles as they were supposed to be played. Anyhow, the point is-this version really has stuck with me over the years. In 1994, I caught a re-run on television. I was thrilled to see it again. And none of the magic was gone-even 10 years after its initial broadcast! If you're looking for a version of the story to see, or just want to re-visit a special childhood memory, see this wonderful film.
  • tenthkingdom20 December 2003
    10/10
    Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat, How I wonder where you're at...
    Wonderfully amazing portrayal of Alice in Wonderland. The cast was superb and the story telling was excellent. Of course it doesn't hurt that the Mock Turtle is played by none other than Ringo Starr. The only copy of this film that I have owned until recently was a tapped off T.V. version that was jumpy and horribly, tapped. But I can guarantee you that it has been watched countless times none the less. This film is great for all ages and is good fun for the whole family. Children of all ages will delight in this fun-filled adventure, from the crying baby that turns into a pig to Sally Struthers playing a loud mouthed Flower, it can't get any better. The First half of the 3 hour plus film, is the best part, but the giant chess board and underlying story in the second half is just as delightful. This film is sure to become a classic of my generation.
  • crxbrett29 November 2002
    8/10
    One of my favorites growing up and still has a place in my video heart.
    I was going through old Beta tapes from my childhood one day and was disappointed that I could not find this movie. I read other comments and some people said the same exact thing I did. My copy was either taped over or thrown out, a blessing in disguise. I was glad to see Warner has the rights and actually sells it on Amazon! I will admit that if you did not watch this movie when it first aired on CBS back in christmas of '85 that you might not like it nearly as much as I did and still do. I honestly still know the songs even though I have not seen it since probably the late eighties. I was 7 years old when this first aired and my mom taped it for me and my sister. I even remember there was an electrical storm that night in Los Angeles so my copy had interference from the lightning! Anyways, I would watch this tape all the time as a youngster. I think I watched it at least 25 times as a kid. I have not seen the 1999 version that aired on NBC, but I don't think that one would be quite as memorable as this one was. The cast were all well known celebrities, most of whom have either passed on or are no longer considered to be popular any longer. I give the story a 9. The visual design of the make up, costumes and sets gets a 10. The music gets an 8. And the acting and directing a 7. I give this movie an 8 overall. I am going to wait and see if Warner will release this on DVD. They did release another childhood favorite of mine last year, the Hobbit.
  • neonboy61921 August 2010
    Alice in Wonderland: The 1985 Made for TV Musical Spectacular
    I LOVE the books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it's sequel Through the Looking Glass. I've read each one inside and out and have even studied The Annotated Alice which has notes in the margins so one could get a sense of the mayhem which isn't really mayhem once you understand where Lewis Carrol is coming from. For the die hard fan, one should check out the almost forgotten movie, Dreamchild. I say almost because, hey, I didn't forget it.

    1985 saw the production of a big musical production of Alice in Wonderland, based off of both books, complete with acclaimed director Irwin Allen who was known for disaster movies. Poseidon Adventure being one of his most famous.

    Along with a big name director came a big name cast that included Carol Channing, Imogene Coca, Ringo Starr, Sammy Davis Jr., Shelley Winters, John Stamos, Harvey Korman, and man this list could go on and on.

    The TV Musical spanned two nights on CBS and was a HIT. Well, it was to me, heheh. I don't know the real stats.

    Newcome Natalie Gregory played Alice and went on later to play Jenny in Disney's Oliver and Company. Like in that movie, she doesn't do her own singing here either.

    Once in Wonderland, Alice meets the familiar faces and the casting goes from genius to insane.

    A stand out would have to be Carol Channing as The White Queen who really makes this character her own. And she turns into a creepy lamb.

    Shelley Winters in the small part of The Dodo Bird seems very wasted as they do nothing with her and she's a huge name. Come on, she's Shelley Winters, not someone with a small name. Even John Stamos had more screen time than her.

    Martha Raye as The Duchess, Steve Lawrence as Tweedle Dumb and Eydie Gormé as Tweedle Dee look like they've been doing these parts of years now. It came so natural to them.

    Pat Morita plays a horse.

    Natalie Gregory really holds her own next to all these veterans.

    The music is very energetic and some of the songs contain lyrics from Lewis Carrol's text.

    That's one thing I LOVE about this production. A lot of Carrol's dialogue is contained which is what prompted me me to read the original books when I first saw this as a kid in the 80s. It was the first book I read. It's still my favorite.

    If you want an old fashioned, fun, family musical, go check this out, and watch it like how Mark and I watch Bette Midler in Gypsy. Turn off all of the lights, sit in your living room as if you're in a theater and watch it and behave like how you would in a theater. Give yourself a 15 minute intermission even between acts. It's an experience let me to tell ya.

    Go to My Movie Page:

    http://neonboy619.blogspot.com
  • mollyccampbell-130 December 2013
    9/10
    A REAL Children's Adaptation of a classic story with a cast you couldn't pack more fame into if you tried!
    First and foremost, let's get it out of the way - yes, the acting is cheesy, and yes the writing (both script and songs) are pretty simplistic and expository. I do not argue that whatsoever.

    Having said that, I was two when this came out, but I guess my parents thought it would be something I would enjoy as I got older so they recorded it on the VCR for me. I watched this so many times that I wore out the tape. I was sad when Through the Looking Glass was no longer watchable, I was devastated when the first part became unusable. I forgot about it as I grew up and in the last few years, as I approached 30, I started looking around for it and found it on YouTube, of all places! I re-watched it and while doing so, took another look at the cast list.

    I remember recognizing a few people when I was a kid, like Ringo and Sammy Davis Jr., but as an adult I was stunned when I realized that this movie is like a time capsule for not just some of the most famous actors and actresses over the prior fifty years, but also was a kind of introduction for many actors/actresses, as well! If you can put aside your need for a "good" adaptation (and come on, it's a kids story, kid's movie, and shouldn't be all glossed and glammed up with dialogue that is all but too clever and witty, settings overwhelmingly absurd and surreal like Tim Burton's newest adaptation (which I'm sorry, but I believe was an absolute mockery of Lewis Carroll's beautiful books).

    The point of this movie is to get across the lessons of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass - growing up, facing one's fears, and having confidence! This does precisely that, and for that I give it a 9 out of 10.
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