The 1966 black-and-white BBC produced Alice in Wonderland is more gothic than the Johnny Depp-starring Disney picture currently dominating the box office. BBC America's Alice is an even more surreal visit down Lewis Carroll's often visited rabbit hole.
As Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter demonstrated in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland, the BBC's 1966 version features a cast to take Carroll's tale to new heights.
Starring a who's-who of British acting royalty, Alice in Wonderland circa 1966 features Peter Sellers, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Peter Cook and Leo McKern -- and a soundtrack provided by The Beatles' new best friend at the time, Indian maestro Ravi Shankar.
Every Alice in Wonderland differs from the previous, whether it's Tom Petty playing the Mad Hatter in a music video tribute or Depp's delicious modern Hatter. The arrival of the BBC's Alice on home video is a terrific contrast exists with Burton's colorful marvel with director Jonathan Miller's stark black and white.
Miller's film features the traditionally younger Alice visiting a Victorian England world inhabited with Carroll's larger-than-life characters. As was intended by Carroll with his Alice tales, it is easy to see the almost parody of traditional UK morality that was playing out on 1960s English streets. Miller's Alice is continually questioning authority. Sound like a certain group of hippies that were about to emerge from London and San Francisco?
Although a different Alice, what rises to the top is the incredible depth and power of Carroll's timeless work. Regardless of its form, Alice always enchants.
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