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ALICE in 35mm


A few years ago, Ray Pointer (aka Inkwell Images) put together a superb DVD collection of seven Alice Comedies, Disney’s 1920s silent-era series combining live action and animation. About a year ago, Disney Home Entertainment put out vital set of Disney Rarities as part of their Disney Treasures DVD series, which contained six restored Alice Comedies from their archives. What we really need is a “complete collection” of these Alice films, but alas, several of the titles are lost, and many surviving prints are in poor shape.

What we don’t need is another incomplete DVD set of Alice comedies, especially one that repeats three cartoons available on the aforementioned two collections out there (and repeats two others that Ray also released). However, I’m here to tell you that VCI’s new collection, Alice In Cartoonland: 35mm Collector’s Set is worth buying. There are at least five Alice films here that don’t appear elsewhere – and all ten are spectacular 35mm restorations from nitrate negatives, and I have to say they look really great. These are 35mm negs of Alfred Weiss TV versions (with their wacky added sound tracks), and there are a few edits from the era (in particular, the drinking scenes in Alice Solves The Puzzle are out). But I’m delighted to have such great looking versions of these films, I’ll take them any way I can.

There is some additional bonus material here, including essays by JB Kaufman and Russell Merritt culled from their outstanding Walt In Wonderland book. There are three bonus “Life” cartoons by John McCrorry (silent shorts from 1927), also transfered from nitrate negs (retitled Krazy Kids Cartoons from their 1931 reissue in sound). These little rareties feel like Terrytoons of the era – bizzarre, cartoony and a lot of fun. All in all, I recommend the DVD. It’s great to see silent era animation that doesn’t look like “old movies.” And any effort to restore these cartoons deserves our support.

  • the only times I’ve managed to see these in the past was on the public education channel.

    Good to see them in DVD format.

  • Scaramanga

    *sigh* … the content is great, it’s restored … they’ve got some nice art, a fun retro logo … and still they manage to screw up the cover art. *sigh*

    A real shame as it makes it look like another one of those cheap dollar-bin releases, which it isn’t :(

  • I will definitely pick this DVD up. And I also recommend the Walt In Wonderland book to anyone interested in the pre-Mickey days of Disney animation. I found a pristine copy of it at a used bookstore a few months ago, but I see used copies are also going for pretty cheap on Amazon.

  • Frank Flood

    I believe that the films on this Kit Parker collection are from a reissue series that Alfred Weiss released through Syndicate Pictures, a botton-of-the-barrel independent, in 1930-31. Weiss had owned Inkwell Studios when the Fleischers were making their silent Inkwell Imps series for Paramount. Sometime after the Fleischers decamped, he obtained control of the Alice Comedies and was able to exploit the Walt Disney name after that name began to mean something. I think that the music and sound effects on the Kit Parker come from this early 30’s series.

  • Oh, I don’t know that the sleeve artwork is all THAT bad! I initially thought it might have been some period sheet music until I read the accompanying info.

    BTW, it looks like has made a mistake in their initial web site listing. (Sorry if the link coding is messed up, but there’s no “preview” function here.