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Stop Motion

Bunin’s Alice

It’s becoming an annual tradition in Los Angeles – just as last year, the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Ave. is running the classic Lou Bunin stop motion/live action Alice In Wonderland. Made in 1949, but released in 1951, the film was originally suppressed by Disney for fear of its potential upstaging of their own animated Alice. This rare showing of the beautiful MOMA-restored 35mm print will screen Saturday night at 5pm and 7:30pm. For advance tickets, a clip from the film and more info, click here.

  • Brian Kidd

    This is a film I have been dying to see since I first heard about it. Unfortunately, the only time I encountered it was when I stumbled across it airing on a low-power local Christian station (?!?). It was midway through it. I watched about ten minutes of it, but turned it off because the video transfer they were showing looked like a smeary old U-Matic tape that had been found in a closet and thrown on just to fill time. I was intrigued by the film, but assumed I could find a much better transfer to watch. No luck. Does anyone know if a watchable version of this exists on home video?

  • chromal

    What a soul-crushing thing for Disney to have done to the creative team behind the film, and, what, for the sake of marketing? Just awful. :(

  • Kevin Martinez

    That was apparently common in the olden days. Disney also bought and suppressed the 1940 RKO Swiss Family Robinson.

    Studios were stupid back then.

  • Please oh please oh please let them release this on DVD.

  • Amazon sells a DVD version but the quality is likely not great:

    I don’t know that a restored version in high quality exists out there. Even a restored version wouldn’t likely be 100% of what it was intended to look like. The film was shot in Technicolor but they were forced to use the inferior Ansco color for the final print, due to the whole Disney thing. The blue dye used for the printing made the soundtrack muffled too.

  • Karsh

    Disney was also said to be concerned about Halas and Bachelor’s Animal Farm animated feature while it was in production as a potential threat to their style of fully animated production, until they saw it.

  • Hm. This sounds intriguing. Shame that Disney had to do that, but really, it could’ve been worse. Especially since Disney was much better back then, not just production-wise, but as a nicer company altogether.

  • No doubt this is one of the most creative and magical stories of all times, makes me remember Disney’s cartoon version of 1951, with Kathryn Beaumont doing the voice of Alice.

  • Hmmm. I wonder if this is why the 1936 version with (W C Fields as Humpty Dumpty) had also vanished without trace-?

  • Jeffrey Gray

    Dennis Sisterson:

    No, Disney has not suppressed the 1933 Alice in Wonderland. Universal owns it (via the sale of the pre-48 Paramount catalog to MCA), and I believe it’s actually shown up on TCM in the past (but don’t quote me on that).

    I detest the urban legends that Disney suppressed either the 1924 Peter Pan or the 1933 Alice in Wonderland – it didn’t happen.

    Disney’s move against Lou Bunin’s version was a dumb move; all it accomplished was to provide more ammo for people who want to criticize him and his legacy.