Once lost, this eight minute, very damaged, but very delightful silent version of Alice in Wonderland was restored several years ago by the British Film Institute. It is the first film adaptation of the 1865 Lewis Carroll classic. And at the time, the original length of 12 minutes (eight are all that’s left) made it the longest film coming out of the nascent British film industry. After about a minute, the eye ignores the damage of the film, like the ear ignores a scratched 78 rpm record. Viewers can expect several vignettes from the novel, not a flowing narrative. It starts with Alice following the White Rabbit down the hole, the “eat me” and “drink me” sequence, the squealing baby that turns into a piglet, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Tea Party, and the Red Queen and her playing card minions. The coloring of the negative is a BFI reconstruction of the original colors, by the way.
The film was produced and directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow out of their Hepworth Studios in Walton-on-the-Thames, near London. They show knowledge of the camera trickery pioneered only a few years earlier by Georges Méliès, like the shrinking and growing Alice and the appearance of the Cheshire Cat. That cat, by the way, was the Hepworth’s family pet. Hepworth himself plays the frog-headed footman, and his wife played the Red Queen. May Clark, who played Alice, was 18 at the time, and had already worked on several Hepworth productions, and not just acting. According to her bio at the Women Film Pioneers project, she did a bit of everything around the studio, “from special effects and set decoration to costume design and carpentry.” The early days of film have a real “student project” feel about them, no pigeonholed roles, just everybody chipping in. As for Cecil Hepworth, he appeared destined for a career in film, as his father ran magic lantern shows. Cecil worked for several companies before setting up his own and wrote one of the first books on the subject, Animated Photography: The ABC of the Cinematograph. His company continued to make films in this early style through 1926, but eventually ran out of money. To pay off debts, the receivership company melted down his films to get the silver, which was the reason most scholars thought his films were lost. In 2008, one of his films was discovered, and then “Alice.” There may still be others out there. You can find Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices. And the 1903 film listed in our other collection, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc.. Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.
President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) calls Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Beck Bennett), Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (Alex Moffat) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Kate McKinnon).
White House press secretary Sean Spicer (Melissa McCarthy) and secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos (Kate McKinnon) take questions from the press (Bobby Moynihan, Kristen Stewart, Cecily Strong, Vanessa Bayer, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day).
Thursday on the NewsHour, President Trump vows to drastically change the way church and state are separated during political campaigns. Also: What we know about a deadly raid by Navy SEALS in Yemen, how the president's aggressive approach affects world leaders, the economic hurdles to replacing Obamacare, a woman's mission to help girls in Liberia and a letter to U.S. presidents who owned slaves.
Get caught up in the newest creation from REESE'S: the mighty REESE'S PIECES Peanut Butter Cup. The classic REESE'S Cup and REESE'S PIECES come together to form one awesome combination. It'll blow your mind by way of your mouth.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something fun in this commercial. Perhaps it’s the unexpected whimsy of the Venus flytrap moment in combination with the music? It also looks far better in HD on a big screen…
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Directed by Harold Ramis. With Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky.
Doing quarterly viewing of Groundhog Day because one can’t just watch this one once a year.
AMC has it on all day if you don’t have your own personal well-worn copy.
For those who’ve never seen it, try watching all of the days simultaneously:
The Electoral College has affirmed Donald Trump as our 45th President. Here’s what you can do about it.
The Electoral College was designed to prevent just this sort of emergency.
Is the president-elect—who thinks he’s “ like a smart person”—content to hand America over to the Russians?
Why we urgently need a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s meddling in the election
Bill and his guests – Jane Fonda, Keith Olbermann, Heather McGhee, Tom Perez, and Jon Meacham – kick off Real Time's 15th season on HBO.
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Trump took time during his Inaugural address to talk about how the former President sucks, while Obama had to sit there as helpless as a damp Russian mattres...
A paid message from the Russian Federation
At the risk of being a wet blanket, Stephen refuses to engage in any kind of yellow journalism, despite the torrent of PEOTUS stories flooding the country. S...