Sunday, April 5, 2015
Alice in Wonderland (1931)
Exploitation producer Bud Pollard's adaption of the Lewis Carroll tale is a real mixed bag.
Starring Broadway actress Ruth Gilbert in the title role the film was made on the cheap by Pollard in For Lee New Jersey. Pollard's sets look more like stage sets then film sets and the costumes vary from pretty good to down right terrible-several characters are just people with make up on while others have masks. It makes for a weird viewing experience
Actually I'm not sure what I think of the film other than I probably should get drunk to see it again. This is a road accident of a film that makes you stare at it and wonder what the filmmaker was thinking... then again it's from Pollard which means it was a money grab.
Pollard was one of the many exploitation bottom feeders who turned out quick films anyway he could. Many of his films were made for ethnic audiences or to fill an exploitation niche. They were frequently lacking in funding but could have some off kilter charm- this film has some weird charm.
I probably shouldn't be writing the film up but the film has some interesting notes that make it worth putting on your radar. First the film is the first sound version of the tale so it's the first time the dialog was heard on screen. The film actually got a release in a big NYC theater, The Warner and a more favorable review from the NY Times than you'd think. This last bit ties into my second reason for posting the film and that is some people like it. I had read about the film in connection with the big all star Alice that was release two years later. In reading on that film there were several referncces to this film saying that they liked this version (which was rushed back into theaters) better.
I've posted a link to the film above so feel free to make up your own mind.