Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard, Oliver Wallace and Cy Coban, Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert, Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston
Music Adapted and Arranged and Additional Music and Lyrics by Bryan Louiseile
Book Adapted and Additional Lyrics by David Simpatfco
Based on the 1 951 Disney Rim “Alice in Wonderland” and the novels “The AdvenSures of Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll
Directed by Penny Lynn Siler
Usually considered the most famous children’s books written in English (as well as distinguished examples of satire and verbal wit), Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking Glass (1871) had fascinated Walt Disney since his youth. The stories had been the source of Walt’s first major cartoon series, beginning with the 1923 short Alice’s Wonderland, which place a live-action girl in a cartoon world. In 1934, Disney sent Mickey Mouse Thru the Mirror in one of the most energetic and visually clever shorts of the decade. Considering a feature-length Alice in Wonderland, Walt and his team confronted a significant problem: Converting a beloved literary property to film inevitably disappoints some fans of the original books. (This challenge would also face Disney’s adaptations of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, and P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins)
Walt later expressed another storytelling challenge: that Alice had no real plight or danger other than being continually confronted by confusing circumstances. Without a genuine threat or compelling quest, Alice lacked disappointment was probably inevitable, for the same reasons that Alice has daunted every filmmaker who has tried to adapt it – at least a dozen since 1903. Although the story is a dream filled with nonsensical verse and fantastic character, the books’ themes are of growing up, death and extinction, and the arbitrariness of moral and social authority. Despite these challenges, Alice in Wonderland was approved for production in 1949, and the finished film contains some of Disney’s most fantastic art design (influenced by the style of Mary Blair), zany animation (showcasing the work of Ward Kimball), and memorable songs (I’m Late!”, “The Unbirthday Song”).