Cinema: In Wonderland

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As Alice wanders on, she meets still more Wonderland characters. The Queen of Hearts (May Robson) orders off with her head. The King of Hearts (Alec Fran cis) countermands the order. At the tea-party of the Mad Hatter (Edward E. Horton), Alice is duly depressed when he and the March Hare (Charles Ruggles) try to put the Dormouse (Jackie Searl) into the teapot. The Gryphon (William Austin) introduces her to the Mock Turtle (Gary Grant) who sings for her his gloomy accolade to soup. When preposterous, pot bellied Tweedledee (Roscoe Karns) be gins to recite his poem, Tweedledum (Jack Oakie) opens the door of a small contraption resembling a birdhouse to exhibit Walrus, Carpenter and Oysters capering sadly in a Walt Disney cartoon. She meets the lugubrious White Knight (onetime Cowboy Actor Gary Cooper) who, between falls from his horse to which a stepladder is attached, explains to her about his invention for getting over fences. When Humpty Dumpty (W. C. Fields) falls off his wall, the calm cavalry of the White King (Ford Sterling) arrives to re assemble him. Finally, Alice arrives at a wild dinner party, where the Leg of Mutton (Jack Duffy) sneers at her, the Plum Pudding (George Ovey) objects to being sliced, and where, in a sudden state of nightmare alarm, the White Queen screams "Take care, something's going to happen!'' Alice, squirming in her chair at the table, suddenly finds herself back in the embroidered chair in her own drawing room with her own placid cat purring in her lap. Partly because his gnarled, poetic non sense refreshes a realistic age and partly because it contains the key to a character that would now be a wonderland for any well-informed psychiatrist, Lewis Carroll has become the idol of a cult. What Carroll cultists will think of the cinema version of Alice in Wonderland is even more difficult to predict than the reactions of normal U. S. cinema audiences. One thing in the picture which neither class is likely to object to and which children will probably like best of all is Alice herself. In a script sequence the King of Hearts asks Alice: "What do you know about this business?" If the King were speaking of the cinema business, Charlotte Henry would have been obliged to answer him truthfully: "Not much." That fact principally explains the charm of her performance.

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