By Randy A. Salas Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
In case you haven’t heard, Tim Burton’s wild interpretation of “Alice in Wonderland” hits theaters today. Rival studios obviously know the buzz the Disney film has created, because no fewer than five previous versions of the Lewis Carroll classic will arrive on DVD on Tuesday.
They prove that just about any cinematic trip through the looking glass is worth watching.
“Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland” (1933)
Pitch: “The original live-action classic.”
In a word: Faithful
Alice: Charlotte Henry, 19, creates the classic Alice look amid inventive sets and costumes.
Characters: W.C. Fields as Humpty-Dumpty, Gary Cooper as the White Knight and newcomer Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle
“Alice in Wonderland” (1966)
Pitch: “A feast for the imagination!”
In a word: Moody
Alice: Anne-Marie Mallik, 14, plays a disaffected Alice who ambles through a bizarre landscape born creatively from a low budget.
Characters: Michael Redgrave as the Caterpillar, Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts and John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle
Extras: The original 1903 silent film version (with scholar’s commentary), Dennis Potter’s 1965 telefilm about the story’s creation, a look at Ravi Shankar’s recording sessions, a photo gallery and insightful director’s commentary
“Alice in Wonderland” (1999)
Pitch: “Enter a world beyond your imagination.”
In a word: Fun
Alice: Tina Majorino, 14, helms a star-studded TV adaptation with truly special special effects.
Characters: Martin Short as the Mad Hatter, Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat and Ben Kingsley as the Caterpillar
“Abby in Wonderland” (2008)
Pitch: “All-new magical Sesame Street Adventure!”
In a word: Cute
Alice: Abby Cadabby leads the puppet-driven cast in this award-winning “Sesame Street” production with an educational bent.
Characters: Elmo as a red rabbit, Grover as the Mad Hatter and Oscar as the Grouch of Hearts
Pitch: “Welcome to a whole new Wonderland.”
In a word: Modern
Alice: Caterina Scorsone, 28, plays a grown Alice who ventures to a vivid land where casinos are built out of playing cards in this decidedly adult take, first aired as a SyFy miniseries.
Characters: Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts, Tim Curry as the Dodo and Harry Dean Stanton as the Caterpillar
Extras: Conversational commentary by writer-director Nick Willing and Scorsone
Price: $20 (Blu-ray, $30)