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The Wednesday Play - Alice in Wonderland

UK 1966
produced by
Jonathan Miller for BBC
directed by Jonathan Miller
starring Anne-Marie Mallik, Wilfrid Brambell, Peter Cook, Michael Gough, Wilfrid Lawson, Alison Leggatt, Peter Sellers, Leo McKern, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Alan Bennett, Finlay Currie, Geoffrey Dunn, Mark Allington, Nicholas Evans, Julian Jebb, John Bird, Anthony Trent, Avril Elgar, Gordon Gostelow, Peter Eyre, Malcolm Muggeridge, David Battley, Freda Bowie, Charles Lewson, Jo Maxwell Muller, Eric Idle, Angelo Muscat
screenplay by Jonathan Miller, based on the novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, music by Ravi Shankar

TV show
The Wednesday Play, Alice in Wonderland

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The White Rabbit (Wilfrid Brambell) lures young Alice (Anne-Marie Mallik) away from a picinic with her sister (Jo Maxwell Muller), into a world she fails to fully understand, where she forgets everything, and where she seems to be unable to remain consistent in size for more than two minutes. In this wonderland, she meets all kinds of weird characters, including the Duchess (Leo McKern) and the Mock Turtle (John Gielgud), has an absurd teaparty with the Mad Hatter (Peter Cook), the March Hare (Michael Gough) and the Dormouse (Wilfrid Lawson), and finally has an encounter with the Queen of Hearts (Alison Leggatt), who soon enough orders her to be executed by beheading, but not before having a mock trial headed by her absent-minded husband the King (Peter Sellers), a trial that leads exactly nowhere but ends in chaos when Alice grows to gigantic size and ... wakes up on the meadows she had the picnic with her sister.

 

A film that's very episodic in nature, and made up of bizarre episodes that might require the reading of Lewis Carroll's novel to fully comprehend - even if the novel is episodic and bizarre as well.

Anyways, while the film is not totally comprehensible, it's fascinating as well: Somehow the whole thing manages to tell its surreal fantasy story without any special effects, not even special makeup (all animal characters are played by plain humans), and yet it's atmospheric and often avant garde direction, its perfect use of period sets provides the film with a other-worldly and slightly creepy mood all of its own, helped also by the weird but perfectly fitting music by Ravi Shankar. Add to that a great ensemble cast, and Anne-Marie Mallik making a wonderful, slightly savage Alice, and you've got a very interesting movie.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD