Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Jonathan Miller's Alice In Wonderland (Again)

If you didn't know the book you'd be baffled by the movie, but everybody knows the book, so no problem.

It marks the point in British cultural history when- after decades of contempt- Victoriana became cool. Watching it now I find myself falling in love again with the clothes, the hairstyles, the clutter, the hymns. 

The casting is so odd- and touching. The very old Finlay Currie- craggy Scots patriarch of a hundred Saturday afternoon classics- in dialogue with the very young Alan Bennett, the sublime John Gielgud dancing the lobster quadrille with bad-boy journalist turned Christian moralist Malcolm Muggeridge, thirteen year old Anne-Marie Mallick- the non-professional- treating the assorted show-offs  with detached contempt, asking questions they sidestep or refuse to answer. 

It's as if Miller had gathered his mates together for a lazy summer's afternoon of fun and frolics- and some of them were very famous and some of them weren't.  Great actors of several generations- Gielgud, Redgrave, Sellers- rub shoulders with the Footlights gang.  Keep your eyes peeled and you'll spot a very young Eric Idle in a non-speaking role.

If Julia Margaret Cameron (whose work Miller studied in preparation) could have made a movie it would have looked like this. 
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