Frame Grabs &Independent Animation 30 Sep 2010 06:16 am

Harman-Ising’s Alice

- The 1933 version of Alice In Wonderland, directed by Norman McLeod, is an interesting live action approach to an adaptation of Carroll’s classic. Something rarely discussed in animation circles is the Harman & Ising insert in the film, an animated version of the Walrus and the Carpenter. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum narrate the poem, and there’s constant cutting back and forth of the live storytellers and the animated story.

The animation is right out of the Warner Bros H-I style. Not very advanced, though it’s certainly serviceable (especially given some of the second-rate costumes in this film.) This was done, I would guess, right after Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising had left WB, and were out on their own – just prior to doing the Cubby cartoons for Van Buren and certainly prior to MGM. Alice In Wonderland is a Paramount release.

Here are some frame grabs – mostly of the animation. I’ve given a couple of shots of the Tweedles to give you the idea.

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(Click any image to enlarge.)

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The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might;
He did his very best to make the billows smooth and bright -

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And this was very odd, because it was the middle of the night.

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The Walrus and the Carpenter were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to to see such quantities of sand.

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“O Oysters come and walk with us!” The walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, along the briny beach.”

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“We cannot do with more than four, to give a hand to each.”

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The eldest Oyster looked at him, but never a word he said;
The eldest Oyster winked his eye, and shook his heavy head -

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Meaning to say he did not choose to leave the oyster-bed.

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But other Oysters hurried up, all eager for the treat.
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat -
And this was odd because, you know, they hadn’t any feet.

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Four other Oysters followed them; and yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,

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And more, and more, and more -
All hopping through the frothy waves, and scrambling to the shore.

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“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things;
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages – and kings -
And why the seas is boiling hot – and whether pigs have wings.”

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said, is what we chiefly need;
Pepper and vinegar besides are very good, indeed.”

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Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear, we can begin to feed.”

“But not on us! the Oysters cried, turning a little blue.
After such kindness that would be a dismal thing to do.”

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“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said, “To play them such a trick.

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After we’ve brought them out so far and made them trot so quick.”

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The Carpenter said nothing but, “The butter’s spread too thick!”

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“I weep for you,” the Walrus said. “I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears e sorted out those of the largest siize.

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“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter, “You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?”

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But answer there was none – And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

5 Responses to “Harman-Ising’s Alice”

  1. on 30 Sep 2010 at 9:33 am 1.Richard O'Connor said …

    This film comes up with regularity as stock footage in films and commercials (I’ll have to start keeping track) -almost as much as “The Snowman”.

    I suppose the copyright has lapsed like many of the Fleischer Paramount releases.

  2. on 30 Sep 2010 at 12:25 pm 2.Eric Noble said …

    Very interesting. I shall have to go back and reread the books and see this movie. I’m very interested in seeing this now.

  3. on 30 Sep 2010 at 12:26 pm 3.Paul Penna said …

    It’s not public domain, but still under copyright, now to Universal, which owns much of the pre-1948 Paramount library. There’s an official DVD that was released this year.

  4. on 30 Sep 2010 at 4:54 pm 4.Carl said …

    I haven’t watched this movie, but all of the stills I’ve seen from it make the characters look frightening. Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein creature would look downright handsome next to them!

  5. on 01 Oct 2010 at 11:48 am 5.Steven Hartley said …

    Yeah interesting that the Carpenter animation sticks to the John Tenniel illustrations although its not great and the animation isn’t as great, but that was 1933 and we didn’t have great technology back in those days – although I’m not too sure about the oysters animation and I rather much prefer Fred Moore’s oysters, in the later Disney adaptation.

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