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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Shorts > Live Action > Alice in Cartoon Land by Walt Disney (VCI/DVD/13 Cartoons)

Alice in Cartoon Land by Walt Disney (VCI/DVD/13 Cartoons)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Shorts: B

 

 

It is amazing that with Disney Studios being so tight fisted with their property that VCI would be able to release this surprising well crafted DVD compilation.  Now on DVD is Alice in Cartoon Land by Walt Disney (13 Cartoons).  The Alice Comedies were produced by Walt Disney between 1923 and 1927, having 57 cartoon shorts in all.  The cartoon/live action fantasy shorts were extremely successful for the time and starred a live action girl named Alice and an entertaining animated (overlaid) cat named Julius, among other cartoon cohorts.  The shorts were made possible due to Walt Disney’s and Winkler Studio’s belief in the Alice Comedies concept.

 

Walt Disney in reality went bankrupt while working with the famous Ub Iwerks shortly after creating the original Alice short Alice’s Wonderland (available on the Disney Treasure’s Collection, Disney Rarities) and returned to California to find a distributor for his floundering project; enter Winkler Studios.  Overall, the cartoon shorts definitely show their age but are amazingly interesting in showing how the world has changed.  Though intended for all audiences the theatrically distributed shorts place the little girl Alice in a variety of harsh and at times ethically questionable situations; ranging from bootlegging to getting run over by a train.  The shorts even managed to jump into the land of satire with the short Alice’s Egg Plant, which acted as an anti-union propaganda short surprisingly.  Kids of all ages will still enjoy this nostalgic spoonful of Americana produced by the early years of Walt Disney.  One thing is for sure, that Alice is one tough cookie.

 

The episodes included on this One-Disc set are as follows:

 

Alice’s Orphan

Alice’s Tin Pony

Alice in the Jungle

Alice’s Balloon Race

Alice Chops the Suey

Alice the Whaler

Alice Rattled by Rats

Alice’s Egg Plant

Alice the Jail Bird

Alice Solves the Puzzle

 

 

Disney noticeably drew inspiration from the Alice shorts for future ventures.  Future characters such as Mickey Mouse (Ike the Mouse) and Pete (Black Pete) most definitely came from the early work Disney did on the Alice Shorts.  Black Pete made his first appearance in the short Alice Solves the Puzzle and soon become a common Alice antagonist.

 

The technical features on the DVD (as VCI promotes) are quite nice having been transferred directly from the 35mm nitrate negatives.  The picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 Full Screen image that is Black and White.  With a full running time of 92 minutes for all the shorts the picture remains balanced but does have some clarity issues at times, now whether this is due to improper restoration or just the way the shorts were originally filmed is not know.  Some debris does exist.  The sound is presented in a no frills Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and often times sounds distant, but then again sound is by no means a main focus of these 1925-1927 shorts.  Extras included on this jam packed DVD are Trailers, Bios, and three extra ‘Krazy Kids’ cartoon shorts (retitled from the Life Cartoon Comedy shorts).  These extra shorts include North to Nowhere, Hitting the Trail, and Whales Everywhere.

 

Viewers everywhere should take the time to dive into the Cartoon Land past and grab this rare collection of shorts while you still can.  Who knows what kind of adventure Alice could take you on?!

 

 

-   Michael P Dougherty II


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