The Original Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel

Everyone knows Alice in Wonderland‘s connection with Oxford stems from it’s author Lewis Carroll. Significant inspiration for Alice abounds in Oxford from Christ Church to Alice’s Shop, the Thames and even Oxford University Press where the original printing plate of the mouse’s tail is kept.

Also, Alice’s Day is coming up! July 9 in Oxfordshire is completely devoted to Alice and her impact on the area, with fun events and programs for everyone.

I don’t want to give a long history of Alice in Oxford as you can find her everywhere, including the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Oxford. Instead, I want to share a really remarkable short film.

From the British Film Institute:

The first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll’s tale has recently been restored by the BFI National Archive from severely damaged materials. Made just 37 years after Lewis Carroll wrote his novel and eight years after the birth of cinema, the adaptation was directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, and was based on Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations. In an act that was to echo more than 100 years later, Hepworth cast his wife as the Red Queen, and he himself appears as the Frog Footman. Even the Cheshire cat is played by a family pet.

With a running time of just 12 minutes (8 of which survive), Alice in Wonderland was the longest film produced in England at that time. Film archivists have been able to restore the film’s original colours for the first time in over 100 years.

Music: ‘Jill in the Box’, composed and performed by Wendy Hiscocks. This restoration was supported by The Headley Trust and The Pilgrim Trust.”

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