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Alice in Wonderland; King Lear

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Alice in Wonderland (TV Movie - 1983)

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Kate Burton, Richard Burton, Colleen Dewhurst, Nathan Lane, Donald O'Connor, Maureen Stapleton
director:
Kirk Browning
distributor:
PBS
genre:
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Kids and Family

We gave it a B+

Who knew Wonderland was such a downer? This staged-for-the-cameras, Broadway revival of Alice in Wonderland isn’t as much fun as Lewis Carroll fans may remember. The real joy here is the star spotting: Kate Burton as Alice; her daddy, Richard, as the White Knight; Colleen Dewhurst as the Red Queen; Donald O’Connor as the Mock Turtle (who does a mean soft-shoe); and The Producers‘ Nathan Lane as the Mouse. If only they would smile more. Not that there’s much levity in King Lear—unless you count illegitimacy, eye-gouging, and James Earl Jones throwing a tantrum. Still, this will always be one of Shakespeare in the Park’s most beloved productions. Microphones are muffled by wind and the lighting isn’t exactly illuminating, but Jones’ regal presence—and the sight of a young, strapping Raul Julia (as the scheming bastard son of Paul Sorvino’s Gloucester)—trumps any technical imperfections. As DVDs, these Broadway Theatre Archive discs are pretty paltry—filmographies are the only extras; but as theatrical history, they’ll more than suffice. Alice: C+; Lear: B+