Everyone’s fussing about Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I won’t pass judgement until I see it this weekend – I’ve been bitten and cuddled by Burton’s films in roughly equal measure over the years (Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!Sweeney Todd all had their share of joys, and I seem to be able to love and hate Sleepy Hollow simultaneously), so I’ll wait and see how it turns out. In the meantime, one of the happy upshots of the film’s release is increased attention to Cecil Hepworth’s 1903 adaptation, and the BFI National Archive’s efforts in restoring it. You can see the whole film here.
So, while we’re bringing to light antecedents to Burton’s 3D Disneyfest, I offer to you the Picture of the Week, which is actually twenty-four pictures of magic lantern slides that tell the story of Alice. These would have been projected onto a screen by a lanternist, who would also provide the narration that links them together in narrative sequence. You can see the full set of slides at the website of their current home at The Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture. They’re based on the illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, but have been adjusted to dodge copyright infringement.