Alice in Cartoon Land DVD features 13 Walt Disney Raytone Pictures live action cartoons dating from 1925. Ten of these are an interesting and pretty successful for its time mix of the live character Alice and the antics of her Felix style cat Julius. The other 3 cartoons on this DVD are Krazy Kids. The Walt Disney Alice cartoons were transferred from the 35mm nitrate negatives and include a musical score added later on when sound became something possible. The only way these Disney cartoons could be better restored would be if someone retouched each frame by hand. Yes, some of the frames go from light grey to dark grey but I doubt you can expect any better.
Fans of the early days of the cartoon will perhaps bemoan the added on later musical and sometimes vocal soundtrack but if they want the original feel of these 1925 classics all they have to do is use the mute button. Personally, I didn't mind the music but the vocal soundtrack did get on my nerves somewhat.
It is hard to believe the people at Walt Disney, known throughout the world for their most generous attitude when it comes to sharing what they believe Disney owns -these are the people who sued the city of Winnipeg for copyright infringement for having a Winnie The Pooh statue- have not gone to the Supreme Court, the United Nations, and the Federation of Planets to block this release.
By modern standards these black and white pencil and ink drawing Alice cartoons may look simple but you have to admire the imagination that went behind the gags and the skills necessary to incorporate a live action character, Alice (played by Margie Gay, Lois Hardwick, Dawn Evelyn Paris, or Virginia Davis -the original), to the cartoon. You also have to remember that many of the cartoon jokes you are used to seeing were originals back when.
Even by today's standards these cartoons are quite enjoyable story wise. I particularly liked Alice's Tin Pony about a train robbery, and Alice's Egg Plant where Alice and Julius, the Felix like character, battle a rooster blocking the hens from producing their quota. The chase scene in Alice the Jail Bird is pretty cool too. I was less impressed with a day at the beach and battle the bad guy Alice Solves the Puzzle and the Krazy Kids Kartunes, although the scene with the cop in Hitting the Trail was quite original.
Fans of Max Fleischer's Koko the Clown will recognize the out of the inkwell beginning of Alice Chops the Suey. Others might get the politically corrects and object to the Alice being kidnapped for white slavery by Chinese-looking mice or rats.
If you are an animation fan or a devotee of the first cartoons, you will most certainly enjoy this 13 cartoon DVD set of very early Walt Disney short animated features.
Alice in Cartoonland 35mm Collector's Set features:
Alice's Orphans, 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, and Alice Solves the Puzzle. The Krazy Kids Cartoons (also known as Krazy Kids Kartunes) are North of Nowhere, Hitting the Trail, and Whales Everywhere.
Extra features also include a text based "Alice in Hollywood" history of these early Disney classics which in itself is really interesting.