• Alice In Wonderland (Subversive Cinema) DVD Review

    Released by: Subversive Cinema
    Released on: December 18th, 2007.
    Director: Bud Townsend
    Cast: Kristine DeBelle, Terri Hall, Larry Gelman, Alan Novak, Bree Anthony
    Year: 1976
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    Alice In Wonderland – Movie Review:

    Playboy cover model Kristine DeBell (photographed by Suze Randall for the April, 1976 issue) plays Alice, an attractive but rather stern young woman who spends her days working in the library and fending off advances from her sex-hungry boyfriend. Alice just won’t give in to him, and he’s getting a bit frustrated. After he takes off, she sings to herself and laments growing up too fast. She yearns to have her childhood back and before you know it, just as she does a white rabbit (Larry Gelman) shows up and leads her through the looking glass into Wonderland.

    She’s confused when she arrives but it doesn’t take her long to get into the swing of things. She meets up with a couple of promiscuous animals, both male and female, who help her to dry off. Her search for the white rabbit leads her to the Mad Hatter’s (Alan Novak) tea party where she finds out that the number on his hat doesn’t represent his hat size, rather the size of his ‘thingamajig’ which he then gives her permission to play with and eventually kiss. Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall and can’t get it up, so Alice helps him out using her newfound talent and soon enough she’s rolling around in the grass with Tweedle-Dee (Bree Anthony) and Tweedle-Dum (Tony Richards) before meeting up with the Red Queen and her court.

    This film follows Lewis Carroll’s story closer than you’d probably expect an adult film to, and the result is an enjoyable and quirky sex comedy complete with musical numbers, colorful and outlandish costumes, and goofy sets. Shot to cash in on the success of producer Bill Osco’s earlier Flesh Gordon, the adult version of Alice In Wonderland contains an interesting cast of notable adult film performers but the star of the show is definitely DeBell. She does a fine job with not only the doe-eyed nativity that the part requires but also with the sexier side of things, her Playboy experience likely coming in handy here.

    Subversive has included both the softcore and hardcore versions of the film and your appreciation of said cuts will depend completely on what you’re looking for. If you want a XXX movie, then obviously the hardcore version is going to be your preferred cut and if you’re looking for a sex comedy, you’ll want to watch the softcore edit and will likely find the hardcore footage (some of which is very obviously DeBell in action, some of which appears to be insert material) distracting and unnecessary. Either way, the picture is quite enjoyable. It’s playful, creative, and shot with a trained eye to ensure that it looks better than most adult productions past or present. It’s a very colorful and quirky production made all the more odd by the musical numbers (some of which are surprisingly well done and all of which are quite humorous).

    Alice In Wonderland – DVD Review:

    Subversive’s restored 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is solid. The shorter version looks better than the hardcore edit as the XXX scenes just weren’t available in as nice a condition as the other material was and so you will notice a shift in quality during that version of the film whenever the XXX material kicks in. Aside from that, there’s some grain and mild print damage from time to time and the picture shows its age but color reproduction is strong, though flesh tones show a slight orange tint in some scenes, and the detail levels are better than you might expect. There are no problems with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement and while this isn’t a reference quality transfer, it is certainly a big step above the treatment that most vintage adult films get on DVD.

    The only audio option is the original English language Dolby Digital Mono track. Things are a little bit flat in some scenes but you won’t have any problems understanding the performers and the levels are properly balanced from start to finish. Dialogue is clean and clear and the musical numbers sound quite good.

    The only extra, aside from the menus and chapter stops, is a thirty-seven minute featurette entitled Alice In Wonderland: Back Down The Rabbit Hole. Essentially, this is made up of three question and answer sessions, in a piece with star Larry Gelman, adult film actress Lena Ramone, and the one and only renascence man of porn, Mr. William Margold. This works out well as Gelman shares his memories of working on the film and his co-stars, Margold discusses its place in the annals of adult film history and Ramone gives a modern day perspective and interpretation of its importance. Between the three interviewees this turns out to be a genuinely interesting and completely entertaining look at the history and the influence of the film and those who worked on it. Unfortunately, although the soundtrack was originally meant to be included with the extras on this release, it was pulled at the last minute.

    Alice In Wonderland – The Final Word:

    A genuinely enjoyable and playfully sexy adult fairy tale, Subversive’s release of Alice In Wonderland is a whole lot of fun and it’s nice to see both versions of the picture preserved on this release. It’s a shame that the soundtrack couldn’t be included but the featurette is interesting and the film looks and sounds pretty decent considering its age, budget and origins.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      I still love this one. It's a solid dvd for sure. A keeper, unless of course a blu-ray eventually arrives.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Kristine DeBell was on the cover once but never a Playmate.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Fixed it.