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Disney’s Alice Comedies: A Life of Illusion and the Illusion of Life

Disney’s Alice Comedies: A Life of Illusion and the Illusion of Life Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) have inspired various Disney texts, including the studio’s Alice comedies of 1923—27, the films that essentially brought the company into being. This early series helped shape Disney’s development of a film mode, that of hybrid animation, which would pay dividends throughout the studio’s history, and despite their often crude style, forecast the studio’s ongoing efforts at negotiating the relationship between the real and the fantastic, including its development of a ‘house style’ that would become known as the ‘illusion of life’. This article examines these foundational texts particularly in light of their emphasis on a hybrid style — i.e. their combination of live-action and animation — which necessitated a greater awareness of realistic spatial issues, as they invited audiences to enter into a fantasy space, to undertake the same sort of liminal explorations as Lewis Carroll’s Alice. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal SAGE

Disney’s Alice Comedies: A Life of Illusion and the Illusion of Life

Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal , Volume 5 (3): 10 – Nov 1, 2010

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2010
ISSN
1746-8477
eISSN
1746-8485
DOI
10.1177/1746847710377574
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) have inspired various Disney texts, including the studio’s Alice comedies of 1923—27, the films that essentially brought the company into being. This early series helped shape Disney’s development of a film mode, that of hybrid animation, which would pay dividends throughout the studio’s history, and despite their often crude style, forecast the studio’s ongoing efforts at negotiating the relationship between the real and the fantastic, including its development of a ‘house style’ that would become known as the ‘illusion of life’. This article examines these foundational texts particularly in light of their emphasis on a hybrid style — i.e. their combination of live-action and animation — which necessitated a greater awareness of realistic spatial issues, as they invited audiences to enter into a fantasy space, to undertake the same sort of liminal explorations as Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

Journal

Animation: An Interdisciplinary JournalSAGE

Published: Nov 1, 2010

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