Alice in Wonderland (1976)

USA,
72m [UK, with cuts], 78m [USA – R-rated version], 81m [USA – X-rated version], 6480 feet (UK)
35mm, colour
mono, English
Reviewed at The

An American pornographic musical by director Bud Townsend based on the books by Lewis Carroll.

Plot Summary

Innocent young librarian Alice offends her would-be lover William when she rejects his advances. Upset by the encounter, she falls asleep while reading and a white rabbit appears, taking her to a sexual Wonderland where she quickly learns that William may not have been so bad after all.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Bud Townsend
Copyright 1976 by Cruiser Productions Inc.
Essex Pictures Company presents a William Osco/Bud Townsend film
Executive Producer: T. Cruiser
Produced by: William Osco
Screenplay: B. Anthony Fredericks [real name: Frederick A. Searles Jr]
Based on book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Director of Photography: Joseph Bardo
Film Editor: Shaun Walsh
Music and Lyrics: Bucky Searles [real name: Frederick A. Searles Jr]
Sound Recordist: William Wang
Costume Design and Wardrobe by: Sarah
Art Director: Ed Duquette

Cast
Kristine DeBell as Alice
Bradford Armdexter (Humpty Dumpty)
Gila Havana (Black Knight's Girl)
Ron Nelson (William)
Alan Novak (Mad Hatter)
J.P. Paradine (Scrugg/doctor)
Jerry Spelman (White Rabbit)
Sue Tsengoles [real name: Bree Anthony] (Tweedledum)
Tony Tsengoles (Tweedledee)
Angel Barrett (juror)
Nancy Dare (nurse)
Bruce Finklesteen (Black Knight)
Juliet Graham (Queen of Hearts)
Terri Hall (nurse)
Astrid Hayase (tart)
John Lawrence (King of Hearts)
Ed Marshall (juror)
Melvina Peoples (juror)
Marcia Raven (juror)
Chris Steen (Oogaloo)
Jason Williams (White Knight)

Alternative Titles

Alicia en el país de las pornomaravillas – Spanish title
Alice nel paese delle pornomeraviglie – Italian title
Alicja w krainie czarów – Polish title

Extracts included in
The Best of Sex and Violence (1981)
Bucky's '70s Triple XXX Movie House Trailers Vol. 3 (1995)

Production Notes

Release
Producer Bill Osco used the release of the film to campaign against the strictures of the MPAA's “X” rating, arguing that his film – which he described as “softcore” despite the existence of a hardcore version – shouldn't have been included with hardcore titles. He told Variety 1Variety 9 July 1976 p.6 (Osco Sings The X-­Rated Blues) that he wanted to see a single “X” for what he called “respectable ” that contained sex scenes and a triple-“X” rating for hardcore films. Osco had only recently opted for a self-imposed “X” rating for Alice although he was convinced that the film would have been awarded an “R” rating by the MPAA. Having opted for the “X” as part of his marketing campaign, Osco complained that he'd lost the opportunity to screen the film at a showcase at Mann's Chinese on Hollywood Blvd. and had been subject to censorship restrictions for his advertising in the L.A. Times.

But ratings and advertising were soon to be the least of Osco's worries. On 2 September 1976, Frederick A. Searles Jr went to the New York Federal Court to try to get further screenings of the film stopped, claiming that Osco had infringed on copyrighted material that Searles had written the previous May under the title Glad Alice in Wonderland. Searles – who is credited on the film as providing music and lyrics under the name Bucky Searles – claimed that Osco had placed an option on his script but had never actually bought the rights, his suit claiming that the film “was copied largely from the plaintiff's copyrighted materials.” Osco, distributors General National Films and cinema chains United Artists Eastern Theatres and Ted Mann Theatres were named as co-defendants. 2Variety for 3 September 1976 pp.1, 10 (Injunction to bar further showings of ‘Alice' sought)], Variety 8 September 1976 p.5 (Everybody In The Act Except Lewis Carroll In “Wonderland' Suit).

Press

1976
Variety 8 September 1976 p.20 (USA)
“Osco, director Bud Townsend and scripter B.A. Fredericks have encapsulated the familiar Wonderland confrontations in lushly rustic settings with all the charm of the local massage parlor. Bucky Searles' lyrics and music are surprisingly adroit, lending strong support to the bouncy, innocent air the film tries for. And, ironically, the film's most interesting performers are two femmes with a number of hardcore credits. Bree Anthony portrays one of the Tweedle-Dum-Tweedle Dee pairing and, in one sex scene, gives the film's only really erotic performance. Terry Hall as one of the Wonderland handmaidens dances with energy and skill. As for DeBell, she proves a blond, lean and credible Alice, who shows remarkable grace in jumping through waterfalls. Overall production credits are good.” – from a review by Sege

1977
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.524 (September 1977) p.187 (UK)
“The script's only half-decent joke is a thoroughly ancient chestnut (“Who”, asks a previously unseen pin-up, “do I have to fuck to get out of this movie?”) and its tuneless lyrics (the film is billed, with some nerve, as the “first X-rated musical”) never rise above the level of “What's a nice girl like you doing on a knight like this?” or “Humpty Dumpty can't get his ding-a-ling up”. Bill Osco (perpetrator, before this, of Flesh Gordon) has reportedly inflicted similar treatment on The Wizard of Oz, in which case one would be well advised in future to steer very clear of yellow brick roads.” – from a review by Clyde Jeavons

References

Periodicals

  • Continental Film Review vol.24 no.3 (January 1977) pp.12-13 – illustrated review
  • Daily Variety 9 July 1976 p.6 (USA) – article (Osco Sings The X-Rated Blues)
  • Film Review Digest vol.2 no.1 (Fall 1976) p.1 – reprinted review
  • Films and Filming vol.23 no.12 (September 1977) p.35 – review (by Julian Fox)
  • Films Illustrated vol.6 no.72 (August 1977) p.448 – review (by David Quinlan)
  • Films Illustrated vol.7 no.79 (March 1978) p.273 – note (Release information)
  • The Listener vol.98 no.2520 (4 August 1977) p.151 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.524 (September 1977) p.187 – credits, synopsis, review (by Clyde Jeavons)
  • Rhesus O no.4 p.23 – credits, review
  • Screen International no.99 (6 August 1977) p.16 – credits, review
  • Variety 10 March 1976 p.5 – note (Bill Osco talking ‘Wonderland' at Par)
  • Variety 16 June 1976 p.28 – note (New York Sound Track)
  • Variety 7 July 1976 p.32 – note (Osco Argues For Two-Tier X-Ing)
  • Variety 11 August 1976 p.3 – note (‘Oz' kids classic, converts to porno)
  • Variety 3 September 1976 pp.1, 10 – note (Injunction to bar further showings of ‘Alice' sought)
  • Variety 8 September 1976 pp.5; 20 – (Everybody In The Act Except Lewis Carroll In “Wonderland' Suit); credits, review (by Sege)

Newspapers

  • Albuquerque Journal 9 September 1976 p.C-3 – review (Alice in Wonderland has message by David Eden)
  • Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania) 25 June 1976 p.18 – illustrated review (Alice leaves morals behind by Lou Gaul)
  • Los Angeles Times 24 June 1976 pt.IV p.15 – review (by Kevin Thomas)

Books

  • Elliot's Guide to Films on Video p.15 – credits
  • Film Review 1978-79 by F. Maurice Speed p.137-138 – credits, review
  • The X-Rated Videotape Guide I by Robert H. Rimmer (third edition) p.59 – credits, review