Friday, January 7, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland - An X-Rated Musical Fantasy (1976)

Directed by:
Bud Townsend

Angel Barrett
Astrid Hayase
Kristin Steen
Juliet Graham
Kristine DeBell
Nancy Dare
Bree Anthony
Terri Hall
Alan Novak
Bruce Finklesteen
Ed Marshall
John Lawrence
Ron Nelson
Tony Richards

I either missed a central point of Alice, or it just wasn't super well-considered. In the beginning, Alice's (DeBell) boyfriend (Nelson) alludes to the fact that he'd like to have sex, but she wants nothing to do with it. Dejected, he leaves, pointing out that she's an adult, and adults in relationships have sex. All this lays the groundwork for an obvious transition to Wonderland where Alice will embark on sexual discovery, but instead, when she gets there, her stance is that she's been too busy growing up to have a childhood, so she's going to grow up again. Growing up "again" seems contradictory to the fact that she was still living life as a "girl" in Normalland.

The story of Alice in Wonderland is pretty impossible to play straight. By it's absurd nature, it can go in one of two ways: dark (see, for example, Through the Looking Glass) or light. This film (especially since it's a musical) tends towards the latter, although, in my opinion, not nearly enough. While there are a few quasi-zany moments (the White Rabbit's "The Queen's a bitch" aside, for example), much of the film is played well, just not particularly entertaining.

A few notes of interest:

1. A few cast members (Dare and Hall) were also in the aforementioned Through the Looking Glass;
2. It would be possible to convince a gullible friend that the actor that plays the Mad Hatter (Novak) is a young Jerry Seinfeld;
3. There is a "gag" in which two of the Queen's knights are gay, resulting in the King referring to them as "fags" in verse. Interestingly, though, neither the gag nor the slur actually seem malicious nor judgmental, merely matter-of-fact.

While reading about the Era's music (and music in Sexploitation films generally), I came across a blog that had Alice's soundtrack available for download. While the songs weren't bad - especially by adult film standards - I can't think of an occasion that I'd voluntarily listen to the soundtrack outside of the film.

The film's choreography, and the way the "action" is shot (although, unless I'm remembering incorrectly, there isn't any intercourse until nearly 45 minutes into the film - prior to that the scenes are manual or oral - which would be unthinkable by modern standards). The craft of the action-framing is especially impressive considering the director was one-and-done in adult.

While Alice is undoubtedly the best porn musical I've ever scene (admittedly in a field of one film), the novelty of it being a musical can't quite make up for the fact that it's not as "fun" as it could be. There is a lot in there that, handled slightly differently, could have been an all-timer, but as it stands I was left underwhelmed. B-


  1. Aw, I enjoyed this one. I think the hardcore pieces are inserts though. Oh, and I have two porn soundtracks that I listen to -- The Devil in Miss Jones (on vinyl), and The Opening of Misty Beethoven. They're both great.

    I tried to think of porn musicals, and the only one I can come up with (aside from Glee XXX) is Let My Puppets Come.

  2. Veronica Hart directed a Misty Beethoven musical in 2004 which I haven't seen because of (1) my general back log and (2) my post-'85 phobia, but should probably because (1) Veronica Hart and (2) Misty Beethoven....

  3. Eh...I wouldn't rush it to the top of your list...