59. Betty in Blunderland – Dave Fleischer

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SUMMARY: While attempting to complete an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ jigsaw, Betty Boop falls asleep and dreams herself into the lead role of Lewis Carroll’s classic story.

WHY IT’S HERE: As with ‘Snow White’ and ‘Poor Cinderella’, ‘Betty in Blunderland’ saw the Fleischers interpreting a literary children’s classic years before Disney did the same. ‘Betty in Blunderland’ is their version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and, to some extent, it feels like a dated cartoon for 1934. The Fleischers pack in almost every character you’d hope to see in a Lewis Carroll adaptation but at the cost of plot, the result being a return to the sort of song-and-dance based cartoon that most studios were increasingly moving away from. That said, in its comprehensive animated documentation of Carroll’s creations, ‘Betty in Blunderland’ is a delight and its major achievement is how, even in the space of seven minutes, it carefully characterises every one of these creations with a succinct piece of animation that immediately conjures up their literary counterpart. The depiction of these characters is so bold that one can’t help but speculate that ‘Betty in Blunderland’ influenced Disney’s takes on the same characters some seventeen years later.

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