Alex in Wonderland (1970)

R | 109 mins | Comedy-drama | 18 December 1970

Director:

Paul Mazursky

Producer:

Larry Tucker

Cinematographer:

Laszlo Kovacs

Production Designer:

Pato Guzman

Production Company:

Coriander Productions
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HISTORY

In 17 Sep 1969 LAT and Var news items, Alex in Wonderland was announced as an upcoming collaboration between Mike Frankovich, Paul Mazursky, Larry Tucker, and Columbia Pictures, whose Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, see entry) premiered the night before at the New York Film Festival. Six months later, the 20 Mar 1970 DV reported that Frankovich and Columbia had left the project over “basic conceptual differences between all concerned.” The split was said to be amicable, and Tucker and Mazursky planned to continue working on the film through their joint venture, Coriander Productions. Within days of Columbia’s departure, the 23 Mar 1970 DV confirmed that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. had stepped in to produce and distribute, with production set to begin on 11 May 1970.
       Writer-director Mazursky and co-writer Tucker used their own experiences as a newly successful filmmaking team in Hollywood as the inspiration for Alex in Wonderland, according to an interview in the 26 Jul 1970 NYT. Mazursky stated that in real life he had been offered opportunities to direct films about Lenny Bruce and Malcolm X, which they incorporated into the script. The two also wrote a slight variation on an interaction Mazursky had with a producer following the debut of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, in which he was offered a choice of projects and a Marc Chagall painting hanging on the producer’s office wall. According to an article in the 30 Aug 1970 LAT, Mazursky and Tucker decided to end their partnership after Alex in Wonderland. The two ... More Less

In 17 Sep 1969 LAT and Var news items, Alex in Wonderland was announced as an upcoming collaboration between Mike Frankovich, Paul Mazursky, Larry Tucker, and Columbia Pictures, whose Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, see entry) premiered the night before at the New York Film Festival. Six months later, the 20 Mar 1970 DV reported that Frankovich and Columbia had left the project over “basic conceptual differences between all concerned.” The split was said to be amicable, and Tucker and Mazursky planned to continue working on the film through their joint venture, Coriander Productions. Within days of Columbia’s departure, the 23 Mar 1970 DV confirmed that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. had stepped in to produce and distribute, with production set to begin on 11 May 1970.
       Writer-director Mazursky and co-writer Tucker used their own experiences as a newly successful filmmaking team in Hollywood as the inspiration for Alex in Wonderland, according to an interview in the 26 Jul 1970 NYT. Mazursky stated that in real life he had been offered opportunities to direct films about Lenny Bruce and Malcolm X, which they incorporated into the script. The two also wrote a slight variation on an interaction Mazursky had with a producer following the debut of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, in which he was offered a choice of projects and a Marc Chagall painting hanging on the producer’s office wall. According to an article in the 30 Aug 1970 LAT, Mazursky and Tucker decided to end their partnership after Alex in Wonderland. The two worked together again, however, on the Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice sitcom, which aired for one season on ABC between 26 Sep 1973 and 7 Nov 1973.
       A production chart in the 15 May 1970 DV confirmed principal photography began in Southern California on 11 May 1970. In Hollywood, CA, a battle sequence was shot on a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard outside the Musso & Frank Grill, according to the 29 Nov 1970 LAT, and Mazursky’s own home in south Hollywood served as the residence that appeared in a house-hunting sequence, the 26 Jul 1970 NYT stated. Other filming took place on the MGM studio lot in Culver City, CA. For the sequence in which Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini appeared as himself, Mazursky, Tucker, and Sutherland traveled to Rome, Italy, for a day of shooting there. Supplemental filming with Fellini stand-ins was done in Los Angeles, as noted in the 16 Jul 1970 DV.
       The world premiere took place at the Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA, on 17 Dec 1970. That day’s DV stated that the event was expected to raise over $7,000 for the Los Angeles Free Clinic. Regular screenings in Los Angeles began the following day, on 18 Dec 1970, and a New York City opening ensued on 22 Dec 1970. Although critical reception was tepid, Mazursky’s turn as “Hal Stern” was acknowledged as the runner-up for Best Supporting Actor by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, as stated in the 29 Dec 1970 NYT.
       Hal Marshall was listed as the casting director in a 12 Mar 1970 DV brief, and the 6 May 1970 Var named Tom Miller as the unit publicist. Teri Hope Redack and Cherie Latimer were cast in the film, according to the 1 Jun 1970 LAT and 9 Jun 1970 DV. The picture marked the feature film debuts of four-year-old Glenna Sergent, and twelve-year-old Meg Mazursky, who was the real-life daughter of Paul Mazurksy. Choreographer Paula Kelly was set to appear as herself in a beach dance sequence, the 25 Jun 1970 Los Angeles Sentinel noted.
       The songs "The Little Theatre" and "Juliet's Rainbow" are from the score of Fellini's 1965 film, Juliet of the Spirits; and "Le rêve est là" is the theme music from François Truffaut's 1962 film, Jules and Jim. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Mar 1970
p. 14.
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1970
p. 1.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1970
p. 1.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 May 1970
p. 6.
Daily Variety
29 May 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1970
p. 7.
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1970
p. 3, 28.
Los Angeles Sentinel
4 Jun 1970
Section B, p. 3A.
Los Angeles Sentinel
25 Jun 1970
Section B, p. 3A.
Los Angeles Sentinel
17 Dec 1970
Section B, p. 5A.
Los Angeles Times
17 Sep 1969
Section F, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jun 1970
Section E, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1970
Section M, p. 1, 30.
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1970
Section H, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1970
Section P, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1970
Section I, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 1970
Section K, p. 30.
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1970
Section I, p. 1, 20.
New York Times
26 Jul 1970
pp. 11-12.
New York Times
23 Dec 1970.
---
New York Times
29 Dec 1970.
---
Variety
17 Sep 1969
p. 5.
Variety
1 Oct 1969
p. 3, 66.
Variety
6 May 1970
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Music ed
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Loc mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Hooray for Hollywood," words and music by Richard A. Whiting and Johnny Mercer, sung by Doris Day
"Le vrai scandale," words and music by Antoine Duhamel and Jeanne Moreau
"Le rêve est là," words and music by Georges Delerue and Jeanne Moreau, sung by Jeanne Moreau
+
SONGS
"Hooray for Hollywood," words and music by Richard A. Whiting and Johnny Mercer, sung by Doris Day
"Le vrai scandale," words and music by Antoine Duhamel and Jeanne Moreau
"Le rêve est là," words and music by Georges Delerue and Jeanne Moreau, sung by Jeanne Moreau
"The Little Theatre" and "Juliet's Rainbow," words and music by Nino Rota
"Over the Rainbow," words by E. Y. Harburg, music by Harold Arlen
"Time on Your Side," words and music by Howlett Smith, performed by Howlett Smith
"Ja-Le-Man-Si" and "O-Me-Ya-Wa-Do," words and music by John Broughton and Stanley Brown, performed by Hassan and His Afros.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 December 1970
Premiere Information:
Beverly Hills premiere: 17 December 1970
Los Angeles opening: 18 December 1970
New York opening: 22 December 1970
Production Date:
began 11 May 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Coriander Productions
Copyright Date:
30 December 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38518
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22669
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Alex, a Hollywood film director with a family and one successful but unreleased film to his credit, begins to search for ideas for his next film. He visits Hal Stern, a producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who suggests that they do a film about a black girl who has a heart transplant and falls in love with her white surgeon. Alex rejects the idea and contemplates making a film about the invasion of Beverly Hills by black militants. He also fantasizes about meeting in Rome, Italy, with director Federico Fellini; filming the machine-gunning of his family on Hollywood Boulevard; and meeting actress Jeanne Moreau, who sings a song to him. Meanwhile, his wife, Beth, grows more impatient with him during their attempts to find a new house. Alex takes LSD with his friend Andre, but when he tries to describe his experience to Beth, she begins crying, frustrated with his aimlessness. At a school play in which his daughter Amy has a role, Alex imagines various characters from Fellini films parading by. Finally he and Beth buy an expensive house, and Alex is momentarily ... +


Alex, a Hollywood film director with a family and one successful but unreleased film to his credit, begins to search for ideas for his next film. He visits Hal Stern, a producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who suggests that they do a film about a black girl who has a heart transplant and falls in love with her white surgeon. Alex rejects the idea and contemplates making a film about the invasion of Beverly Hills by black militants. He also fantasizes about meeting in Rome, Italy, with director Federico Fellini; filming the machine-gunning of his family on Hollywood Boulevard; and meeting actress Jeanne Moreau, who sings a song to him. Meanwhile, his wife, Beth, grows more impatient with him during their attempts to find a new house. Alex takes LSD with his friend Andre, but when he tries to describe his experience to Beth, she begins crying, frustrated with his aimlessness. At a school play in which his daughter Amy has a role, Alex imagines various characters from Fellini films parading by. Finally he and Beth buy an expensive house, and Alex is momentarily content. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.