The Cox Brothers as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

I was watching William Sterling’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1972) and taking particular delight in the performances of Frank and Fred Cox as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, a very poor recording of which you can watch here. Their performances, the music and cinematography, in my opinion make for one of the more interesting scenes in the film, despite Peter Sellers playing the March Hare and Dudley Moore as the Dormouse. Spike Milligan is good as the Gryphon, but the Cox brothers manage a certain ethereal magic, an otherworldly sensibility that reaches out to dialogue with Alice rather than simply running lines and speaking at her, which is the usual and how it is throughout much of the film. They give heart to their characters that others aren’t able to manage. They make them real, and because they are real they are able to connect with Alice in a way that transcends the superficial froth and farce. Their battle is ridiculous, but the determination of their engagement, however corralled, gives the fight mythic proportions.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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