Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Queen of Hearts, from Mary to Frank

 I have always loved Mary Blair's depictions of the Queen of Hearts for the film Alice in Wonderland.
A grotesque, brash, bossy and even dangerous monarch. Because of her stylized pre production imagery Mary went all out to portray this eccentric Queen with broad but effective brushstrokes.
ans as usual, her color choices for the character's environments were brilliant.
To quote Marc Davis: " Mary knew color better than Matisse." She had a way of putting colors together that surprised everybody, colors that you thought wouldn't work together.

Animator Frank Thomas took some of Mary's ideas, but transformed the character into a slightly more dimensional universe, in order to fit with the rest of the  cast. The essence of the Queen's personality remained the same, Frank just needed a bit more realism to portray her over the top performances in a believable way.
To me both graphic approaches helped to define this villainess and helped to establish her overbearing, but funny character traits.

A rough animated scene with the queen of Hearts showcasing an abrupt emotional outburst is featured in my new book on The Nine Old Men.


  1. I remember Frank saying once he got her personality from observing a woman in the audience at a Firehouse Five gig. So I got yer book for Christmas (Santa got my letter).So many great extended bits that showcase more keys. Especially things like the Country cousin bit with the big bite before the chewy bit. My only observation is that the book could have really benefited from a dvd or app that showed the keys in motion for study sake. I'm having fun going through my bluray collection, finding the scenes, and watching them slow that way. Perhaps a future re-release with a bonus disc of goodness. Let me know if you need help with something like that. Cheers from San Diego, and Happy New Year.

  2. Alice in Wonderland is one of my top 5 favorite Disney films, and the Queen of Hearts is one of my favorite Disney villains. On one hand, she wields enormous power and has a short temper, but on the other hand, she's completely ruled by her emotions. One minute she's ordering for Alice to be executed, and the next she stops everything to celebrate her unbirthday.

  3. she is hilarious
    (I thought her face was rather in the style of ward Kimball)