Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

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Thoroughly tired of all the silliness in Wonderland, Alice wants more than ever to go home. Fortunately (maybe), the Cheshire Cat has returned with one last piece of advice. if Alice really wants to go home, then she needs to talk to the Queen.

“All ways here you see, are the Queen’s ways.”

“But I’ve never met any Queen!”

“You haven’t? You HAVEN’T? Oh, but you must! She’ll be mad about you, simply mad!”

And so, the Cheshire Cat reveals a shortcut to the gardens surrounding the Queen’s castle (which also happen to be the same gardens Alice saw through the keyhole when she first arrived in Wonderland). It’s a very pretty garden, but there are some odd things going on. For instance…there’s a bunch of cards running around, and they’re busy painting the roses. When Alice asks the cards what on earth they’re doing, they are all quick to explain (and this is the setting of “Painting the Roses Red”:

Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red
We dare not stop
Or waste a drop
So let the paint be spread
We’re painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red

Oh, painting the roses red
And many a tear we shed
Because we know
They’ll cease to grow
In fact, they’ll soon be dead
And yet we go ahead
Painting the roses red
Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red

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Alice: Oh, pardon me,
But Mister Three,
Why must you paint them red?

Cards: Huh? Oh!
Three: Well, the fact is, Miss,
We planted the white roses by mistake,
And…

Cards: The Queen she likes ’em red
If she saw white instead,
Two: She’d raise a fuss
Ace: And each of us
Cards: Would quickly lose his head

Alice: Goodness!

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Cards: Since this is the part we dread
We’re painting the roses red

Alice: Oh, Dear! Then let me help you!

Alice: Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red
Don’t tell the Queen what you have seen
Or say that’s what we said
But we’re painting the roses red
Alice: Yes, painting the roses red
Two: Not pink
Ace: Not green
Alice: Not aquamarine
All: We’re painting the roses red!

It’s a hilarious song with a ridiculous concept: the Ace, Two and Three of Clubs have mistakenly planted white roses instead of red ones, and because the Queen hates white roses, they’re hastily covering their mistake by painting the roses red (even acknowledging in their song that this will kill the roses entirely). But the Cards figure that killing the roses in the short term is better than losing their heads so, they continue to paint. Alice is happy to help in the work, but it’s ultimately not going to do the Cards any good, because here comes the Queen!!

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Alice meets the Queen of Hearts

After the Hearts line up in formation, the White Rabbit reappears to announce: “Her Imperial Highness, Her Grace, Her Excellency, Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of Hearts!”

Unfortunately for the cards, they left one rose only half painted, causing the completely mad Queen to bellow “Whose been painting my roses red??” The guilty cards plea for mercy but the Queen only shouts “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!” The cards are then dragged away as the others sing:

“They’re going to lose their heads, for painting the roses red!”

I absolutely love this song: it’s short and to the point and serves as a nice piece of filler to introduce the Queen of Hearts to the story. Despite only appearing in this last part of the film, the Queen of Hearts is considered one of the iconic Disney villains. I hope you enjoyed listening to “Painting the Roses Red.”

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See also:

Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951)

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6 thoughts on “Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

  1. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951) | Film Music Central

  2. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951) | Film Music Central

  3. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland (1951) takes us down the rabbit hole | Film Music Central

  4. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951) | Film Music Central

  5. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951) | Film Music Central

  6. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland “Very Good Advice” (1951) | Film Music Central

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