Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951)

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Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951)

When you break Alice in Wonderland down, it’s obvious that the film is really a series of isolated stories tied together by the narrative of Alice exploring Wonderland. One such story is “The Walrus and the Carpenter” as told to the wandering Alice by Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. I’ve been tempted several times to include this scene in my Disturbing Disney series because of one particular moment, but for now I’ll let you decide for yourselves if it’s disturbing or not.

As Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum narrate: A Walrus and a Carpenter are walking along a beach one day, which could be cleared of all its sand in half a year (the carpenter says) as long as you don’t mind the work involved that is.

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Work!!? (the Walrus is clearly averse to doing any work whatsoever) In fact, whenever the subject of work (or any kind of labor) is mentioned, the Walrus launches into this tune:

The time has come to talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings
Calloo-Callay
No work today!
We’re cabbages and kings

The carpenter then spots a bed of oysters in the ocean nearby, and being dreadfully hungry, points them out to the Walrus, who wants them as well. Thus, he marches into the ocean (while the carpenter builds a restaurant from scratch) and entices the oysters to follow him saying:

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Oh, uh, Oysters, come and walk with us
The day is warm and bright
A pleasant walk
A pleasant talk
Would be a sheer delight

Even though Mother Oyster advises all her oyster children to remain in their beds, the Walrus wins out by blustering on:

Yes, yes, of course, of course, but, uh, ha, ha!

The time has come, my little friends
To talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings, ha ha
Callo-Callay
Come, run away
With cabbages and kings!

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And so the oysters march off behind the Walrus and this is where it starts to get disturbing. For the oysters aren’t just oysters, they now run along the beach like little girls in dresses and bonnets (with happy smiling faces), which makes what happens next all the more menacing. The Walrus marches the oyster girls straight into the ready-made restaurant, and after sending the Carpenter away on a wild goose chase, draws the oyster girls in ever closer

Well, yes, yes, splendid idea, ha ha!
Very good, indeed
Now, if you’re ready, Oysters, dear
We can begin the feed

(Oysters): FEED??

Oh, yes…

The time has come, my little friends
To talk of food and things

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We don’t see what happens next but you know what’s going to happen. By the time the Carpenter comes back with the bread and sauce for the oysters, it’s too late, they’ve all been eaten by the Walrus!! This is too much for the Carpenter who chases the Walrus back down the beach in a rage over being swindled out of an oyster dinner. But what I’d like to get back to is this scene with the Walrus alone with the Oysters: it is downright menacing I think! Just go back and look at that picture of the Walrus with his evil grin as it dawns on the oysters what’s about to happen. I think it’s pretty disturbing, but what do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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See also:

Disney Soundtracks A-Z

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

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

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

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

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