alice through the looking glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass Wind-Up Toy

By Nikki Nguyen, Walt Disney Archives

In Alice Through the Looking Glass, Time presents this wind-up toy to Iracebeth as a gift “made entirely out of love… and also a little bit of metal and wood.” The complex machinery of this prop is functional and in working order. As the crank is turned, the executioner lowers the hatchet and the unfortunate king kneeling at the chopping block loses a bit more than just his crown… which brings some momentary delight to the Red Queen.

In addition to this version of the wind-up toy prop, there is a nearly identical rubber version, painted to mimic the look of the wood and metal of the original. It is not uncommon for two versions of a prop to be made for production­­—one made of heavier materials or more intricate parts that is often used for close-up shots, and one that is lighter and less fragile so it can be more easily handled by actors.