Over on Lenny's Alice in Wonderland forum is a thread about favourite Alice movies. I vote for Jonathan Miller

It catches the exact flavour of 1960s psychedelic Victoriana. Miller's a genius anyhow but the movie reflects its time. In the 1960s, anything Victorian - buildings, ideas, etc. - were just starting to get back into fashion with young people (like Miller was then). Mostly, Victoriana was considered "hideous" and was neglected, trashed or abandoned.

The best Victorian houses were expensively built and reflected the huge ideas and aspirations that formed the background to the 19th century. They were full of hope and grandeur and self confidence and glory and the best seemed to reach beyond the mundane into a world beyond.

I once went to see a horror film made in what had been a NHS mental hospital converted out of a big house in huge grounds. It had countless echoing and enormous rooms. It wasn't abandoned but was caretaken by a guy in a tiny office in the ground floor and I couldn't believe what a dream it was. Didn't care about the NHS fire escape signs, prefab huts - I remember a long, long corridor going off into the distance, with great big pictures painted on the walls, huge dark rooms, vast grand grounds, towers....

Although some dinosaur developers are still trashing the memories and echoes of big gothic houses (such as in stupid Llandudno, with Pen Morfa - see below) most are now renovating them. Electric gates, private gyms and car parks, not an ounce of mystery or magic. Here's a link to one that's for sale in Virginia Park, Surrey. I hope they sell it but even its best friends couldn't call it dramatic, romantic or even interesting.

I suppose they can't keep them all for film sets and eccentric millionaires. Virginia Park's said to be one of the better developments with a lot of money spent on restoring its great hall.

The moral of that is, you must catch magic while it is there. It doesn't linger - specially when there's lots of money to be made. Now, do go and view Jonathan Miller!