Tuesday, November 29, 2005

C.S. Lewis opposed to Narnia on Film


I was shocked to read this morning a letter supposedly from C.S. Lewis to a producer about how he did not ever want Narnia to be made into a movie. Here is the full letter:

The Kilns,
Headington Quarry,
Oxford
18 Dec. 1959

Dear Sieveking
(Why do you ‘Dr’ me? Had we not dropped the honorifics?) As things worked out, I wasn’t free to hear a single instalment of our serial [The Magician’s Nephew] except the first. What I did hear, I approved. I shd. be glad for the series to be given abroad. But I am absolutely opposed – adamant isn’t in it! – to a TV version. Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography. Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) wld. be another matter. A human, pantomime, Aslan wld. be to me blasphemy.

All the best,
yours
C. S. Lewis

[Letter to BBC producer Lance Sieveking (1896-1972), who has written at the top: ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ and, after the address, the phone number “62963”.]

3 comments:

Mark Redfern said...

I echo the concern of Lewis. I am concerned with how Aslan will be presented. My wife and I were discussing this and wondering if they would capture the "sweetness" and "terror" without turning it into, as Lewis puts it, "buffoonery or nightmare." It will be interesting to see. I still will probably leave the movie, as I do with most, loving the book more.

justin said...

Great comment Mark. The "sweetness" and "terror" minus the "buffoonery" is what we want.

Tony Myles said...

That old BBC version messed with me... why do English kids always look silly in those features?