1959 Letter Shows CS Lewis Was Not Keen on Narnia Film

Posted on November 29, 2005

The Guardian reports that a old letter written by CS Lewis in 1959 has surfaced that clearly indicates that the Narnia author was opposed to a tv series or film based on the popular children's fantasy series.

In the letter, dated December 18 1959, Lewis made clear he approved of the radio version of the book produced by Lance Sieveking, a pioneering BBC radio and television producer. But in letters written shortly before the death of his wife, Joy, Lewis also said he was "absolutely opposed - adamant isn't in it! - to a TV version" of any of the books. "Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography," he wrote.

A cartoon version would be "another matter", he said. But Lewis, who died in 1963, added: "If only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius." In conclusion, he said that "a human, pantomime Aslan would to me be blasphemy".

The special-effects laden Disney film will be out on December 9th in the U.S. as will numerous tie-ins at places like McDonalds.
The new Disney version, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, uses a computer-generated version of the noble lion Aslan, voiced by Liam Neeson. It also uses 1,700 special-effects shots and computer-generated sequences.

The marketing machine behind the film, which opens on December 8, has already swung into action. Disney has signed a string of tie-in deals with companies from Kodak to McDonald's, and more than 60 licences have been granted to manufacture everything from board games to replica swords.

There were early concerns about the Lord of the Rings movies but they quickly dissipated once people saw what director Peter Jackson had done with the films. But Peter Jackson set a very high standard that will be difficult for Walden Media and Disney to match.

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