You're not following me, are you? All right, I'll start over.
I read this just now in The Book Standard:
In a recently-released letter written by C.S. Lewis, the author and scholar writes that he was “absolutely opposed” to a live-action film or television version of his books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
“Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare,” he said in a letter dated Dec. 19, 1959 to BBC producer Lance Sieveking, shortly after the BBC produced a radio version of Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew.
Here, from the literary e-zine nthposition, is the full text of the letter:
18 Dec. 1959
(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,
C. S. Lewis
Friends, this letter was written written 46 years ago. Before George Lucas became a household name, if you get my drift. So The Book Standard's headline, "New Letter Shows C.S. Lewis 'Absolutely Opposed' Film Version of 'Narnia'," and all the other blogosphere hype about how dear old C.S. Lewis must be spinning in his grave right now is beyond ridiculous.
Those of us with vivid imaginations know that a two-hour movie can never match the experience of reading a ripping good story. But some movies have come amazingly close. Yes, I'm thinking about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gollum looked pretty real to me. I bet C.S. Lewis, who was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien and a fan of his books, would have loved those movies just as the rest of us did.
He might even like what the Disney people have done with Aslan.
My monthly column is up at Romancing the Blog. This one offers instructions for the proper care and feeding of a romance writer.