C.S. Lewis Returns to Hollywood

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Hollywood Co. Down in 1898. But C. S. Lewis, creator of the Narnia series, is now associated with a very different Hollywood. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which is the first of the Narnia series to be made into a movie, opened here on December 9th with a special showing in the Dundrum centre. The night, which was organized by Focus on The Family, Ireland, started with a pre movie talk by the co-producer, who also happens to be Lewis’ stepson, Douglas Gresham. So what does a co-producer do? Gresham answered his own question. ‘Make sure that anything that isn’t Narnia doesn’t make it into the movie’. . .

The story opens with 4 children taking shelter during an air raid in wartime Britain, and later being packed off to a house in the countryside, where the principal fascination is a large wardrobe in an otherwise empty room. Lucy, the youngest of the four, stumbles upon a fantastic world, as she hides in the wardrobe; and the others, after a false start, join her for what turns out to be a fight between Good and evil.

So does Gresham succeed in keeping out what isn't "Narnian"? My impressions are that he does, although some of Lewis ideas could have been given more emphasis, as they are in the books.

Further up and further in

For example, ‘Further up and further in’. This is a recurrent thought in Lewis’ writings, which has been highlighted by Lewis’ former publicist, a convert to Catholicism. In the first instance, it represents the exhortation given by the good creatures of Narnia to go deeper into the woods and the wonders that lie ahead of them. But it also represents, at a deeper level, the need that every person has, to delve deeper into The Mystery that is God. The film is somewhat the poorer for not emphasising this. It is a great movie, however, primarily, because the book is a great book, but also because of some excellent performances by the children, for whom much effort must have gone into casting and, also, because of some amazing animation – watch out for Mr and Mrs Beaver, in particular! And the public reaction? Well, one young teenage boy who was there at the opening night, described it as the best movie he had ever seen - yes that’s better than Star Wars and The Lord of The Rings... This is a must see, whatever your age.