Where To Start With... - December 14, 2020

Roald Dahl: From Page to Screen
by Gary
Gary
by Gary London, Bio "I see the world differently; damn colour blindness."

Roald Dahl: From Page to Screen

To celebrate the release of The Witches, making its’ way to Blu-Ray & DVD, we are celebrating some of our favourite movie adaptations of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novels. From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to The Witches, these classic tales have won our hearts both in the pages and on the screen.

 

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Based On: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)

A poor boy who has lives in a tiny London home with his parents and 8 bedridden grandparents finds one of only five golden tickets in existence which permit him and his grandfather (affectionately known as Grandpa Joe) to enter Willy Wonka’s secret chocolate factory.

The Movie:

The first of two film adaptations of the 1964 tale, sees Gene Wilder play the titular character of wacky and secretive chocolatier Willy Wonka. It is widely-known that Roald Dahl strongly disliked the adaptation because of how far the plot strayed from the original, including how Wonka was portrayed. In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and Wilder was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Wonka.

 

The Witches (1990)

Based on: The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983)

The story follows the experiences of a young English boy and his Norwegian grandmother in a world where child-hating societies of witches secretly exist in every country. The witches are all ruled by the extremely vicious and powerful Grand High Witch, who has just arrived in England to organize her worst plot ever. But an elderly former witch hunter and her young grandson find out about the evil plan and now they must do everything to stop it and defeat the witches.

The Movie:

The 1990 adaptation of this film from Nicolas Roeg, starred Anjelica Huston in the role of the terrifying Grand High Witch. This version of the tale has stuck with many as one of the scariest children’s films of all time. Director Nicolas Roeg later cut scenes he thought would be too scary for children after seeing his young son's reaction to the original cut. The film now has a cult following and Anjelica Huston with often praised for her performance.

 

James And The Giant Peach (1996)

Based on: James And The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (1961)

The plot centres on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs he meets. Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is "prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry."

The Movie:

A mixture of live-action and stop motion animation makes up 1996’s musical fantasy James And The Giant Peach. The film was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, who would go on to direct 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Paul Terry made his debut as the titular character, with Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes played James's aunts in the live-action segments. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, by Randy Newman.

 

Matilda (1996)

Based on: Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)

The plot centres on a young genius girl named Matilda Wormwood, who develops psychokinetic abilities and uses them to deal with her disreputable family and Agatha Trunchbull, the ruthless, oppressive and tyrannical principal of Crunchem Hall Elementary School.

The Movie:

The 1996 American fantasy film was co-produced and directed by Danny DeVito, who also narrated and starred in the film as Matilda’s father. Mara Wilson starred as the titular character. In November 2019, DeVito said that he "always wanted to" develop a sequel to Matilda, adding that a potential sequel could star Matilda's own child, due to Wilson having grown up after the film's release.

 

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

Based on: Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (1970)

The story is about how Mr. Fox outwits his farmer neighbours to steal their food from right under their noses.

The Movie:

In 2009, it was adapted into a film by director Wes Anderson and features the voices of George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, Bill Murray as Badger. Tobias Picker also adapted the book into an opera which had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera performing 9–22 December in 1998.

 

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)

Based on: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)

A poor boy who has lives in a tiny London home with his parents and 8 bedridden grandparents finds one of only five golden tickets in existence which permit him and his grandfather (affectionately known as Grandpa Joe) to enter Willy Wonka’s secret chocolate factory.

The Movie:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 2005 American musical fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. Prior to Burton's involvement, directors such as Gary Ross, Rob Minkoff, Martin Scorsese, and Tom Shadyac had been involved. Once confirmed to direct, Burton immediately brought regular collaborators Depp and Danny Elfman aboard.

 

Esio Trot (2015)

Based on: Esio Trot (1990)

A poor boy who has lives in a tiny London home with his parents and 8 bedridden grandparents finds one of only five golden tickets in existence which permit him and his grandfather (affectionately known as Grandpa Joe) to enter Willy Wonka’s secret chocolate factory.

The Movie:

In 2015 it was adapted by Richard Curtis into a BBC television film, Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, featuring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench as the couple, with James Corden narrating. It was first broadcast as part of BBC One's 2015 Christmas programming.

 

The BFG (2016)

Based on: The BFG (1982)

The BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant") is an expansion of a short story from Dahl's 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World The book is dedicated to Dahl's late daughter, Olivia, who died of measles encephalitis at age seven in 1962.

The Movie:

Directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, The BFG premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2016. Ruby Barnhill made her acting debut starring as lead character Sophie, an orphan who befriends The BFG. Roald Dahl named her after his own mother, who was similarly caring and determined.

 

The Witches (2020)

Based on: The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983)

The story follows the experiences of a young English boy and his Norwegian grandmother in a world where child-hating societies of witches secretly exist in every country. The witches are all ruled by the extremely vicious and powerful Grand High Witch, who has just arrived in England to organize her worst plot ever. But an elderly former witch hunter and her young grandson find out about the evil plan and now they must do everything to stop it and defeat the witches.

The Movie:

The latest adaptation of Dahl’s work comes in the form of Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches, which was released in October 2020. The film is narrated by Chris Rock and stars Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci, with Anne Hathaway in the role of the Grand High Witch.

The Witches is available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD now