Lewis on Disney
I read this amusing anecdote last night in the book C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Remininscences. It seems that a young American writer, Jane Douglass, had written to C.S. Lewis about making a dramatization of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but was turned down. He did, however, extend an invitation to Ms. Douglass to stop by and visit if she were ever in Oxford. Undaunted, she headed across the Atlantic to pay him a call:
"He repeated his dread of such things as radio and television apparatus and expressed his dislike of talking films. I said I quite understood this, and that nothing would distress me more than that he should think that I had in mind anything like the Walt Disney shows; I hoped nobody had suggested the book to Mr. Disney. This seemed to relieve Mr. Lewis to such an extent that I thought perhaps Mr. Disney had been after the book, but of course I did not ask. And in his usual generous way, Mr. Lewis said, "Too bad we didn't know Walt Disney before he was spoiled, isn't it?"
~Jane Douglass, "An Enduring Friendship", C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table (1979)
That reminded me of this letter to Alfred Jenkin:
"What did you think of Snowwhite and the vii Dwarfs? I saw it at Malvern last week on that holiday...Leaving out the tiresome question of whether it is suitable for children (which I don't know and don't care) I thought it almost inconceivably good and bad--I mean, I didn't know one human being could be so good and bad. The worst thing of all was the vulgarity of the winking dove at the beginning, and the next worst the faces of the dwarfs. Dwarfs ought to be ugly of course, but not in that way. And the dwarfs' jazz party was pretty bad. I suppose it never occurred to the poor boob that you could give them any other kind of music. But all the terrifying bits were good, and the animals really most moving: and the use of shadows (of dwarfs and vultures) was real genius. What might not have come of it if this man had been educated-- or even brought up in a decent society?"
~C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, Letter to A. K. Hamilton Jenkin (January 11, 1939)