EIGHT FILMS ADAPTED FROM CLASSIC CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

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Alice In Wonderland Ever since the advent of cinema, filmmakers, far and wide, have always turned to children's literature for their initial source of inspiration. Be it a yellow brick road paved with a cast of colorful characters, or better yet, a Willy Wonka which walks with a wonky leg, time and again classic children's literature have spawned silver screen spectacle's for as long as the eye can see (yes, pun intended).





To celebrate the recent release of 'Swallows and Amazons', readily available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download from the 12th of December, we now take a look back at some of the best book to film adaptations to have captivated audiences of all ages.


Swallows and Amazons


Arthur Ransome's series of books evolve around the Walker children, four of them in total, who go on holiday in the beautiful Lake District, only to strangely stumble upon a seemingly deserted island. But alas, as soon as they find this sparse lo-cal, so too does a pair of sisters, named the Blacketts, claiming that they've already taken possession of it before they arrived. So thus begins an adventure where two divided factions set off in their respective sailboats and engage in a battle of wits. With a talented cast that includes Kelly MacDonald, Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott, and Harry Enfield, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll be able to bring Arthur Ransome’s characters to life. 


Alice In Wonderland



Over the years Lewis Carroll’s infamous fantasy novels, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’, have produced a number of notable film adaptations; but none of these were more bodacious than Tim Burton’s 2010 efforts. Johnny Depp’s truly mad portrayal of The Mad Hatter is a stand-out in Burton’s psychedelic world that marries so well with Carroll’s original. Also starring Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Mia Wasikowska as Alice, and the voice talents of Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, as well as the late, great, Alan Rickman, the film brings a well-loved cast of characters splendidly to the silver screen. 


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory



There is no doubt that Roald Dahl is one of the most notorious and widely read authors to have his work adapted for cinema. With numerous titles having been re-imagined via animation or live action film, ranging from ‘Matilda’ to ‘The BFG’, few have captivated audiences quite like the 1971 adaptation of, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Renamed, 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' for its 1971 cinematic release, the film stars the late Gene Wilder as the titular character who holds a competition to find a successor for the factory he owns. In 2005 the film was remade starring Johnny Depp, taking the novel's original moniker. 


Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Written and illustrated under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel published ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ on Christmas day, 1956. Transcribed in rhyming verse and illustrated by the great Geisel himself, the book follows the Grinch, an Ebenizer Scrooge-like figure, or should that be, creature, who attempts to cancel Christmas by thieving presents on Christmas Eve, all belonging to the people from the nearby town of Whoville. Despite his best efforts, the inhabitants of Whoville still manage to celebrate this festive holiday, thus prompting the Grinch to return everything he's stolen. In 2000, Geisel’s vivid and visual world was brought to the big screen care of Jim Carey’s memorable portrayal of the title character. Good stuff.


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


Published under the banner, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ was the first of a series of fantasy novels created by C. S. Lewis, and it was adapted for cinema by Waldon Media in December, 2005. This epic fantasy follows a family of four young children, staying in a boring countryside house during the evacuation of London, circa World War II. One day, each of them suddenly discover the wintry, magical realm of Narnia, secretly hidden within, surprise-surprise... a wardrobe. Among the impressive cast includes such actors as Liam Neeson, who supply's the voice for the great lion Aslan, and Tilda Swinton, who plays the wicked White Witch, with each of them sure helping to make this film a huge success.


The Jungle Book


Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories have been adapted to film numerous times, most notably, Disney’s animated take on it in 1967. Disney’s first adaptation has since led to numerous sequels, with the most recent one being the 2016 live action adventure. With an impressive cast that includes Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Idris Elba, each complemented by some really stunning visuals, the live action film brings new twists to the classic tale while staying faithful to Kipling’s original.


Winnie-the-Pooh


Since it first hit the printed page in 1926, A A Milne's classic children’s tale of Christopher Robin’s adventure in the woods has been passed on from one generation to the next. In 2011, Disney released the second adaptation of Milne’s beloved children's book, bringing along with it a contemporary take on his classic characters. With a voice cast that includes Jim Cummings as Tigger as well as the titular character, Travis Oates as Piglet, Bud Luckey as Eeyore, plus direction by Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall, the film draws inspiration from three of Milne’s stories about our favorite honey-loving bear. 




One of the first major films to be produced in Technicolor, a colorization technique that was fairly revolutionary for its time, the cinematic adaptation of L Frank Baum's novel of the same name has become a cultural classic. While the book has inspired a number of adaptations, which includes silent films, a Broadway musical, cartoons, and a slew of re-imaginings, none have grown to become a cultural phenomenon quite like the 1939 masterpiece. Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as Scarecrow, Jack Haley as Tin Man, and Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' remains to this day a must-see film.

Swallows and Amazons is available on Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital Download from December the 12th, 2016.

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