Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Overlooked Movies: The Witches

"Movies which set out to be 'commercial' usually have an artificial look about them-a certain waxlike quality. They allow for no failure, no moment of mistake." ~Nicholas Roeg director of The Witches

A young boy named Luke whose parents have died in a tragic accident, is sent to live with his grandmother. Taking him to a posh hotel in England to get away from things, they discover a secret coven of witches holding it's annual convention. The Grand High Witch has decreed that all children in England will be turned into mice, and Luke and his pal Bruno are the first victims on the list.

Saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy they've turned into a mouse!

Fun Trivia:
This was the last film personally overseen by Jim Henson.

Initially Cher was considered for the role of The Grand high Witch before Angelica Huston was cast. Felicity Dahl has stated that Roald Dahl never requested someone for a role in a film bvased on one of his books after the producers of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory decided not to cast Dahl's suggestion Spike Milligan as the title character. But he was ecstatic when Anjelica Huston was cast as the Grand High Witch, as she had been Dahl's personal favourite for the role.

It took Huston eight hours of make up time to transform her into The Grand High Witch.

Most of the Witches in the meeting are not women at all but men in women's clothing. Michael Palin appears as an extra in the film, as a disguised witch.

The mice in the movie are played by rats.

Roald Dahl who wrote the book the movie was based on hated the happy ending the producers added to the story. He apparently stood outside cinemas with a megaphone, telling people not to watch the film. It was the last of Dahl's books to be developed into a film before his death; he died just months after the film was released.


Arkonbey said...

That was a great movie up until the Spielberg-ian ending.

Don't forget what also makes it good is that Rowan Atkinson was in it!

Anonymous said...

Angelica Huston is an extraordinary presence in any film and deliciously cast in this.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Yeah, this was a decent adaptation, not including the end. This film is particularly memorable for me as we got to watch it in school on the last day of the year once; Tom Halliwell, the token class oddball (that one kid in every school whose voice never breaks, who has to wear special shoes and who has webbed fingers) had to leave the room when Huston changes into the Grand High Witch. It was too scary for him.

Gavin Elster said...

Felicity Dahl is a punk. She married him after he dumped the mother of his children (Actress Patricia Neil) after her stroke. Felicity is a leach who wanted some sort of control over something. I guess the estate was enough for her. Now she wanders around as if she were the embodiment of the Dahl's talent. She speaks nonsense.

I'm not a fan of her. I don't like the way Patricia has been written out of the Dahl history. She is closer to these stories than anyone. That being said I wretch, as Angelica did, at the smell of Felicity Dahl.

Becca said...

Rowan Atkinson rocks! So funny!

I'm always thrilled to see her in a movie! She's been in far too few for my tastes!

Ouch too scary? There's always one of those kids in the class.

I admit I know very little about Felicity but it's such a shame when someone does this to a brilliant figures legacy. Can't make anything out of their own life so they have to be a hanger-on.

I did know that he was married to Neal for years, but maybe alot of people are in agreement with you cause I tried to find more info about Felicity before posting and could find next to nothing.

Thanks for filling in a hole of my pop culture knowledge.

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