Book Vs. Movie: James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl’s 1961 Children’s Novel Vs. the 1996 Henry Sellick Adaptation
The Margos have covered Roald Dahl several times on this podcast for good reason; he has written dozens of interesting stories in the 20th Century. He is also a polarizing and controversial figure, but his influence on children’s literature is undeniable. James and the Giant Peach is very typical in his storytelling in that it features a protagonist who is a small child that is smart, lonely, and is abused by the adults in their lives. Dahl dedicated it in 1961 to his daughter Olivia who died from complications of measles only a year after the book’s publication.
James Henry Trotter is an orphan sent to live with two mean Aunts after his parents die. They work him tirelessly until he meets a magician who gives him magic crystals–that he loses almost immediately. But, soon, a giant peach grows on his front lawn, sending him on a grand adventure.
The Giant Peach takes James and his friends all the way to New York City, where they find more fulfilling lives. It’s all so, Dahl-ish?!
So between the book and the film, which did we like better?
In this ep, the Margos discuss:
- Author Roald Dahl
- The themes of the book
- The live-action and animation of the movie
- The cast: Paul Terry (James,) Miriam Margolyes (Aunt Sponge,) Joanna Lumley (Aunt Spiker,) Pete Postlethwaite (Narrator/The Magician,) Steve Culp (James’ father,) Simon Callow (Mr. Grasshopper,) Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Centipede,) Jane Leeves (Mrs. Ladybug,) Susan Sarandon (Miss Spider,) and David Thewliss (Mr. Earthworm.)
- Aunt Sponge & Aunt Spiker
- James and the Giant Peach trailer
- “Family song” James and the Giant Peach
- James’ Nightmare
- James in New York (Aunt Sponge & Aunt Spike Show Up)
- James’ friends show up to save him
- Music by Randy Newman
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