Next year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first screen adaptation of Harry Potter , a fantasy novel by Joanne Kathleen Rowling. Courtesy of Cinema City, I had the opportunity to attend one of the hottest cinema premieres of 2001 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone .
The creation of the book
To get to know the world of magic and wizardry, let’s go back in time to 1990. During the summer, during the trip from Manchester to London, the idea of Harry and the Wizarding School dawned in Rowling’s head. The writer will later say that “no idea aroused such excitement in her as she did then.” By the end of her journey, Rowling had most of the plot of the Philosopher’s Stone . In the same year, her mother, Anne, died of multiple sclerosis, and soon after her father got involved with a personal secretary. The author of Harry Potter admitted in one of the biographical films that Harry Potterit’s herself. Analyzing the individual stages in Rowling’s life, it is hard to disagree with this. The key to the development of the series was her stay in Porto, where the first three chapters of the book were written. She had difficulty completing her novels after returning to her homeland, especially since she wrote the books by hand in Edinburgh cafes such as Nicholson’s and Elephant House. As she recalls: “When I had no cards left, I wrote on napkins.” Then she typed everything out. Rowling is also the author of the first sketches of the characters. In 1996, the first novel in the series was completed. However, it did not find recognition in the eyes of most publishing houses. Eventually, it was published by Bloomsbury in a small edition. As we know, the book quickly became a children’s bestseller, which resulted in a mass reprint. The author began to feel pressure,Harry Potter was created as soon as possible.
Work on the film
The studios Walt Disney and Warner Bros. fought for the rights to adapt the book. The choice was greatly influenced by Rowling herself, who did not want her novel to be made another animation. Ultimately, in 1999, the rights to adapt the film went to the Warner brothers’ studio. The author hesitated to waive the screening rights, because she did not want control over how the action in the next volumes would unfold. By selling the rights to the character, she prevented Warner Bros. making sequels not written by herself. Together with the author it was agreed that the film will be shot in England, and only the British cast will be employed to make it. Participation in Rowling’s work on the film was invaluable. Since she was the first consultant, viewers can be sure that this is exactly what the wizarding and Muggle worlds were meant to be. The script for the film was written by Steve Kloves, and the whole was directed by Chris Columbus. Wanting to be able to make the picture, they defeated the film body that wanted to move Hogwarts to Hollywood, and turn students into American students. These ideas were absolutely unacceptable to the author of the novel. In the United States, the film was given the title of the American edition of the book, i.e. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ( Harry Potter and the Sorcerer ). As a result, each scene in which the name “philosopher’s stone” appeared had to be shot twice. Another point in the making of the film was the selection of actors. The biggest problem was with the title Harry. Thousands of boys came to the casting. The final choice was made by Rowling herself, seeing the young Radcliffe as her hero. Daniel himself did not participate in the casting. The boy was the discovery of Columbus. He made an impression on the director in the movie David Copperfield . The young man also fared great in the test shots. The author of Harry Potter, after watching the cassette, said: “I felt as if I had regained my long-lost son.” Golden Trioafter the casting elimination they were completed by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Finally, on August 8, 2000, the then little-known Daniel Radcliffe and newcomers Emma Watson and Rupert Grint signed contracts with the label.
Work on the set
The first photos were taken on October 2, 2000 at North Goathland Station, which served as Hogsmeade Station. Hogwarts, on the other hand, was located in several locations. These were: Alnwick Castle, Gloucester Cathedral, Harrow School and Durnham Cathedral. The interiors of the Oxford Divinity School served as the hospital wing and the Duke Humfrey Library was used as the library at Hogwarts. Privet Drive is a private property located on Picket Post Close, Bracknell. The remaining scenes were recorded in the well-known neighborhoods near London. The writers had to build a lot of places from scratch. These were, among others Harry’s locker under the stairs, the Dursleys’ hideout, Ollivander’s store or Hagrid’s cabin.
The watchful eye of a fan of wizarding books must have noticed a few differences between a novel and a movie. Harry in the book had green eyes, and Radcliffe – blue. As the film was filmed, producer David Heyman called Rowling and told her about the situation: Radcliffe is allergic to contact lenses and cannot change his eye color in post-production. How important is it for the film, the producer wondered, for Harry’s eyes to be green? Rowling concluded that most importantly, the hero should have the same eye color as his mother. Another difference is platforms 9 and ¾. In the book, the characters cross a railing, in the film it was a huge pole. Hermione in the book is depicted as a girl with rabbit teeth, but Emma Watson enjoys a beautiful, straight bite. When we look at the character’s metric, it turns out that most of the young actors were older than the characters in the novels. This is a common practice in adaptations of books about youth. There are many differences between Rowling’s work and the cinematic version. From the perspective of a layman, it doesn’t really matter, especially if we know that the author of the book was watching over the entire production.
Harry Potter is a boy unaware of his origin who lives in a cell under the stairs of his aunt and uncle. For some time now, the house of my aunt, uncle and cousin have been haunted by owls that deliver the mail. The hosts are particularly irritated by the fact that the letters are sealed with a seal with a mysterious emblem. They run away to a wilderness wanting some peace. However, it does not last long. Solitude is visited by a giant, Hagrid, who opens the arcana of a hitherto unknown world to Harry. It turns out that the world consists of two groups of people – Muggles, i.e. non-magical people, and wizards with paranormal abilities. Harry comes from a family of mages, and his parents were murdered by an evil sorcerer. The boy receives an invitation to study at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He decides to join the group of students.
Reception of the film
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone turned out to be a box-office movie from 2001 to 2002. The production approached with its achievement to the then record holder – Titanic . Harry Pottergained moderate recognition from critics and film academies. The world of cinema has divided. The numerous nominations for awards only partially translated into the number of statuettes won. What the filmmakers did not fully notice, were appreciated by fans of cinema and books about the adventures of Harry Potter. Places that have been used by scenographers as a film set are still very popular among tourists to this day. Amusement parks inspired by Joanne Kathleen Rowling’s books are being created all over the world. The author herself has become a symbol of success and an inspiration for thousands of artists. It is worth returning to this film after many years. Despite the passage of years, it does not lose its universal message. A must for all fans of magic and the fantasy world.