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GreenDragon's BBC LOTR Review!

calisuri
PTB


Oct 7 2008, 3:53pm

Post #1 of 14 (2492 views)
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GreenDragon's BBC LOTR Review! Can't Post

The world is excited. I feel it in the water. I smell it in the air. For much that once was, is rereleased...

As the world of Tolkien fandom eagerly prepares for the coming of The Hobbit movie(s), the BBC is helping us to fill in our time by re-releasing its fabulous radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings.

Originally broadcast in 1981, this production is almost as classic as the books themselves. It is THE quintessential radio dramatization. Brilliantly acted, with atmospheric music and clever sound effects, this series has not dated at all. Brian Sibley expertly adapted Tolkien's writing into a script; narration is kept to a minimum and pacing is maintained through active dialogue, but at the same time as much as possible of Tolkien's original text is included. Book fans will love hearing cherished, familiar lines, and movie fans will enjoy spotting dialogue which made it into both Peter Jackson's movies and this dramatization.

Click here to Order


The cast includes beloved actor Ian Holm as Frodo; for those of us who know Sir Ian as Jackson's Bilbo, it is fun to hear him in an exuberant portrayal of the younger hobbit. (I particularly enjoyed hearing his Frodo saying (of Bilbo), ‘ "I've left them for you, Frodo my lad," he used to say'. Suddenly we have Sir Ian as Frodo, impersonating Bilbo - the mind boggles...) Holm is as outstanding as you would expect.



Joining Sir Ian are Royal Shakespeare Company stalwarts such as Robert Stephens (a dynamic Aragorn) and Michael Hordern (superb as Gandalf). This cast comes from the era when British actors were trained in diction, and it is wonderful to hear Tolkien's words so clearly enunciated. (Some listeners may find the ‘BBC diction' English a little stilted, but to my ear, it is perfect for Tolkien's carefully crafted words. And fear not -Sam retains a suitably country accent!)

Having only obtained a copy of the dramatization a couple of days ago, (and being a new listener to this work!), so far I have only had the chance to listen in detail to The Fellowship of the Ring. (The entire dramatization is thirteen hours long, spread over eleven CDs - which seems an incredible bargain at $49.95 for the whole set!) For the most part I think the necessary cuts to the story are very well chosen, although Tom Bombadil fans are in for a disappointment - he and the barrow-wights aren't in this version either. And poor old Fatty Bolger doesn't make the cut - but Glorfindel is in! Among my favourite portrayals in Fellowship are Simon Cadell as a fabulously dignified Celeborn, and Michael Graham Cox as an impressive Boromir. (Interestingly, Cox also voiced Boromir in Bakshi's LotR movie.)

My criticisms of what I have heard so far are few and far between. The songs which are retained in the dramatization are largely spoken, which seems a pity when there is so much excellent, atmospheric music. The black riders sound rather too human, whilst Merry and Pippin are a little too serious and slightly camp. Their ‘posh' voices are presumably intended to show their upper class status in the hobbit world, but I'd like them to be a little more robust. Gollum, alas, sounds like a comedy Jewish stereotype. I wasn't surprised to discover that actor Peter Woodthorpe is the voice of Gollum; Woodthorpe also provided the voice in Bakshi's movie. I didn't find his interpretation any more successful in that film than I do in this radio production.

My minor dislikes aside - and what production could possibly match one's own imagination entirely? - this is an outstanding recording which is deservedly treasured by Tolkien fans everywhere. I believe this dramatization was last reissued in 2002; so, what, you may be asking, is new this time around? According to the press release, this latest version comes ‘thoughtfully packaged in a handsome box set', and includes ‘Bonus Map and music'; unfortunately, not having seen them, I can't comment on the packaging or the map. In addition to the eleven discs of the series, there is a twelfth disc in this collection which is entirely music: this is the ‘soundtrack album', also originally released in 1981, which includes songs and extended arrangements of the background music heard throughout the dramatization. It's lovely to have this collection of the music included in the box set, but I'm not sure that this is anything new; I believe it was included in the 2002 release.

I am left wondering why there is a need for a new release. If you have the 2002 edition of this series, then I don't think this version would add anything to your collection. If, however, it's been a while since you've explored this excellent production, or if you've never yet listened to it, then this new release gives you the chance to remedy that. I urge you to rush out and buy a copy! I can't think why it's taken me so long to discover it for myself. This box set really is amazing value for money and a superb piece to add to your Tolkien hoard.

For the time will soon come when hobbits will make the fortunes of many... But meanwhile, get your Middle Earth fix with this fabulous, poetic and exciting rendition of this most wondrous of stories.

=========

Now on Sale - The Lord of the Rings, The Complete Trilogy. 12CDs, $49.95. Includes bonus map and music. [Amazon.com]

The Mysterious Calisuri



(This post was edited by calisuri on Oct 7 2008, 3:54pm)


Patty
Immortal


Oct 7 2008, 3:59pm

Post #2 of 14 (1303 views)
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and once you've listened to it... [In reply to] Can't Post

you can add comments in our current discussion of it on the Movie Board.

Permanent address: Into the West


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 7 2008, 4:21pm

Post #3 of 14 (1322 views)
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*geeky hand-clapping* [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so glad I put off getting the latest, newest edition! This is fantastic :D

Thanks so much for the headsup!!!

I love maps!




sample

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists


Frodoholic
Registered User

Oct 7 2008, 5:16pm

Post #4 of 14 (1220 views)
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Yes!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, lucky, lucky you to have this magificent production! Smile I am on my 19th listen myself at the moment and love, love, love it!
Ian is just wonderful, going from innocent lad excited about fireworks to one emotionally destroyed by his burden. If you really want to know the terrible cost to Frodo to carry his cross all the way to the Fire, then you must listen to this. I do it in my car but make sure if you do, your windows are rolled up because mine weren't when he screamed in agony on Weathertop and I was wondering if anyone heard that and what they must have wondered! Just wait until you hear his meltdown in the Tower and the terrible damage done that comes out during an anniversary illness. Reading it does not give you the impact of having your soul torn apart, even Elijah's perfect performance does not give it though it does more than reading it because he's got the most expressive eyes ever. Listening to it will show you most vividly. It will break your heart and give you greater love, admiration and gratitude toward him for what he did. I have a friend, the one who got me onto the radio program, who wrote the most loving lullabies after she heard this. These are mostly sung to Frodo by Sam (slash-free of course, we despise slash). It is extremely well done. Just about everyone did a marvelous job. Peter W I think must have had a ball playing someone so completely mad. He's so fun. If anyone doesn't have it, run, do not walk, and get it!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

http://www.knittedsouls.com - if you want to wallow in some slash-free hobbity love
http://roadthroughmiddleearth.blogspot.com

I'm also writing a book on the spirituality contained the Red Book that I ask prayers for too! Hantanyel!


deej
Tol Eressea


Oct 7 2008, 6:04pm

Post #5 of 14 (1231 views)
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Very nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oddly (to me, anyhow), I don't own this, so I must make a point of getting this before my trip!


"...and back again."



greendragon
Sr. Staff


Oct 8 2008, 1:03am

Post #6 of 14 (1224 views)
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hey, that's me... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was delighted to have a chance to write a review of this dramatisation - and a little embarrassed that I'd somehow never got round to listening to it before! It really is excellent stuff - and great company on bus trips to and from work! Now if only I REALLY had Boromir and Aragorn travelling around with me... Wink

'There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of my fridge...'

'You never know what will happen next, when once you get mixed up with TORnsibs and their friends.'


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 8 2008, 9:41am

Post #7 of 14 (1176 views)
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Crossing the lands with the Fellowship? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's an AWESOME excuse for ... us... missing your stop a few times ;)

Excellent job on your review, m'dear! *applause* More!! MORE!!!




sample

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists


L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens


Oct 8 2008, 4:46pm

Post #8 of 14 (1201 views)
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That's a lot of words to say "Amazing!" ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Cum bak 2 me... cum bak 2 me... & say my land iz teh r0xx0r lol.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 8 2008, 9:17pm

Post #9 of 14 (1198 views)
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And that's an opening line [In reply to] Can't Post

that's one of the best! Laugh

Love the review, greendragon!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


greendragon
Sr. Staff


Oct 8 2008, 11:32pm

Post #10 of 14 (1178 views)
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thanks! : ) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of my fridge...'

'You never know what will happen next, when once you get mixed up with TORnsibs and their friends.'


deej
Tol Eressea


Oct 9 2008, 12:37pm

Post #11 of 14 (1156 views)
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If you did have Boromir and Aragorn travelling with you... [In reply to] Can't Post

...then I think you're going to need someone else there as well - you know, to help out with travel planning, picking out music, etc.. Perhaps a dj? Wink


"...and back again."



greendragon
Sr. Staff


Oct 9 2008, 10:35pm

Post #12 of 14 (1169 views)
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hey, you can join me on my travels ANY time! [In reply to] Can't Post

And I'm not greedy - I can share! Wink

'There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of my fridge...'

'You never know what will happen next, when once you get mixed up with TORnsibs and their friends.'


Hedrigall
Registered User

Oct 10 2008, 8:36am

Post #13 of 14 (1161 views)
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Another famous actor is in this... [In reply to] Can't Post

Good review, but while you're mentioning the cast you should note that Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean, Shaun of the Dead, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) plays Sam!


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 10 2008, 9:56am

Post #14 of 14 (1185 views)
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Howdy and Welcome Hedrigall!! I totally agree [In reply to] Can't Post

Nighy has become my favourite... or at least a tie with Ian Holm ;) ... performer on the BBC adaptation. He's AMAZING!

Wouldn't it be fun if they could get him into The Hobbit or Film2? I love seeing him unleased in PotC. :)

I'm so glad you've come out and joined in the fun!

Cheers!!!




sample

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists

 
 

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