The Lord of the Rings (1978 movie)

From Academic Kids

The Lord of the Rings is the title of an animated film produced by Ralph Bakshi, and released to theaters in 1978. It was an adaptation of the first half of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Bakshi's most ambitious effort (and his most famous after his animated adaptation of the underground comic Fritz the Cat), the film was seen as a critical disappointment. It was produced by Saul Zaentz's Fantasy Films, but distributed to theaters by United Artists.

Much of the film used live-action footage which was then rotoscoped to produce an animated look. This saved production costs and arguably could have given the animated characters a more realistic look due to secondary animation that a traditionally animated film would not have included. Most critics seemed to believe that the sections of the film with rotoscoped animation were inferior in quality to "normal" animated films.

Additionally, the film ended somewhat abruptly after the battle of Helm's Deep, but before Sam, Frodo and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes. The box-office disappointment of the film (combined with finances) forced Bakshi to abandon his plans for a sequel.

In an attempt to "finish" Tolkien's story and make it more complete for audiences, the Rankin-Bass animation studio (fresh on the heels of the success of its previous TV adaptation of The Hobbit) produced an animated TV special based on the final part of The Lord of the Rings. Their adaptation of The Return of the King finished the story and answered most of the questions raised by Bakshi's animated film.

However, several unresolved story developments between The Lord of the Rings and The Return of the King were left unresolved, especially the betrayal of Frodo by Gollum, and the attack of Shelob the monster spider-creature.

Warner Bros. (the rights holder to the post-1974 Rankin-Bass library and most of the Saul Zaentz theatrical backlog) has released The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Return of the King on VHS and DVD, both as separate packaged and as a boxed-set "trilogy" of films.

Fans of the original novel tend to regard the animated movie as anathema. Nonetheless, many have seen it (often several times) and find its flaws amusing, similar to 'so bad it's good' cult films.

Though the film was a commercial and critical failure, it created enough interest in The Lord of the Rings that the BBC decided to adapt it for the radio. A young writer named Brian Sibley expressed interest and was paired with a more experienced writer named Michael Bakewell to write the script. Broadcast in 1981, this version carried over two cast members from Bakshi's film: Michael Graham Cox and Peter Woodthorpe reprised their respective roles of Boromir and Gollum.

External links

The Lord of the Rings

Volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings book
The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers | The Return of the King

Movies in Peter Jackson's LotR movie trilogy
The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers | The Return of the King

Animated movies
The Hobbit animated movie | Lord of the Rings animated movie | Return of the King animated movie

The History of The Lord of the Rings | Lord of the Rings radio series

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