1978 RALPH BAKSHI'S LORD OF THE RINGS MOVIE
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Chris Conkling ...(screenplay) and
Peter S. Beagle ...(screenplay)
J.R.R. Tolkien ...(novels)
Cast overview, first billed only:
The Lord of the Rings is a 1978 adult animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi. It is an adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings. The film follows a group of hobbits, elves, men, dwarves, and wizards who form a fellowship. They embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring made by the Dark Lord Sauron, and ensure his destruction.
Bakshi used a technique called rotoscoping, which mean that they would live actors to portray the characters. Later the artists would trace over the images and create the animation with life-like movements.
The movie was a modest success, but was not red lighted for the second part of the series which Bakshi had planned. Although not even in the realm of popularity as the much later Peter Jackson renditions, it still has a undeniable charm. The film lending inspiration to Perter in the early research for his Trilogy. The movie has survived on CED, BETAMAX, VHS, DVD and of course it now streams on popular platforms.
Filmed with live actors in black-and-white and rotoscoped, each animation cell drawn over a film frame of an actor. This was the first entirely rotoscoped animated feature.
Cel animation was produced and shot for this movie, but was cut out at the last minute. Only a few brief segments of the movie were drawn from scratch, with much of the film rotoscoped, and some sequences combining non-rotoscoped live-action footage with animation.
At two hours and twelve minutes, this is the longest feature-length animated film made up to that time. Only Disney's Fantasia (1940) (in its uncut, original roadshow release) was nearly as long.
Director Ralph Bakshi had originally planned to use music by Led Zeppelin in this movie, but was unable to get the rights. Led Zeppelin band members were known to be fans of the books, with several of their songs, "Misty Mountain Hop", "Over the Hills and Far Away", "The Battle of Evermore", and "Ramble On", referencing imagery and characters from Tolkien's books.
Peter Woodthorpe (Gollum) and Michael Graham Cox (Boromir) played their roles again in the BBC radio dramatization in 1981. The role of Frodo was played by Sir Ian Holm, who appeared as Bilbo in Peter Jackson's movies.
Director John Boorman originally envisioned making the entire trilogy as a single one hour and forty minute movie. Ralph Bakshi heard that he was going to do this, and, as a fan of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and J.R.R. Tolkien, was horrified. When Boorman's plans to bring Tolkien's novels to the screen fell apart, Bakshi approached J.R.R. Tolkien's daughter to do the novels as a trilogy of animated movies. Tolkien's daughter loved Bakshi's fantasy Wizards (1977), so she gave him the rights to The Lord of the Rings. Bakshi filmed "The Fellowship of the Rings" and "The Two Towers" (which were collapsed into a single two-and-a-half hour movie), and had planned to film "The Return of the King", but the trilogy was never completed.
On the DVD commentary of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Peter Jackson acknowledges one shot, a low angle of a Hobbit at Bilbo's birthday party shouting "Proudfeet!", as an intentional homage to this movie. By far the biggest "lift", however, is the scene of the Nazgûl appearing in the room at Bree and slashing the beds to ribbons thinking the shapes under the sheets to be the Hobbits. This is almost identical to Bakshi's version, which is significant, as the scene is not depicted as described in the book: in the book, the attack is carried out by the Nazgûl. Some of Sam's interjections are also sourced from Bakshi rather than Tolkien.
Christopher Guard (Frodo Baggins) and Dominic Guard (Peregrin Took) are brothers in real life.
Credited as a rotoscoped character actor, Angelo Rossitto is easily recognizable as the Dwarf in the tavern during the Prancing Pony scene early in the movie.
Sharon Baird did the live-action stand-ins for our hero, Frodo Baggins, whenever they would blend in the animation scenes with live-action sequences throughout the movie. While the late John A. Neris stood in for Gandalf, The Wizard, the late Billy Barty stood in for Bilbo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, young Dennis Madalone played Prince Isildur, and Mic Rodgers played Marshal Eomer, Theoden's nephew.