Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Edinburgh Tolkien Event (John Borman movie)

So, Tuesday morning I got to watch a Tolkien event hosted by the University of Edinburgh Tolkien Society. Titled "The LOTR film that never was, it was a presentation about the unfilmed John Boorman LotR script.

Here's the description:

A version of Lord of the Rings where the story of the One Ring is told via dance performance? Lord of the Rings but Aragorn marries Eowyn? Lord of the Rings but Frodo and Galadriel have an inexplicable romance? Lord of the Rings but Saruman is the Mouth of Sauron?

If you want to know what this is all about then join us as we explore some scenes of John Boorman's 1970s screenplay for the Lord of the Rings that was (luckily for us) never made into a real movie.

There was a smallish turnout, possibly because the web invitation gave the wrong time for the event, being an hour off (drat those pesky time zones). But it did include, at least for part of the discussion, Janet Brennea Croft (who's written a v. gd article on media adaptations of Tolkien) and David Emerson.

I'd seen the Boorman script before, but that had been several years ago and I was glad to renew my acquaintance. I clearly remembered some of the scenes that made my mind boggle but others had passed into merciful oblivion. And it was fun to see a group of folks, deeply steeped  in their Tolkien, encountering and trying to come to terms with this bizarre stuff.

My Final Verdict:  

We dodged a bullet. Bad as the Bakshi film is, and as much as purists lamented the Peter Jackson films' infidelities, it cd have been far, far worse. And Boorman proves it.


--current reading: Ordway's TOLKIEN'S MODERN READING



insurrbution said...

Since he couldn't do The Lord of the Rings for reasons, Excalibur offers a great insight in how his Lord of the Rings WOULD have / COULD have looked.

I am of course talking about the aesthetics of the film, such as sets, cinematography, etc. For instance, it's highly possible that the sword Excalibur was initially intended to be Anduril.

I believe there would be more info about the LotR connections under the trivia section of the film's IMDB page.

David Bratman said...

What I mostly remember from "Excalibur" was hearing the motif from Siegfried's funeral march repeated over and over.

Since you provided the link, I tried seeing if maybe they'd released a recording of the event. Evidently not, at least at that location.

Paul W said...

"it c[oul]d have been far, far worse." is a damn low bar to clear, and I would argue that Jackson's LOTR barely does that, and his Hobbit doesn't clear it at all.

His Return of the King argues that he barely understands Tolkien's vision at all... I don't think a Frodo/Galadriel romance is any more outlandish then the film we got - I can easily imagine Tolkien's reaction, for example, to Faramir's doomed, mounted charge against the fortified ruins of Osgiliath or the Witch-King SHATTERING Gandalf's staff. :(

David Bratman said...

Paul W: Here's a satire that made that point back when Jackson's RK was new.

Paul W said...

David B: Yes, that seems to capture his attitude quite well. :(