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Old 03-17-2008, 03:52 AM   #143
Brian Sibley
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: London
Posts: 54
Brian Sibley has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by davem View Post
I did like the way Celeborn was played by Simon Cadell (& that the BBC budget stretched to employing an actor, rather than, as with the movie, having to resort to a robot...), though you do half expect him to greet the Fellowship with an awkward 'Hi de Hi!'...... No, unfair. Cadell's performance was subtle & informed.
I was surprised to realise that Cadell had already been in Hi de Hi (1980) when he worked on Rings. But I agree his performance in a small role was strong - and he was at least a real presence, unlike the film.

Originally Posted by davem View Post
Which brings me to a question about the 'bit players' - how much background were they given as to their characters, & what was happening? And how many of them were like Michael Hordern, with no real clue about what was happening? Marian Diamond's Galadriel has always been one of my favourite performances - I love her voice.
Yes, Marian's performance was excellent and she worked wonders in those few short scenes without any radiophonic tricksy stuff. My problem with the film is similar to the reaction I have when Gandalf becomes threatening at Bag End - it is just so unsubtle...

How much were the actors told? Not a great deal, I imagine - the time constraints in the recording sessions were pretty severe. Probably not much more than any actor in a soap opera is given about what is to happen to them. I seem to remember drawing up a list of characters and who they were and various reference books (there were fewer of them then!) were available.

But most of the actors would have been told who/what their character was and - since they didn't have all 26 scripts before the recordings began - would have learned their destiny as each new episode came to them.

Unless, of course, they had read the book...

Originally Posted by davem View Post
Oh yes, were any of the actors fans of the story beforehand? I know Peter Woodthorpe said at Church House that he only read the parts of the book in which Gollum appeared & didn't really know the other events of the story.
I'm trying to remember... Ian Holm, I think, had already read the book and certainly read it in close detail while preparing for the role. David Collings (Legolas) was a devoted fan of the book and knew it well which was a great help in the Fellowship scenes. I'm sure some of the others had read it or seen the truncated Bakshi version. The time available and the fees paid would probably not have induced many who hadn't read the book to do so...

I remember reading, in John (Bilbo) Le Mesurier's posthumous biography, a letter written to a show-biz friend saying something to the effect that he was working on The Lord of the Rings for the BBC, didn't have the faintest idea what it was all about but that it was all very jolly because he was working with old friends like Hordern who also didn't seem to know what was going on...

Which is a bit like real life, I guess...

Originally Posted by davem View Post
What else? No Amon Hen. I wonder why (of course, one always assumes 'time constraints' as the reason for cuts, but I do wonder whether anything got cut simply because there was no way of dramatising it effectively). However, I did think the scene between Boromir & Frodo was brialliantly done. Michael Graham Cox conveyed all the pain, confusion, & egotistic desire of Boromir perfectly, the sense of a man in a state of absolute hopelessness grasping at what he feels is his people's only chance for survival. MGC is often ignored in discussions of the series, but I think he is absolutely brilliant here.
Amon Hen was cut for several reasons: time (always a pressing factor); the necessity to have Frodo soliloquising on the Seat of Seeing - always a difficult thing to achieve on radio; and because the Eye imagery had featured so recently in the Mirror of Galadriel episode where it had similarly been described in a mini-Frodo-monologue...
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