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Old 10-28-2012, 02:39 PM   #41
jallanite
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë View Post
I spend a lot of time in second hand bookshops browsing children's books and I have never encountered any Disney books older than the 50s/60s. Yes, they existed, but the facts borne out by my own hours spent looking through kids' books do not bear out that they were that common. Yet you can still find a lot of old Rupert annuals etc from the period.
The period would end in May 1937 and begin approximately in 1935 or even earlier. There was only one Rupert the Bear annual during that period, the first, issued for Christmas 1936. There were some earlier Rupert the Bear books, but no annuals. Your so-called facts appear to be as imaginary as your previous mention of The Dandy, and The Beano, which only began publication in late 1937 and 1938 respectively.

The extent of Disney fandom is one explanation why perhaps Disney books don’t make it down to second-hand bookshops or stay there very long if they do.

I have never suggested that any particular Disney book was “that common”, whatever that means exactly. I have only presented information gathered by others that indicates that the number of Disney books from the period indicates that publishers in Britain were making money from Disney books during the period, or they would have stopped publishing them.

Argue all you want that Disney books weren’t, taken one at a time, common during that period. I never claimed that any individual book was common. It is futile to attempt to refute arguments I have never made.

What I did note is that Tolkien thought that there was a real danger that illustrations in the American edition of The Hobbit might be influenced by work issued from the Disney studios. I have pointed out that, so far as I can tell, there was no influence on children’s book illustrators from the Disney studios other than that books had begun appearing that were directly based or taken from animated cartoons, predominately from Disney cartoons, including British books.

I have suggested that Tolkien might have gotten the idea that American illustrators were being influenced by Disney from seeing some of the Disney books published in Britain at the time or at least knowing about them. That is all. I don’t know whether Tolkien ever saw any Disney book. The evidence suggests to me that he at least knew about them.

Refute me by pointing out American children’s book illustration that to some degree resembled Disney but was not in books directly derived from or related to cartoons, if you can. Or refute me by showing that Tolkien definitely did not know about any of the Disney books that had been published in Britain, if you can.

But the more I look, the more British Disney I find. That some British newspapers published the American Mickey Mouse strip is further evidence of the presence of Disney in British publications. That The Mickey Mouse Weekly began publication in February 1936 with over 500,000 copies sold indicates the extent of the British appetite for Disney material. Currently The Dandy’s circulation is only about 8,000 and it is to be cancelled. The Beano is supposedly still safe with a circulation of only 38,000, less than ą∕₁₀ of the initial circulation of The Mickey Mouse Weekly which had soon achieved a circulation of 750,000. I am aware that a weekly publication is not the same as a book. But seeing The Mickey Mouse Weekly in many places and at least knowing that Disney books were available completely explains Tolkien’s fear of influence by Disney on children’s book illustrators, even though it was unfounded in itself.

Quote:
Relax. It's my opinion.
Your opinion that Disney books were never rabid best-sellers has never been disputed by me. They were not best-sellers in the U.S. either. If it is your opinion that it is unlikely that Tolkien did not know that Disney book items (and postcards and other Disney items) were being sold in Britain, I deem that opinion unlikely to be true.

Quote:
Cinema was cheap fun and a primary source of news broadcasts, and everyone went there.
Everyone? That is an obvious exaggeration. What you should have said is almost everyone. But Tolkien, in 1965, was so poorly informed on the film world that he did not know who Ava Gardner was, although she had long been one of the most prominent film stars in the world. Of course, that does not mean that earlier in his life Tolkien might not have often gone to the cinema, indeed might have gone quite often.

Arguing from generalities to individual preferences is a bad practice.

Quote:
Sorry, but I will persist that Tolkien's most likely exposure to Disney was from cinema.
I have never denied that. Never. But I do deny that arguing that most people in Britain were inveterate film-goers does not mean that Tolkien was. Most people in Britain, to judge from most comments in the press and the general inclusion of Disney on film programs loved Disney. Tolkien loathed his work. By your methods of arguing Tolkien must have also loved Disney.

Note that I do not claim to know how Tolkien first encountered Disney. The most likely way need not be the way it actually happened.

Quote:
However, cinema going was something everyone did - going to see a mixed bag programme that would maybe have a film, some news, a couple of cartoons etc.
Again with the everyone. Tolkien, at least at one period later in life, went very seldom to the films. Still, I do not deny that Tolkien most likely encountered Disney in the films and have never denied it. So who are you arguing with? Still, most likely is not proof. For all I and you know Tolkien first knowingly encountered Disney when someone gave one of his children a Mickey Mouse book as a Christmas present. Note that I do not believe this happened. I simply don’t know what happened. And I am more aware than you appear to be about the dangers of arguing from likelihood.

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There's also the 1930s British book shopping experience to take into account. Bookshops weren't shops conducive to casual browsing, in common with most shops in the UK until the 1950s stock was mostly kept out of reach of 'casual browsers' and you would normally need to ask to view items.

Books were expensive and most borrowed them from the public library. Browsing in the modern sense would only have happened in more casual shopping environments like markets or Woolworths (in fact Penguin paperbacks were first sold here).
Untrue. From Sauron Defeated (HoME 9), p. 303, written by Tolkien about 1946:
It wasn’t a library. It was a folder containing a manuscript, on a high shelf in Whitburn’s second-hand room, that funny dark place where all sorts of unsaleable things drift. No wonder my dreams were full of dust and anxiety! It must have been fifteen years since I found the thing there: Quenta Eldalien, being the History of the Elves, by John Arthurson – in a manuscript, much as I’ve described it. I took an eager but hasty glance. But I had no time to spare that day, and I could find no one in the shop to answer my enquiries, so I hurried off.
This is a reference to the second-hand room in an Oxford bookstore in which Jeremy is browsing without supervision. Some more expensive books would doubtless be in glass cases or behind the counter in the main shop. I doubt that it would be any different in the 30s or before. If your business is selling books which are very unlike one another, you simply must let your customers browse.

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… an Oxford bookshop would have been extremely unlikely to have ever lowered itself to stock comics, kids' books and paperbacks and the like.
Certainly partly true of a high-class Oxford bookshop. But is your claim now that The Mickey Mouse weekly was not sold anywhere in Oxford in the 30s? Or that it would be extremely unlikely that any Oxford bookshop in the 30s would have lowered itself to stock The Hobbit or Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit or Howard Pyle’s books?

Quote:
You first mentioned Disney books. I disagree with you that they were of much importance in shaping Tolkien's opinion of Disney.
I never claimed specifically that “they were of much importance in shaping Tolkien’s opinion of Disney”. Again you are disagreeing with something I never claimed. Your practice seems to me that if you can’t cogently disagree with what I do say, then make up something that I didn’t say and disagree with that.

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Hey Ho. It's not going to go anywhere from hereonin so I'd suggest leaving it there.
If you want to stop disagreeing with opinions that aren’t mine, I think you should. And be aware that what is the most likely thing to have occurred may not have been what actually happened.

Last edited by jallanite; 10-28-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #42
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For the record, this site seems to list many, if not all, the UK publishers of Disney books and the specific material published from the 1930s to the present...

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Old 10-30-2012, 04:09 PM   #43
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Having just heard the news that Disney has bought Lucasfilms and plans to do Star Wars 7 - 9, I find myself hoping that Peter Jackson isn't next on Disney's list of acquisitions.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #44
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Having just heard the news that Disney has bought Lucasfilms and plans to do Star Wars 7 - 9, I find myself hoping that Peter Jackson isn't next on Disney's list of acquisitions.
I saw that too. Disney is actually a reasonable facsimile of the Evil Empire, so in a grotesque way it's rather fitting.

Hyperbole aside, I honestly shudder to think what they'd do if they did get their claws on Tolkien's works.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #45
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I saw that too. Disney is actually a reasonable facsimile of the Evil Empire, so in a grotesque way it's rather fitting.

Hyperbole aside, I honestly shudder to think what they'd do if they did get their claws on Tolkien's works.
Pffft! Peter Jackson has already turned Middle-earth into a Disney ride, with cascading skulls, shield surfing and an elephant slide.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:13 AM   #46
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Pffft! Peter Jackson has already turned Middle-earth into a Disney ride, with cascading skulls, shield surfing and an elephant slide.
Pirates of the Khazad-dűm?

Seriously though, as worthy of complaint as PJ's efforts have been, Disney would bring shallow, cheap thrills to a wholly new standard.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:04 PM   #47
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I guess a Disney LOTR film would be a lot like Pirates of The Caribbean, except you know, without the pirates & ships. I think Pixar could make a half decent script mind.

Hopefully LOTR is such a big weapon in WB's arsenal that will look to hold on to the rights for a very long time.
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:06 PM   #48
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Not sure why Disney would be interested in the Tolkien franchise as the only books Tolkien sold the rights to have been adapted already. Unless they'd like to do another adaptation of LotR/TH. Or maybe a Christmas cartoon version with Mickey & Pluto in the Frodo & Sam roles & Donald Duck as Gollum......which suddenly I'd like to see.

And leave us not forget that Lego have LotR & TH sets out, not to mention a computer game http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2QKi...eature=related
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:25 PM   #49
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Pirates of the Khazad-dűm?
Johnny Depp as Gandalf!


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Seriously though, as worthy of complaint as PJ's efforts have been, Disney would bring shallow, cheap thrills to a wholly new standard.
Oh, for a minute there I thought you were referring to PJ's The Two Towers.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:34 PM   #50
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It might have been wiser of me to let this sleeping thread lie--though since wizards are meddlers and bearers of ill news, perhaps not--but I have found a nugget of information about Tolkien and Disney and it has stuck in my mind since as needing to be added to this thread for the sake of the historical record.

My source is The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide Chronology (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond. The entry for 1939 includes the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scull & Hammond
C.S. Lewis twice sees the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the cinema (premiered in Britain in 1938). On the second occasion he is accompanied by Tolkien, who finds Snow to be beautiful but dislikes the Disney Studio's treatment of the Dwarfs.
Scull & Hammond, 224

Scull and Hammond are unable, in such a massive work, to provide a source for every entry, but it is clear from the context that the source in this case must be C.S. Lewis--possibly his diaries.

While this does not negate the possibility that Tolkien encountered Disney illustration in books, it confirms beyond a trace of reasonable doubt that he had seen Snow White. Interestingly, Tolkien found "Snow White to be beautiful" and it is the Dwarves specifically to whom he objects, which is consistent with his concerns about the Disnification of a Hobbit film.

The index to The Chonology lists a further seven pages with references to Disney. The first is from May 1937 and is a reference to his correspondence regarding the illustration of The Hobbit, as does a Dec. 1946 reference. In 1955, when Tolkien visits Italy with his daughter, "filthy Disney figures and Mickey mice" is the unflattering comparison he gives for the products of a glass factory he visits. Disney is again an unflattering reference in 1959 when referring to the dramatisation of The Hobbit (a play, however, rather than a film, which suggests the treatment of plot or theme rather than a visual characteristic). July 1964 is the entry that I will quote the entry in full here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scull & Hammond
?15 July 1964 (postmark) Tolkien finds an unfinished letter to Miss J.L. Curry begun in April but then neglected. He now completes it, apologizing for the delay. He expresses his dislike of Disney's films: 'Though in most of the "pictures" proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them is to me disgusting. Some have given me nausea' (quoted in Sotheby's, English Literature, Childrens & Illustrated Books & Drawings, London, 10 July 2001, p.123). He criticizes Disney's business practices, and would not have given a film proposal from Disney any consideration at all
And then there is a reference, 5 April 1966, in the midst of the matters surrounding the preparation of the Second Edition, to a radio broadcast of The Lord of the Rings in the states that has been sent "to Walt Disney see if the studio might be interested in a film adaptation, but they have replied that this would be too costly an enterprise."

There is little enough commentary for me to add to these bare references, beyond the fact that Tolkien gives the impression of having seen more than one Disney film (though "pictures" could, in fact, be argued to mean "more than one image"--i.e. in a single film). It also seems arguable that his impression soured over the years as Disney came to be identified with fairy-tales, from a mixed reaction to Snow White to a general antipathy to everything they stood for.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:37 AM   #51
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You could argue that bur the inverted commas make it clear he means films not individual cells. Standard colloquial British usage of the time for going to the cinema was "go to the pictures".
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:15 AM   #52
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You could argue that bur the inverted commas make it clear he means films not individual cells. Standard colloquial British usage of the time for going to the cinema was "go to the pictures".
Indeed. And he also referred to 'passages', which would also mean films. It's still rare to hear anyone over the age of 21 refer to 'movies' in the UK - it's always films/cinema/pictures. I think if I said to davem "Let's go to the movies!" then he'd spit his tea out

Nice quotes though, Form.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:35 AM   #53
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July 1964 is the entry that I will quote the entry in full here:
.
A somewhat fuller entry:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
to a Miss J.L. Curry, dated 15 July, 1964.

"[...] I recognize his talent, but it has always seemed to me hopelessly corrupted. Though in most of the 'pictures' proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them to me is disgusting. Some have given me nausea [...]"

He also accused Disney of being in his business practices "simply a cheat: willing and even eager to defraud the less experienced by trickery sufficently 'legal' to keep him out of jail"; he adds that his own affairs are in the hands of Allen & Unwin ("a firm with the highest repute"); that he is "not innocent of the profit-motive" himself (although "I should not have given any proposal from Disney any consideration at all. I am not all that poor [...]"

As to the broader question of 'films' vs other exposure- it seems very clear now that the letter of 1937 could not possibly have been influenced by Snow White, which T didn't see until Lewis took him in 1939. This is not however to say that Tolkien hadn't seen Disney animation at that time, since the 'Silly Symphony' cartoon shorts were routinely played as part of the prologomena to films, on both sides of the Atlantic.

I think this more likely than books (although we can't rule out daily comic strips, I suppose; did The Times or Telegraph even contain 'funny pages' in the 30s?) Tolkien's comment on the Browning's Pied Piper and "cheap and vulgar plastic toys" suggests that comic books/cartoon picture-books were likely Not Welcome chez Tolkien.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:54 AM   #54
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culture clash

In the film 'Adam's Family Values' the sensibilities of Tolkien and Disney come face to face in a summer camp. Anyone who has seen it will know what I mean, but if you haven't then imagine how Legolas and Gimli might feel having been forced to watch Disney films all night. Fantasia's Night on Bare Mountain with its balrog emerging from the pit, Snow White's dwarves, hippos in tutus... chilling.

As to the two authors copyrighting their work I do not find it surprising or a problem; if I had put years of experience into my works I wouldn't want their messages skewed or lost either. I'd be more in favour of the Tolkien-esque than Disney-esque but either way something of 'me and mine' would innevitably be lost. Even where the two converge they remain distinct; "Tra la la lally down here in the valley" is as far from 'The Lay of Gilgalad' as it is from "Hi ho, hi ho".

That said, both have had a huge influence on me. In childhood I 'got' Disney and though I have grown out of that simplicity I still remember when things like 'The Sourcerer's Apprentice' and 'Dumbo' were new to me, how they made me feel. I have not traded one in for the other but, like a tree, the one ring has grown outside the other. Indeed, one might say that when dealing with the ancient stories Tolkien is more like Saruman, taking them and their languages apart to show us many colours. Where Disney shows us the 'baddy' and the 'happy ever after', Tolkien shows us the 'baddy-who-was-just-like-us' and the happy ending 'at-the-cost-of-eternal-loss'.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:07 AM   #55
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This topic really caught me by surprise and is an interesting point.

I think another part of the difference is simply how Tolkien intended his work to be read and thought of and how Disney chose to narrate stories.

We are all rather familiar with how Tolkien wished his works to be thought and viewed of more as legend, as accounts of great deeds, trials, etc. that could be seen as happening in a far off age where specifics don't matter as much as messages and eternal themes do. Stories that survive for quite a long time specifically because what they tell and their core values.

Disney pulls a lot of its source material from fairy tales, most of its older works from Grim tales. Which, if anyone's read the original stories you know they are quite different from that of Disney's interpretation. I think what Tolkien might have seen from this is similar to what others have pointed out, the almost excess of humor at the sake of message until all of these tales meld into one.

Before anyone goes on a witch hunt saying that Tolkien does indeed have humor and songs in his work so he is only being a snob of comedy towards Disney, he doesn't do so at the sake of his tales' core themes. There is little difficulty for a child to read The Hobbit and both enjoy the humor and become enamored by the struggle of the characters, or the message.
If anything it's a balancing act of knowing that your work is for children, but like many very old traditional tales (in the way of legends) which usually you would tell a child because of the advice/message they carry.

Maybe looking at how Disney treated Grim's original works, Tolkien felt quite hesitant to hand over or entertain the idea of giving them access to his books.

... Which after seeing those sketches, I'd be saying a firm 'Heck no!' too.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:48 PM   #56
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I can't remember if this was brought up before, but what do you think about Disney's happily ever after endings? Would Tolkien have agreed?

I doubt it. A precious few of Tolkien's stories have a truly happy end, and even fewer have a definite end at all. Instead, they all seem to flow on, the end of one story becoming the beginning of another. Would Disney make a movie that has a somewhat sad ending... that's not really an ending? Can't imagine they would really make an effort with the endings here.

All the same, this is a pretty minor point that I just had a random thought about. I think the main issue is, as has been said numerous times already, the over-the-top humour and lack of depth.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:15 PM   #57
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I can't remember if this was brought up before, but what do you think about Disney's happily ever after endings? Would Tolkien have agreed?

I doubt it. A precious few of Tolkien's stories have a truly happy end, and even fewer have a definite end at all. Instead, they all seem to flow on, the end of one story becoming the beginning of another. Would Disney make a movie that has a somewhat sad ending... that's not really an ending? Can't imagine they would really make an effort with the endings here.
As originally conceived Bilbo Baggins experienced a storybook "happy ending".

Quote:
[Bilbo] remained very happy to the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long.
The Hobbit

It was only when writing LOTR that Tolkien had to revise that somewhat, making the Ring a source of discontent and danger for Bilbo.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:16 PM   #58
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If Tolkien disliked Disney, just think how much he would utterly loathe Peter Jackson.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #59
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I can't remember if this was brought up before, but what do you think about Disney's happily ever after endings? Would Tolkien have agreed?
...
Disney studios were fairly typical for film makers of the time. The happy ending is what people want so that is what is still mass produced. Tolkien's writings contain happy endings too but not sanitised like Disney or Hollywood. 'Closure' in real life is never so neat and tidy as 'ever after', and JRR reflects this.


I wonder what Tolkien had in mind when watching Disney films. If he was hoping for someone with the resources and creativity to adapt his stories I do not believe he'd have seen any film up to the standards needed. Even studios that had the financial resources did not have the directors who could resist the tampering of their backers, while those like Disney and Ray Harryhausen, who might have provided the effects, would have been every bit as disapointing in their handling of mythology.

If Tolkien disliked Disney perhaps it was the result of disappointment.

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Old 02-10-2013, 01:27 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I can't remember if this was brought up before, but what do you think about Disney's happily ever after endings? Would Tolkien have agreed?

I doubt it. A precious few of Tolkien's stories have a truly happy end, and even fewer have a definite end at all. Instead, they all seem to flow on, the end of one story becoming the beginning of another.
Even in the dour F.A. there are a few, but the key word is that they are passing. Even Beren and Luthien's legacy intertwine with that of Hurin and Turin's tale, which compared to Disney's clean cut happily ever-afters, is quite the opposite.

Like others have mentioned, Tolkien had a firm grasp of how things like 'closure' are in reality. He repeatedly makes it keenly aware to the reader that yes, some of his characters will find happiness at the end of their tale, but this is far from everlasting. Sometimes one's happiness comes at a consequence to another, whether they know or even care at that point.

Also, the idea that you can't necessarily guard the fallout of anyone's actions upon others is something he visits time and time again. What he does offer is a plethora of responses to this based on the diversity of the nature of his characters. Something we as readers can take away with us and ponder over, or identify with.

Themes like this are about as close to a typical Disney plot anti-thesis as you can get. Even if a main character suffers/looses continuously throughout the narrative, there is always some climatic point where deux ex machina happens for the sake of a clean-cut happy ending that is rewarding to the audience.

Is this good for Disney? Yes, that is what they are known for and what audiences typically expect of them.
For Tolkien? Not very much at all, or at least, not very marketable to Disney (without them making severe changes of course).
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:30 AM   #61
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Is this good for Disney? Yes, that is what they are known for and what audiences typically expect of them.
For Tolkien? Not very much at all, or at least, not very marketable to Disney (without them making severe changes of course).
Makes you wonder (God forbid such a thing ever actually happen...) what a Disney adaptation of Tolkien's tales would look like. Beren and Lúthien is easy enough to imagine: they get married and live happily ever after, and if there's any hint of Lúthien's change of fate, it would be cast as completely romantic--not unlike Tangled--which, as far as THAT goes, would be an adaptation that I would not utterly hate... though I suspect Celegorm and Curufin would turn out to be in cahoots with Morgoth if they made it into the story at all, and Finrod likewise might not die... maybe not Draugluin or Thuringwethil either... and one wonders whether Mandos would appear at all.

Okay, "The Tale of Tinúviel" has problems, but it could be done, probably alone of Tolkien's tales (unless, say, you want to do Tuor's tale, but have it end when he gets the girl--you know, before the action of The Fall of Gondolin really begins). Just trying to IMAGINE a tale of Turin takes all sorts of mental gymnastics. Probably the ONLY thing you could keep from the incestastic ending is killing the dragon--no more dead Turin, dead Brandir, dead Nienor, certainly no Mrs. Nienor Turinswife. That means that Finduilas has to be the princess, so she's not dead, so that probably means no return to Dor-Lómin... and at this point it probably makes sense to either lose Nienor and Morwen completely or distort their story so much as to be unrecognisable. Same with Hurin--perhaps killing the dragon will result in him being freed, so that means the Nirnaeth is starting to look more like Smaug's Destruction of Dale.

I suppose there could be a Dwarf in the story, though....
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:23 PM   #62
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Just trying to IMAGINE a tale of Turin takes all sorts of mental gymnastics. Probably the ONLY thing you could keep from the incestastic ending is killing the dragon--no more dead Turin, dead Brandir, dead Nienor, certainly no Mrs. Nienor Turinswife. That means that Finduilas has to be the princess, so she's not dead, so that probably means no return to Dor-Lómin... and at this point it probably makes sense to either lose Nienor and Morwen completely or distort their story so much as to be unrecognisable. Same with Hurin--perhaps killing the dragon will result in him being freed, so that means the Nirnaeth is starting to look more like Smaug's Destruction of Dale.
Sssh! Don't give Peter Jackson any ideas.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:51 AM   #63
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I'd recoil in horror at the traditional Disney take on a Tolkien story, though an impish part of me would quite like to see what Pixar could do with one of Tolkien's stories...

I think one of the big issues isn't particularly the 'look' of Disney animation, it's about how sanitised it is. The correct word is probably Bowdlerised. But, for the child viewer, much rewriting of stories is often necessary. The original AA Milne text of Winnie the Pooh is quite odd as I found when reading it aloud last year, but the Disney animations are acceptable. Another good example, though not a Disney interpretation is of Thomas the Tank Engine. The original books have some unpleasant stuff in them such as an engine being to all intents and purposes buried alive as punishment for being naughty. And there are numerous stories with serious or casual racism, cruelty, and dodgy values - even Narnia includes some attitudes I would not be happy for a child to take on board. What we deem as children's stories are not always suitable for kids.

The Hobbit itself has an authorial tone that's now quite jarring, though the content is mostly safe enough for school age children. However I feel Disney really would go to town on bowdlerising it. No trolls discussing boiling the Dwarves, or scary Gollum, and no really nasty spiders. Rather than Jackson's take which was to pick up and build on the action in the text, Disney would be more likely to pick up on 'silly' Elves and Dwarves - would the tra-la-la-lally be in there? Oh yes. With Katy Perry singing

Disney's not all bad at all, I can see that some stories do need to be altered for tiny ones to enjoy them. But some stories lose all their appeal when bowdlerised and The Hobbit would be one of them.

Of course, this is all assuming that a Disney adaptation would be animation, when we know they can also produce a cracking live action film (Pirates, anyone?). I wonder if Tolkien ever considered what a live action film might be like.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:53 AM   #64
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...Of course, this is all assuming that a Disney adaptation would be animation, when we know they can also produce a cracking live action film (Pirates, anyone?). I wonder if Tolkien ever considered what a live action film might be like.
There were plenty of live action Epics around in Tolkien's time. Gone with the Wind in 1939 and The Ten Commandments was released in 1956, the year after Return of the King was published. So there were studios with the resources to produce films of the scale required for LotR but I doubt he'd have been very impressed with the special effects. The face of Moses on The Mountain in DeMilles' film is hardly up to portraying the light actually coming from the person; when it is lit at all it's obviously from an outside source. That would miss the point that JRR wants to make in the transformation of Gandalf and Galadriel revealing an inner, otherwise veiled nature.

Some great leaps have been made in effects since then, and the scope of Star Wars is epic, but even in the wake of Lucas Films directorship continues to be tampered with by backers and editors. Seeing how much Bladerunner was interfered with, cutting vital scenes like the unicorn, I can well understand the need for artistic control being established before Tolkien estates gave the go ahead to producers.
Even in a live action film I think Disney studios would still have given us a chirpy Glorfindel and an 'oo da lally' Gandalf.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:02 PM   #65
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I wonder if Tolkien ever considered what a live action film might be like.

Tolkien's concern was not just limited to whethyer or not special effects and celluloid wizrdry could create the illusion of Middle-earth reality.

Here's what he wrote in "On Fairy-Stories:" However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that it imposes one visible form. Literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular. If it speaks of bread or wine or stone or tree, it appeals to the whole of these things, to their ideas, yet each hearer will give to them a peculiar personal embodiment in his imagination.

Moreover, as we all know it is simply not possible to get the wealth and richness of the LR into even ten or twelve hours of screen-time. And even if that were piossible, one still couldn't tell the stroy in the gradually-unfolding manner Tolkien did; the early chapters *before* Bree are masterful, and one needs to get past the character of Bombadil himself to take another look, in those three chapters, at how deftly Tolkien step by step expand's Frodo's (and the reader's) perception of the world in both space and time.

Besides, as a practical matter all that f/x costs money, which means no film would ever be made except as a lowest-common-denominator mass blockbuster like Jackson's vulgar action flicks.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:30 PM   #66
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Tolkien's concern was not just limited to whethyer or not special effects and celluloid wizrdry could create the illusion of Middle-earth reality.

Here's what he wrote in "On Fairy-Stories:" However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that it imposes one visible form. Literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular. If it speaks of bread or wine or stone or tree, it appeals to the whole of these things, to their ideas, yet each hearer will give to them a peculiar personal embodiment in his imagination.
Still, he sold the rights so he must have considered it. Even if he thought it unfilmable then that indicates he thought about this.

I saw the writer of Life Of Pi on TV the other night stating that he thought the novel was unfilmable - and as we now know, it was.

I'm struggling to think of any writers who have refused to sell film/TV rights to their work.

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There were plenty of live action Epics around in Tolkien's time. Gone with the Wind in 1939 and The Ten Commandments was released in 1956, the year after Return of the King was published. So there were studios with the resources to produce films of the scale required for LotR but I doubt he'd have been very impressed with the special effects. The face of Moses on The Mountain in DeMilles' film is hardly up to portraying the light actually coming from the person; when it is lit at all it's obviously from an outside source. That would miss the point that JRR wants to make in the transformation of Gandalf and Galadriel revealing an inner, otherwise veiled nature.
I'm probably committing a mortal sin now, but to my taste, a De Mille film of Tolkien's work would have been as bad as a classic Disney style one. Tolkien will no doubt have seen some of these famous epic films (I think it's likely that everyone saw Gone With The Wind), but where they differ from Jackson is that they were exactly that - epics. One thing I can say for Jackson is that he has a lot of levity and his light heartedness saves the films from being pompous epics (*cough* Braveheart *cough*).
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:54 PM   #67
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I'm probably committing a mortal sin now, but to my taste, a De Mille film of Tolkien's work would have been as bad as a classic Disney style one. Tolkien will no doubt have seen some of these famous epic films (I think it's likely that everyone saw Gone With The Wind), but where they differ from Jackson is that they were exactly that - epics. One thing I can say for Jackson is that he has a lot of levity and his light heartedness saves the films from being pompous epics (*cough* Braveheart *cough*).
DeMille would most likely have filled his pool with jello for the parting of the Ford of Bruinen. And Charleton Heston would be Aragorn. It would be silly.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #68
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OTOH, in De Mille's day he would have had Peter Lorre to cast as Gollum.......
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