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Old 05-04-2011, 08:15 AM   #1
Giles Goatleaf
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Microphones vs megaphones in Middle Earth

There was an excellent discussion of the 1981 BBC radio adaptation of LOTR on the Barrow-Downs 3 years ago (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=14646). A new (and very good, IMHO) unabridged audiobook adaptation of FOTR has recently become available (http://www.youtube.com/user/PhilsStuffofDoom). There's also a 1990 audiobook of LOTR read by Rob Inglis (although rather dry, IMHO), and a few other hard-to-get recordings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptat...d_of_the_Rings).

What do people think? Is audio in fact a better medium for LOTR? Can visual media ever do it proper justice?
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:17 AM   #2
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I certainly enjoyed listening to the BBC radio play better than watching the films. I think that without the aid of sight, radio actors have to give more to the performance, a lot of the film had too much CGI. Just listen to Eowyn as she confronts The Witch-king on Radio and Film and tell me which is closest to Tolkien.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:42 PM   #3
Giles Goatleaf
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Well as you may have guessed, I'm an audiophile too. I think an audio adaptation is bound to pay more attention to what Tolkien actually wrote. Then there's the issue of one's own internal "visualisation" of Tolkien's world vs one that is imposed on the viewer by a movie. Having said that, Jackson did a great job of the visuals, but alas not with the dialogue. All the great LOTR dialogues: Saruman at Orthanc, Galadriel by the mirror, Denethor at the pyre, Eowyn/Gandlaf/Lord of the Nazgul on the Pelennor Fields, etc, come out better in the BBC radio-play - what a great adaptation that was!

With the possible exception of Gandalf on the bridge of Khazad-dum - that was good in the movie!
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:59 PM   #4
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I love the radio version with a few quibbles and I agree that the visuals were good on the film with a few exceptions (Lorien was a bit of a disappointment and why were the Rohirrim's cloaks blankets? ) but that is no doubt due in part to using Alan Lee and John Howard.

For me one of the great triumphs of the Radio version for me was that I always find the Frodo and Sam thread hard going to read but it is one of the finest parts of the radio version. I feel Robert Stephen's Aragorn is a bit too actorly in parts and Arwen does sount rather old ladyish but otherwise the casting is superb.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:39 PM   #5
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That very true about the Frodo/Sam thread in the BBC version - perhaps better than the book even! (is that sacrilege?)

I'd be interested in your opinion of this new unabridged audiobook reading of FOTR I came across on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/PhilsStuffofDoom). It's a fan effort which relies on the movies for backing music and even for character voices, but I think he does a really good job (I am not affiliated with this project).
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
For me one of the great triumphs of the Radio version for me was that I always find the Frodo and Sam thread hard going to read but it is one of the finest parts of the radio version. I feel Robert Stephen's Aragorn is a bit too actorly in parts and Arwen does sount rather old ladyish but otherwise the casting is superb.
Very interesting. For me, it's possibly the other way round, and for the same reason. The Frodo and Sam / Frodo, Sam and Gollum chapters, being my favourites of the chapters after the breaking of the Fellowship, I'm naturally both more drawn to and more critical of their portrayal, and of the characters in them.

I thought the BBC's Helm's Deep was masterful, and I felt the scenes with the more "traditional" heroes had a deeply Shakespearean feel to them. I love the whole book - some chapters more than others, admittedly - but I rushed through Books 3 and 5 on my first reading, and I've never loved them as much as the thread of Frodo's story. But I've always adored the way the BBC portrayed these elements of the story: Theoden, Aragorn, Eomer, et al. And it hasn't been entirely unknown for me to burst randomly into "From dark Dunharrow in the dim morning," either. Usually sotto voce, of course ....

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