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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Hobbit (Dramatised)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2008
I've long been a fan of J R R Tolkien, ever since picking this book up when I was in primary school. The book of 'The Hobbit' is a delight for both adults and children, not as serious or epic as its sequel 'The Lord of the Rings', it's a much more compact and flows at a quicker pace. I have looked long and hard for a dramatised version and knowing the BBCs reputation for such things I eagerly bought this adaptation.
Well I have to say that its good, but at the same time it disappoints also! And on more than one level.
I find that the most annoying thing is the casting, Bilbo is perfectly cast, Paul Daneman does a superb job in the title role, as does John Justin as Thorin and Anthony Jackson as the Tale Bearer, but others such as Balin, the Elves, the spiders and not least the goblins, just don't sound right, the spiders sound like Daleks!! But the worst offender is the choice of Heron Carvic as Gandalf, not that the actor doesn't do a good job, it's just his voice! It doesn't carry enough power to convince as the all knowing wizard, he comes across like some sort of patronising old pensioner!
Another annoying thing is the pronunciation of some of the names, perhaps it's me, perhaps I have got it wrong, but I have never heard 'Gandalf' pronuced in such a silly way before or after!! Also I'm sure that its Thorin and not Torin, and Smaug is not Smuag!
Hey perhaps it's just me! You do get used to it after a while but it does take a little of the shine off the whole thing!

Other than those points, it's a fairly good adaptation! It sticks nicely to the book although it does thin out a few of the key encounters, the most notable for me being the cutting out of some of the riddles when Bilbo encounters Gollum, or Goluuum as they like to pronounce it here, which is one of the key parts of the book!

Do I recommend it? Well I'm not sure, it's not terrible but it's far from brilliant either, I'm old enough to remember the excellent, though now unavailable, Jackanory version with Bernard Cribbins in the lead role, supported by some other notable actors. I know that wasn't a full dramatised version, but it was head and shoulders above this version. I also recommend the audio version as read by Martin Shaw over this. I've also heard that the Rob Inglis version is excellent as well.

To be honest I'd go for them above this!

Perhaps as it's now 40 years since this adaptation it's time that the BBC re-commissioned it!!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2009
I was given a copy of this recording as a child and recently re-purchased on a whim of nostalgia. It is simply perfect. The piece starts (as it continues) with a wonderful little dialogue between the narrator and Bilbo (as Mr. Baggins continually interrupts), and this kind of twee charm pervades the whole recording. The voices are wonderful - Thorin and Gollum my favourites - (if a little biased towards the Welsh), and whilst the pronounciation is never purist-Tolkien (Ghan-dahlf, being a particular amusement), the whole piece is presented with such love and care that I can't help but praise it.

This isn't bombastic Jackson, or epic adventure, but for all that it is much more faithful to Tolkien. It is a true children's tale, and very, very English.

Buy now, listen repeatedly, love forever. Honestly.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2003
As an avid fan of the Hobbit, I jumped at the chance to own a copy of the audio CD once I had finished the book. I found it very appealing, a perfect way to unwind after a long day.
Younger listeners may be put off because it is a fairly old production, recorded in the 1960's. I can assure you it is as fine a telling of the story as any modern version.
My one complaint is that some the voices for the characters, especially the Eagles and Wargs, are a little over the top. This distracted from the story a little as it was hard to take them seriously when they sound like they have all had a good dose of helium!
Other that this one minor flaw it is, in my opinion, a very good buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2009
I first listened to this when I was nine, my parents were determined to get me reading more and bought me this on audio casette to try and make me read the book subsequently. I have now bought this on CD and it is the same if not better than I remember. I always thought Bilbo Baggins was played by the great Ian Holm but I believe I am wrong in thinking this, the 1970s voices of the wargs, eagles and goblins is a little eccentric but it does add the the characterisation I think. Many people might automatically link gollum to Andy Serkis but I think that the voice of Gollum in this audiobook is excellent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2011
This is well worth listening to, and extremely well adapted so that little seems to be omitted (of course, inevitably, it is - but not obviously so), yet the pace is never rushed.

It is pretty eccentric, however; and would probably be most enjoyed by those who already know and love the book and are interested in a slightly different 'take' on it.

The only real fault is that it is sometimes difficult to hear the dialogue, especially when the voices are electronically treated (e.g. the talking thrush).

The eccentricities begin with wholesale mispronunciations of proper names - with the second syllable emphasized in worlds like ganDALF and torEEN (i.e. Thorin).

Paul Daneman is very good as Bilbo but does a lot of ad libbing and nervous mumbling - however, he unfailingly rises to the big scenes.

Heron Carvic is a very unusual Gandalf - with a nasal and over-enunciated acTOR-ish voice and highly irritable affect - yet again he is very effective overall.

The Elf King is given a bizzare, rasping electronically treated voice rather like a robot!

The instrumental music is superb, medieval Krumhorns, Recorders and the like- but I wasn't so keen on the songs.

Still these are minor quibbles concerning a very sincere and enjoyable production which hits all the right spots.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
First off, I have to admit I found the studio production of this CD a little dated - but then, you have to consider when it was recorded.
But get past the rather naff production and you have a genuinely entertaining and enjoyable delivery. The compilation faces 2 challenges - it's never going to live up to your imagination when you read the book and it can't match the visual impact of the recent Lord of the Rings films. No matter how you slice it, you are at first going to be a little disappointed *BUT* stick with it - it grows on you.
The narrative is skillfully delivered, the script a well thought out adaptation and finally, there are going to be those occassions when you just want to listen to a great story.
I would recommend this, but not for those people who want the immediate impact of the film, or who have the time and inclination to read the book
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2010
Very clever 60s dramatization of Tolkien's "Hobbit". The production sensibility is really good fun, with a smart use of improv to give the impression of bustle, plenty of commitment from the actors, and the right 'feel' for this story's combination of northern adventurousness with common-sense bagginsitude.

Special recommend for David Cain's excellent music. If Solage had a holiday home in Greenland, this would be what he composed there.

Only slightly sour note for me is Heron Carvic's Gandalf, who's played in a way that could school Carroll's Humpty Dumpty in smugness. (I remember listening to this with a friend who loved Hordern as Gandalf; at the first sound of Carvic -- "I am Gund-ULLV..." -- he burst out, "No you're not!") But you get used to him, and Thorin Oakenshield, played by a great actor, John Justin, who also played Han Pritcher in the BBC's "Foundation Trilogy" adaptation, more than makes up for him with his vigorous hauteur and bombast.

Great fun to curl up with, this. If for no other reason, get it to hear that immortally bitchy Elf-king line: "Bilbo Baggins, you are more worthy to wear that coat of mail than many who have looked more comely in it."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2009
First off, this is no-where near as good as the BBC dramatisation of Lord of The Rings. However, given that this was produced in the late 60's it IS actually rather good.

BUT.....being produced in the 60's it does have a few (minor)issues :

1. OMG the MUSIC !!!! Aaaargh. Not only is it really 60's right-on-man hippy/folk with a hint of medieval thrown in for good measure, it is also really discordant. It does grate after a while !

2. Gandalf should NOT be pronounced GanDALF, and Gollum should NOT pronounced Golloom.

3. Gandalf should sound grandfatherly (think Ian McLKellen), and NOT have the voice and charisma of a scheming snidey Victorian clerk whose face you just want to pummel.

But hey.....overall it's a bit of FUN for a few hours !!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2003
We all know and enjoy Tolkien's classic story of Bilbo Baggin's first adventure. Listening to the story expertly read by Rob Inglis on cd only adds to the delight. I originally bought a 10 disk set and found that when i was listening to it on the run, there was so much hassle changing discs all the time. With mp3, the whole unabridged book fits onto one disc, and means that i can listen to 'The Hobbit' in its 11 hour entirety any where, any time.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2006
I have this on cassette tape, but have now purchased the CD version for convenience.

The BBC production stimulates the imagination much more than the telly can ever do. Just close your mind and engross yourself in a believable world of Hobbits, Dragons, magic rings and treasure. Gollum is an excellent character who adds a little humour to the Hobbitses Grand Adventure.
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