Tolkien a la BBC,
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
If the Peter Jackson films are a Hollywood interpretation of "The Lord of the Rings", then this fine radio adaptation is definitely a BBC one - lower key, more thoughtful, more romantic. The leading players all shine in their roles, particularly Micheal Hordern as Gandalf, and Peter Woodthorpe makes an excellent Gollum, at your feet one moment, and at your throat the next, even if at times he reminded me bizarrely of Ron Moody's Fagin from "Oliver!"; Robert Stephens' Aragorn is a little Shakespearean, but, well, this is the BBC after all. Peter Howell makes a suavely treacherous Saruman.
It's also faithful to the book, with only Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Downs being cut completely, although some scenes are necessarily abridged. It was a relief to see Merry and Pippin remain the loyal and resourceful friends from the book, rather than the nitwits that the films made of them.
Perhaps most importantly, the drama recreates the atmosphere of the book very well, and the story moves along at a brisk pace - it suffers mightily from the "well-just-one-more-chapter" syndrome when listening to it last thing at night - and is helped by a lovely and vivid musical score for strings, excerpts from which are on the last CD in the set.
All in all, it's a delight to listen to, and it must have been hell having to wait a week for the next miserly half-hour episode on the radio, back in 1981!
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Initial post: 28 Sep 2011 22:54:51 BDT
It wasn't hell at all - it was lovely knowing that it would be part of your life for six months. Most of us luxuriated in the production & felt awful as it neared its end. That said, I've more than once set aside a full day to listen to the whole thing right through. :)
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