Master of the Rings DVD

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Postby Jonaki » Sun May 02, 2004 2:11 pm

First of all, apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere. I tried the Search function, and also the DVD section of the site (which doesn't seem to work on my computer), without success. Also, I didn't know where to post this message, so I hope this place is ok.<BR><BR>I have a couple of questions about the DVD documentary Master of the Rings.<BR><BR>1. Is this is a worthwhile documentary? How does it compare with, say, the BBC documentary that aired at around the time of the first Rings movie? (I think that one was called Master of Middle Earth, but my memory is a bit clouded). Does it repeat any of the material from that doc?<BR><BR>2. I notice that several versions of the Master of the Rings DVD are available. There are two Region 2 versions, on sale at places like amazon.uk. and play.com. One has a retail price of 19.99 GBP, the other 9.99, but there are no details of any differences between them. To further complicate things, there is also a Region 1 version which some sites list as being a "Special Edition". Do all of these discs contain the same basic documentary (ie. the one hosted by Robert Di Napoli)? I'm not interested in any Rick Wakeman CDs that may or may not come with the DVD, by the way.<BR><BR>3. While I'm at it, anyone care to add any comments on the Inside The Lord of the Rings series of DVDs, or any other Tolkien documentaries for that matter? I'm particularly after some substantial interview footage of Tolkien, if any is available.
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Postby Almatolmen » Tue May 04, 2004 10:43 am

From <em>J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth</em> by Daniel Grotta-Kurska (1976). p. 141-2:<BR><BR>'In February 1968, Tolkien was finally persuaded to permit the BBC to make a documentary film about him....Although (Leslie) megahey and his camera crew shot hours of film of the Professor in Oxford, the televised segment that finally appeared on the BBC-2 program 'Release', ran only 20 minutes. According to Mehahey, the reason why so little footage was shown was that much-most- of Tolkien's speech was incomprehesible...This is the only film documentary of Tolkien ever made, and the program was repeated on January 2, 1972, to celebrate Tolkien's 80th birthday.<BR><BR>*When DG-K spoke by telephone with LM by tellephone in September 1975, to inquire about the possibility of viewing the unused Tolkien footage, LM checked witht he BBC archives, and was told the film couldn't be found(!!). Whether it was merely misplaced or permamentaly lost is unknown.'<BR><BR>Since I've not heard of the footage being used in the invenening years, I presume it's lost. I'd love to see that though! Someone should inquire again.<BR><BR>
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Postby Jonaki » Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Thanks Almatolmen. The BBC have a long history of mislaying or even wiping priceless footage. I think they used to be in the habit of erasing old tapes in order to re-use them, which is why so much of importance has been lost (for example, the play Madhouse On Castle Street, featuring footage of a young Bob Dylan, has been lost forever). At the same time, several things thought lost have eventually turned up, so there is always hope. The reference to Tolkien's speech being "incomprehensible" brought a smile to my face. In the few clips I've seen, it's easy to see that his mind was running too fast for his speech to keep up. <BR><BR>I take it that "Release" is unavailable on video.<BR><BR> <BR><BR>
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Postby Almatolmen » Wed May 12, 2004 9:27 am

I don't know for certain, but it wouldn't surprise me that the original program is not, but various incarnations of the birthday version are: prograhttp://bib.gladsaxe.dk/is/www/full-sh.asp?fn=22148982m. [This is a Danish site but the relevent parts are in English]

About the time that FotR was released, PBS broadcast this show. At the time, I read indications that the one-hour version (which I video-taped) had been shortened from a much expanded 2-hour revised version of the birthday program.
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Postby John_Ronald_Reuel » Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:41 am

uh...a question...
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