John Boorman’s Lord of the Rings

I got this from Mike S. via Google+

I don’t know anything about John Boorman, but I feel like I do after reading this comment at the link, where we get a summary of Boorman’s proposed screenplay, posted by a commenter named geoffrey, to whom I am sure we’re all grateful because our lives would not be complete without the following:

The Lord of the Rings:
John Boorman’s LSD Hippy Version

From the beginning of the screenplay to about the 15-minute mark:

We first see J. R. R. Tolkien in his study, then we find ourselves right by the active volcano of Mount Doom! The camera starts panning away, showing the rocky terrain of Mordor. Back, back, and then we see what can only be called the Great Wall of Mordor. For the most part the Great Wall is natural, but where necessary artificial walls and towers have completed it.

Then we hear a chorus of voices (children and old men) chanting the old familiar “Three Rings for the Elven Kings under the sky…” Etc.

Then we see, right beside Mount Doom, the Tower of Sauron, complete with Eye.

We swoop away from Mordor over the Pelennor Fields to the city of Minas Tirith. Swoosh! Then we’re swept over the Misty Mountains, into Forest Fangorn, then to the Great River, catching a glimpse of Theoden’s castle. We zip by other castles with convoluted shapes to the crystalline palace of Rivendell. Then…

We’re at the Shire. It’s Bilbo’s 111th birthday party! He’s giving his farewell speech, and he obviously doesn’t want to leave the Shire. Gandalf has to pressure him to go. There is no “magic Ring” moment.

Gandalf takes Bilbo to the latter’s cottage (that’s right: cottage), and Gandalf tells Bilbo to go to Rivendell. After a verbal struggle, Bilbo drops the Ring into Gandalf’s hat and goes down the road towards Rivendell.

Later that same night Frodo comes to the cottage he inherited from Bilbo. Gandalf is still there. Gandalf tells Frodo to take the Ring, and he bids Frodo try it on. Frodo is psychologically unable to do so. Frodo, in a trance, mutters, “One…to rule…them…In the Land of Mordor…where the Shadows lie.” This shocks Gandalf.

Frodo then tries to give Gandalf the Ring, but Gandalf sternly forbids Frodo to tempt him with the Ring.

BANG! The door swings open. In come Sam, Pippin, and the fat Merry. They saw “a dark shape…a black horse…a face without…eyes”. Gandalf jumps up and tells Frodo to celebrate his inheritance by taking his three friends on a holiday to Rivendell.

As the sun rises, the four Hobbits leave for Rivendell as Gandalf tells Frodo, “And remember, don’t put it on – unless you have to.”

On this spring day the Hobbits merrily walk through an apple orchard full of swirling apple blossoms. Then they come to a field of mushrooms, which they pick and eat as fast as they can. They start giggling and laughing, and their feet become unsteady. They lurch into a field of buttercups, naked children running amidst the flowers. Then the four Hobbits run past a flock of sheep, and then past fifty scarecrows with nasty faces.

Later, when the Hobbits come across some men, one of the latter says, “Halfling? Where? There’s a reward if you catch one of them.” Frodo mocks them and eludes them by putting on the Ring, accidentally stepping in a cowpie.

Later, the Hobbits see a Rider coming down the road. They hide in the hedge. The Rider stops, does his sniffing thing, then rides off. The Hobbits continue their journey, but now they avoid the road.

And here we come to the end of the movie’s first 15 minutes.

As can be seen, this screenplay wastes little time. The four Hobbits all leave within hours of Bilbo leaving, going to the same place. One wonders why the four Hobbits don’t catch-up with the 111-year-old Bilbo.

The “high on mushrooms” thing is very 1970 (when this script was written).

Also interesting is Gandalf telling Frodo it’s OK to use the Ring if he needs to. Plus the lack of any doubt on Gandalf’s part about the Ring. No throwing it in the fireplace, or writing on the Ring, or etc. No history lesson. Just: Take your Ring and go to Rivendell!

Geoffrey provides more of the summary of the screenplay as you scroll down. I highly recommend you click through and enjoy (?) the whole thing.

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