Tag Archive: Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien

Caricature by gaumgospel

Today would have been JRR Tolkien’s 120th birthday.

To celebrate, Tom Hawking, the contributing editor over at Flavorwire has put together a gallery of beautiful and strange editions of Lord of the Rings  and The Hobbit from around the world. The list includes Professor Tolkien’s *least* favorite cover art as well as bizarre interpretations from Poland (which really should surprise no one who has seen CHUD’s extensive coverage of Polish movie posters) and other international editions.

To see an exhaustive listing of Tolkien cover art, please visit the Tolkien Book Covers Gallery and The Tolkien Library

Here are my personal favorites, some from Tom’s list and others from The Tolkien Book Covers Gallery.

The original | Polish Edition | British Folio Edition | 2005 Houghton-Mifflin set | Finnish Edition

So, please join me in raising a glass and toasting the author of one of the most enduring and beloved books in the English language:


Bob Anderson

RIP: 1922-2012

There is no doubt that sword fighting can be a vicious, brutal form of combat. The damage a blade can do to an unprotected body is staggering. It’s dangerous regardless of which side of the weapon you’re on.

It’s also sexy as hell.

Thrust and parry, lunge and retreat, en guard, riposte all combined to make a sword fight as graceful as it was deadly; a beautiful balance between strength, grace, steel and flesh.

No one knew this better than Bob Anderson, Hollywood’s sword fighting virtuoso who passed away yesterday at the age of 89.

After retiring from competitive fencing in 1952, Bob started working as a stunt man in Hollywood movies, where his first job was to stage fights and coach Errol Flinn in The Master of Ballantrae . Over the years, he became the most sought after fight coordinator and sword master in Hollywood, working continuously for six decades on some of the most notable films of all times including the James Bond films From Russia with Love, Die Another Day, Highlander, The Princess Bride, The Mask of Zorro, the Star Wars Trilogy and Lord of the Rings.

A quiet man, it was years before his true contribution to the Star Wars films was fully known. For years it was believed that he merely coached and choreographed the fight scenes for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In fact, Anderson was performing in those fight scenes, a fact that George Lucas wanted buried for fear it would adversely affect David Prowses career. The deception did not sit well with actor Mark Hamill, who finally revealed the truth in a Starlog interview in 1983:

“It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn’t think it was fair any more. Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It’s ridiculous to preserve the myth that it’s all done by one man.”

According to Leon Hill, Anderson’s assistant:

“David Prowse wasn’t very good with a sword and Bob couldn’t get him to do the moves. Fortunately Bob could just don the costume and do it himself.”

Anderson’s best work was arguably done on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Not only did he train the actors and choreograph the fight scenes he also developed individual fighting styles for each of the cultures of Middle Earth based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s descriptions in the text. His genius is seen most notably in the Weathertop sequence from The Fellowship of the Ring, where Aragorn fights his first battle against the Ringwraiths. Remember that this was Viggo Mortensen’s first day of shooting, only arriving in New Zealand a few days before. It is a testament to Bob Anderson’s skill as both a choreographer and teacher (and Viggo as a student) that they were able to pull off the scene as amazingly well as they did with so little preparation.

I first became a fan of Anderson’s after seeing the movie Highlander, although I didn’t know it at the time. After seeing the battles between Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown, I walked away wanting to be able to do that; to dance with a blade whirling around me. It was so fluid and beautiful and I was left in awe.

Rest well Bob. Thank you for the amazing legacy. Think I’m going to download Reclaiming the Blade from Netflix tonight.

Always getting lost making your way from Hobbiton to the Withywindle River? Want to visit Weathertop but keep winding up in Moria instead?

Keep your Fellowship from losing its way with the handy-dandy, wearable and washable Middle Earth Metro Map!

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Get your Middle Earth Metro Shirt at Threadless Tees!

The HobbitLots of reports floating around regarding the release date of The Hobbit – Part 1. MTV is claiming that we won’t be having many meetings until December 2013, while Reuters is saying that no, the party is expected to happen in December of 2012.

The confusion can be traced back to an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal that IMAX and Warner Bros. have inked a deal to release 20 movies between now and 2013. Fifteen films, such as the new Superman, Batman and Dark Shadows (directed by Tim Burton, how cool is that?) do not have firm release dates as of yet. The remaining five – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, Happy Feet 2, and The Hobbit, all are locked into their dates.  In The Hobbit’s case, it was slated for a December 2013 release.

Well, I guess someone forgot to mention that there are two Hobbit movies coming out and the One Ring.net confirms that the first installment will indeed be coming out in December 2012.

Well, that is a little disappointing as most fans were expecting to see the movie sometime in 2011.

Peter Jackson What was disturbing me was news that Peter Jackson had just completed the second script, and handed it in for approval last week. He even mentioned in interviews that the two movies aren’t even greenlit yet. Seems the financial strife over at MGM is throwing a monkey wrench into the proceedings. Based on the announcement today from Warner Bros., it would be hard not to conclude that the movies have indeed secured financing and are slated to begin production soon.


And hopefully this means we’ll get some solid casting information coming down the pike. We all know Ian McKellan is coming back, so it remains to be seen who else will be rounding out the cast (James McAvoy as Bilbo, my precioussssss!)