The long and tangled history of cinematic attempts to bring the world of Middle-earth to the big screen is full of fascinating what-ifs, insurmountable setbacks, and ultimately a slew of good, bad, and utterly bizarre movies as a result. In this module we will dive deep into the cinematic adaptations of Middle-earth and watch our way through the Gene Deitch Hobbit (1966), the Rankin/Bass Hobbit (1977), the Bakshi Lord of the Rings (1978), the Rankin/Bass Return of the King (1980), and the Peter Jackson Trilogies over the course of a month, meeting for discussion of each film's cinematic and adaptational merits (or lack thereof). We will also cover some of the film versions that almost happened (such as John Boorman's completed script) and the complicated history behind the production of the films that did come to light. There is a lot of material to cover, but where there's a whip, there's a way.
There are no required texts for this module, but students will need to have access to the films in question
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