Monday, June 18, 2012

'The Lord of the Rings' directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring The Beatles

We’ve spent more than enough time arguing over which pieces of celluloid constitute the greatest films ever made.  We’ve also spilt plenty of ink discussing which bombs deserve to be called the worst movies of all time (I still don’t think Plan 9 From Outer Space is nearly as bad as Magnolia.)  However, we rarely acknowledge those glorious pieces of crap that MIGHT HAVE BEEN, had circumstances zigged when they should have zagged, or vice versa.

For instance, a 1960's film version of The Lord of the Rings adapted by and starring The Beatles.  I shit you not.

All you need is love.  And the One Ring.
Long before Peter Jackson made the world notice New Zealand for the first time, even before those Rankin/Bass cartoons that ruined your childhood, there was a lot of interest in adapting LOTR to the big screen.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that Tolkien himself was actually OK with this.  The man struggled to make ends meet for most of his adult life, and his career didn’t explode until long after The Return of the King was published.  In an effort to obtain a little financial security, and consequentially expose the books to a wider audience, he auctioned the adaptation rights to cash-or-kudos offers.  Basically, he’d sell the rights to anyone who either wanted to pay him a lot of money, or at least make something that would be flattering to the books.
Now, much to the bafflement of their sensible British author, the Rings books hit it big with the ‘60s counter-culture.  For some reason, the hippies dug the shit out of those stories about magical creatures who hung out in gardens all day smoking something called “pipe-weed.”  Kids started slapping GANDALF FOR PRESIDENT stickers on the back of their VWs, and people showed up at Woodstock in wizard robes.  Old Man Tolkien was not amused.

"I then demanded that they vacate the premises of my lawn, and denied their request to return the hackeysack."
Anyway, it wasn’t long before Hobbit Fever reached the Fab Four.  John Lennon was really keen on purchasing the adaptation rights, and producing a film in which he would play Gollum, Paul would play Frodo, Ringo would play Sam (we’re guessing he would have put on some weight for the role), and George would play Gandalf.  The rest of the guys were skeptical, but as we all know, John never had a bad idea in his life.

They played around with ideas ranging from a live-action production to a Fantasia-like animated feature.  And who did they have in mind for a director?  STANLEY FUCKING KUBRICK.  For some reason, Tolkien didn’t think it was a good idea, and he exercised his veto rights.

And you thought it was fun getting high and watching this:

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