Beatles Attempted Lord of the Rings - Beatles 1968

The Beatles Attempted Lord of the Rings As A Musical?

Friends, the other day while visiting my local Barnes and Noble I picked up the recently released Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson & The Making of Middle-Earth by Ian Nathan. A fine book if you consider yourself a fan of the Jackson adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings as well as The Hobbit. But towards the beginning of the book while Nathan discusses the Lord of the Rings film that John Boorman had intended to make – which I agree with the Author is certainly an interesting take…if not a shockingly ribald version of Tolkien’s story – Nathan mentions that the Beatles had attempted Lord of the Rings as a musical adaptation. An extravaganza that would be directed by none other than Stanley Kubrick!
Beatles Attempted Lord of the Rings - Stanley Kubrick

Thanks to Ian’s book, we learn of why such a film never took place – I won’t spoil it but it’s for reasons you might be able to guess, especially considering the Director they intended to hire. To say nothing of the view of such a motion picture by the source material’s Author – who at this point in time still held the film rights.
Beatles Attempted Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Still, it really is kind of crazy to think that at the height of the Beatles popularity – much like most of the World they had become infatuated with Tolkien’s vision of Middle-Earth. As for how the film itself might have turned out, who can truly say? The idea however of John Lennon portraying Gollum, with Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins, Ringo Starr as Samwise Gamgee, and George Harrison as Gandalf the Grey/White is something I wouldn’t mind seeing to be honest. Hey, at the very least in 1968 we got Leonard Nimoy’s freaking incredible The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, right?

[Via] Jon Thomas

As pointed out in Nathan’s book, the Beatles version of Lord of the Rings was a possible project to finish out their three-picture contract with United Artists. The film studio was responsible for producing A Hard Day’s Night in ’64 and Help! in 1965. I assume that 1968’s The Beatles: Yellow Submarine, the cult animated featured film marked the completition of the band’s contract with United Artists.

While we didn’t get a Beatles version of such a film at least it did sort of open the door for Ralph Bakshi’s animated version – but to me, the most interesting part of learning about how the Beatles attempted a Lord of the Rings film is to imagine what kind of music we would have gotten out of it.

[Via] The Beatles

While the fact the Beatles attempted Lord of the Rings as a musical feature is interesting in itself – even if it didn’t bear fruit – we did get the Rankin and Bass TV films of both The Hobbit and Return of the King!

[Via] D-Man the Captain

Gene Deitch’s The Hobbit (1966)

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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