Lord of the Rings Lost Footage

Lost footage from Ralph Bakshi‘s animated film, The Lord of the Rings, finally expands on a scene fans know all too well from Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

Bakshi’s film, released in 1978, tells the story of two J.R.R. Tolkien books, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. In the live-action versions by Jackson, those films are linked by Gandalf’s battle with the massive Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Bakshi’s film has a version of that battle, but it’s very sparse and, frankly, pretty cheesy.

Now, after 36 years on the cutting room floor, Bakshi’s full early vision of the epic showdown has come to light via lost animation cells ┬áCheck out some Lord of the Rings lost footage below. Read More »

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Robert Rodriguez is a director who always has quite a few projects on the burner; he’s also a director for whom it isn’t unusual to see multiple things coming into focus all at once. In 2012 Rodriguez will shoot Machete Kills, then Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and then if things go well he’ll move right into a new version of the film Fire and Ice. The original is an ’80s animated adventure story directed by Ralph Bakshi and designed by Frank Frazetta, with an evil Ice Lord, a fire princess, and a muscular hero out to save the day.

The original film made extensive use of rotoscoping, where animated characters are drawn based on live-action footage, and that technique is, in a way, related to the green-screen work that Rodriguez used for Sin City, and which will be used for his own Fire and Ice. Read More »

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When the artist Frank Frazetta passed away ten days ago, we saw a lot of hastily-assembled tributes to his work. Somehow, not many people pointed out Fire and Ice, the film on which Frazetta collaborated with animation director Ralph Bakshi.

But the film will get attention now because, after years of trying to get a deal together, Robert Rodriguez has bought the rights to remake Fire and Ice as a live-action film through his own Troublemaker Studios. Read More »

With Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones doc, Shine a Light, booked to play theaters in April, I find myself much more interested in Ruby Tuesday, an animated film from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, the writers of the Beatles musical Across the Universe, that will utilize the Stones’ music in a similar fashion.

“We wrote an animated film before the strike that features the music of The Rolling Stones,” says Clement on Movieweb. “Obviously, that is not just a kiddy film. You can’t do The Stones, and think it will just be for kids. We hope that will get made in the next couple of years.”

Adds Frenais…

“The film was supposed to start next month. It is called Ruby Tuesday. It is going to be CGI. It will be interesting. The animation is actually going to be done in Paris. It will be some pretty hip animation. It is amazing how many French animators work at Dreamworks. When we were doing Flushed Away, we were over there. It was like a foreign campus.”

The film’s title derives from the eponymous hit single, about a charmingly quixotic and possibly tragic groupie, by the Rolling Stones from their 1966 album Between the Buttons. Whether the main character in the film, a single mother searching for happiness in New York City, was a groupie at some point in her life is unknown, but the writers say that while the film will be “edgier” than most American-released animation today, it’s not R-rated fare a la Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic.

It’s about time the Rolling Stones, whose contributions and influence to film are not slight, had their own Yellow Submarine, don’t you think?

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