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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Ride to the Grey Havens, Pt. I ~ Frodo and Bilbo in the wagon (fullscreen version).

Posted on 2006.09.10 at 13:51
Tags: ,
~*~


I have been in a funk trying to write, so I have decided to post all the screencaps I've done to date and have done with them, at least for a while. The finished screencaps are all from the end scenes of RotK, along with a few sets of caps from "Cameras in Middle-earth" (one of the docs on the RotK EE Extras).

When I first started presenting screencaps a year ago, I primarily wanted to display film-Frodo's classical loveliness, remarking a bit on the film scenes from which any series of caps came. As these posts have continued, however, more and more I have let the canon text take the lead, as if the caps illustrated moments in the book, rather than the film they come from. I will do that in this series of caps, too.


Ride to the Grey Havens, Part I.

Although the caps below are from a film scene that takes place as Frodo is leaving the Shire, I am moving it up to its place in the book. The scene in which Bilbo asks to see the Ring again, and Frodo sadly tells him he no longer has it comes not from the last journey to the Grey Havens, but from Many Partings. The hobbits stop in Rivendell on the way back to the Shire. Frodo has long been keen to tell Bilbo of the Quest, and his experiences in it, but he finds a hobbit very aged in mind, drifting and clearly no longer interested in the tales of this world, not Frodo's or even his own. Bilbo is still as dear to him, but the old hobbit is no longer fit to be the confidante and fellow-scholar/historian Frodo had been counting on.

I actually think the screenwriters made a good choice moving this poignant, tender exchange, so full of end-of-the-day melancholy, to the film scene between Frodo and Bilbo in the wagon. In the film, there was no reunion-in-Rivendell scene, and this exchange was too important in mood and content to leave out all together.

Here is the text from the book scene that provided the mood and dialogue for the film's adaptors. Some of this section was quoted in an entry that went with a Bronzino Frodo Art Travesty (talking about how Bilbo's lack of interest diminished Frodo's sense of the part he played in the larger story), but it could bear repeating for another application here.



In the evening they went to say good-bye to Bilbo. ‘Well, if you must go, you must,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I shall miss you. It is nice just to know that you are about the place. But I am getting very sleepy.’ Then he gave Frodo his mithril-coat and Sting, forgetting that he had already done so; and he gave him also three books of lore that he had made at various times, written in his spidery hand, and labeled on their red backs: Translations from the Elvish, by B. B.

To Sam he gave a little bag of gold. ‘Almost the last drop of the Smaug vintage,’ he said. ‘May come in useful, if you thing of getting married, Sam.’ Sam blushed.

‘I have nothing much to give to you young fellows,’ he said to Merry and Pippin, ‘except good advice.’ And when he had given them a fair sample of this, he added a last item in Shire-fashion: ‘Don’t let your heads get too big for your hats! But if you don’t finish growing up soon, you are going to find hats and clothes expensive.’

‘But if you want to beat the Old Took,’ said Pippin, ‘I don’t see why we shouldn’t try and beat the Bullroarer.’

Bilbo laughed, and he produced out of a pocket two beautiful pipes with pearl mouth-pieces and bound with fine-wrought silver. ‘Think of me when you smoke them! ‘ he said. ‘The Elves made them for me, but I don’t smoke now.’ And then suddenly he nodded and went to sleep for a little; and when he woke up again he said: ‘Now where were we? Yes, of course, giving presents. Which reminds me: what’s become of my ring, Frodo, that you took away?’

‘I have lost it, Bilbo dear,’ said Frodo. ‘I got rid of it, you know.’

‘What a pity!’ said Bilbo. ‘I should have liked to see it again. But, no, how silly of my! That’s what you went for, wasn’t it: to get rid of it? But it is all so confusing, for such a lot of other things seem to have got mixed up with it ….

Anyway it’s too late now; and really I think it’s much more comfortable to sit here and hear about it all. The fire’s very cosy here, and the food’s very good, and there are Elves when you want them. What more could one want?


The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn toward the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.’


~*~




The digital grading for this scene is very warm, a rich yellow like turning leaves. The lighting is quite dark, too, almost dim, like a bedroom with the shades drawn. The warmth and darkness seem to give the scene an almost bed-time look, as if dusk were deepening at the end of a long, sun-drenched September day. The warmth in the wagon only highlights, for me, the coolness of Frodo's response as Bilbo settles comfortably beside him. Not cool in the sense of unfeeling; quite the contrary. It is a coolness that comes from a carefully-maintained reserve as Frodo keeps in check a welling-up of intense feelings, feelings which Bilbo needn't know about.

Frodo has become the guardian, Bilbo the ward.


~*~



Here is a copy of an un-tweaked screencap from this set:








~*~




As usual, I have adjusted these screencaps for greater brightness, sharpness and contrast. For the sake of greater clarity of expression, I also adjusted the colour, somewhat, bringing down the yellow grading. The caps come from the fullscreen version of RotK.



































































































Pt. II of "The Ride to the Grey Havens".


Listing of all Frodo Screencap entries HERE.


~ Mechtild

Comments:


Shirebound
shirebound at 2006-09-10 20:41 (UTC) (Link)
Not cool in the sense of unfeeling; quite the contrary. It is a coolness that comes from a carefully-maintained reserve as Frodo keeps in check a welling-up of intense feelings, feelings which Bilbo needn't know about.

Frodo has become the guardian, Bilbo the ward.


A wonderful analysis of a truly wonderful scene.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shirebound. It is one of my favourites, and seems to go with the EE party tent scene between the two of them, like bookends, just as Gandalf's cart scene is a bookend to this one. PJ was great at this sort of framing. These subliminal cues helped create th overall impact of the films, I think.
melyanna_65
melyanna_65 at 2006-09-10 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
I feel so melancholy each time I see that scene (as well as the whole last few minutes of ROTK).

Thanks for sharing such beautiful caps, dearest!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Melyanna. I always feel sorrowful watching this scene, yet I can't help think how exquisite Frodo's face is in it. Ian Holm's expressions as Bilbo are, too, although his face is so heavily made-up.
pearlette
pearlette at 2006-09-10 21:10 (UTC) (Link)
The warmth in the wagon only highlights, for me, the coolness of Frodo's response as Bilbo settles comfortably beside him. Not cool in the sense of unfeeling; quite the contrary. It is a coolness that comes from a carefully-maintained reserve as Frodo keeps in check a welling-up of intense feelings, feelings which Bilbo needn't know about.

This is one of those film scenes in which PJ truly captured the spirit of the book. I felt in touch with Book Frodo in this scene: Film Frodo's physical beauty is so pure, remoote and transcendant that it mirrors exactly what's going on inside him ... an increasing detachment from Middle-earth as he prepares to leave for the Undying Lands. It's as if he himself has become an Elf: a cool, remote, untouchable angel, all air and alabaster. It's almost unbearable to watch. :(:(:(

And note how Ngila's superb costuming mirrors his internal state. That rich creamy shirt, so neatly buttoned up to the top. That softly gleaming silver waistcoat. His cloak so carefully arranged round his shoulders. He's immaculate. Controlled. Too controlled.

And his tender solicitude towards Bilbo, his protectiveness, his knowledge that Bilbo cannot, now, be his guardian. The roles have reversed.

Oh, Frodo. You needed someone to be your guardian angel for YOU over in Tol Eressea. :( *hugs him tight*

That Rivendell scene is in many ways one of the saddest in the book. It injects a sharp note of realism into the tale and sets the reader up for the shock of the Scouring. Things have changed forever in Frodo's life. Nothing can be the same again.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:48 (UTC) (Link)
Pearl, what beautiful thoughts. He does look like an Elf. We are always saying that, but in this scene he really does. Also like your angel, in alabaster, I'd say.

In fact, one of the things that first struck me watching this in the theatre was how much make-up Frodo had on. At first I thought I did not care for it (they slather it on him in all his wan-invalid scenes). But on my second viewing I thought something very like that: it made his face seem like that of a sculpted head, like talking, breathing, warm-toned marble. I thought it suited the elegiac mood of the scene, as if vines might grow around his feet standing on a plinth at any moment.

Your costuming note is excellent. Yes the super-tidied, "buttoned up to the top" looks says volumes. "Immaculate." Boy, is that a religiously loaded word.

I like your idea of him already being already evincing detachment, and I see it, too. I see it more at the Havens, though. In this scene, I see his detachment more as the result of his keeping his feelings from Bilbo. (After all, there's no sense being detached from Bilbo, Bilbo is coming with him. *silly smile*)

Jan-u-wine saw these posts last night and sent me an e-mail with a poem she wrote about the scene in the caps. It expresses well what I was trying to say, and more. I am hoping she will allow me to post it into Pt. II. I'll make a little notice if she does.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:53 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Mews, thanks for commenting. I was working on these things and the next caps last night so late I didn't check the comments. I see that you listed these in your "Daily Recs", too. Thanks so much.

I think this is one of the most touching scenes in the film, but I find the book scene wrenching, but in a different way, since it strikes its own notes, having to work through words on a page rather than visuals and sound.

I do think it's marvelous how well the filmmakers conveyed so much with this spare scene. Lovely choices in adaptation, lighting, camera-work, and superb performances by both actors.

As for your note, "Less is more", it really is the case here that a picture says a thousand words. In this instance, there are a thousand in each individual frame.
julchen11
julchen11 at 2006-09-10 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely post.
Especially this scene captures the spirit of the book.
Very emotional and very touching.
Things have changed for Frodo and for Bilbo, you can read it in their faces.
Thank you my dear for those wonderful screencaps and your quotes.

*hugs tight*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Julchen, it was a pleasure to make. So much beauty, so much craft, and such a beautiful part of the tale.

Love your animated icon, by the way. :)
Alchemie
alchemie at 2006-09-10 23:29 (UTC) (Link)
Frodo is achingly beautiful in these caps and the scene is absolutely heartbreaking. I agree with you - I'm glad they moved this "scene" from Rivendell to the end of the movie.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 20:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for commenting, Alchemilla. Yes, it would have been a great loss to the overall film and its themes, especially the storyline of the Ring-bearer(s), to leave this out entirely. They did so well with this choice.
ms_banazira at 2006-09-10 23:34 (UTC) (Link)
When I watch this scene in the film I see a little bit of shock, and then shame flicker across Frodo's face. And then he swallows it, shutters it away again, and tells his dear old Uncle a comforting half-truth. It perfectly reflects Frodo's use of the word "lost" which he ammends to "got rid of" in the book scene.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:56 (UTC) (Link)
I see a little bit of shock, and then shame flicker across Frodo's face. And then he swallows it, shutters it away again, and tells his dear old Uncle a comforting half-truth. It perfectly reflects Frodo's use of the word "lost" which he ammends to "got rid of" in the book scene.

Ah, you are keen, Honey. I am hoping Jan-u-wine will allow me to post the poem she wrote for this last night. It well expresses that thought. I will put in a notice if I add it into Part II. It's a beautiful piece and so expressive of what's going on the film scene.
ms_banazira at 2006-09-11 17:09 (UTC) (Link)
The poem is lovely!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 19:40 (UTC) (Link)
I agree wholeheartedly. :)
Lily Dragonquill
lily_the_hobbit at 2006-09-11 07:03 (UTC) (Link)
The digital grading for this scene is very warm, a rich yellow like turning leaves. The lighting is quite dark, too, almost dim, like a bedroom with the shades drawn. The warmth and darkness seem to give the scene an almost bed-time look, as if dusk were deepening at the end of a long, sun-drenched September day. The warmth in the wagon only highlights, for me, the coolness of Frodo's response as Bilbo settles comfortably beside him. Not cool in the sense of unfeeling; quite the contrary. It is a coolness that comes from a carefully-maintained reserve as Frodo keeps in check a welling-up of intense feelings, feelings which Bilbo needn't know about.

Frodo has become the guardian, Bilbo the ward.



I've never seen this scene described any better. Especially the last line. Frodo has outgrown Bilbo in a way - not only because he has grown but also because old age has taken its toll on Bilbo. As you said, he is no longer interested in the happenings of "the outside world".
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-11 14:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much, Lily. It is a scene that invites this sort of contemplation. Really, I think it is one of the best-done moments in the films, films full of many superb moments and scenes.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-12 01:03 (UTC) (Link)
"Sanctified" ... "shouldering responsibility for Bilbo" and "for all of Middle Earth." He does look saintly. I think this aura is touched upon by Pearl's remark that he looks like an angel made of alabaster, or air.

The image in my icon is the one from the big RotK poster, which I call, "St. Frodo the Martyr". That's another sort of saint, one is in the midst of suffering his travails. The one in this scene is resigned to his trials appears to have been "sanctified", as you say.

I think he is suffering a good deal, as you imply, but he no longer is being buffeted by them; he is ... "enduring" them. No longer nearing the Ring, he bears its burden.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-12 04:34 (UTC) (Link)
I think this is hinted in the film scene, a sort of apotheosis. If he is a bit elevated in this scene, he is very much so in the scene in which he bids farewell to Merry, Pippin and Sam. He does seem already to have one foot in heaven.

I don't see those same things in the book tale, though, which seems to retain a more down-to-earth Frodo throughout, although more intellectually perceptive and acute (and wise, as an older hobbit than the young hobbit who set off on the Quest in the film), more self-disciplined in his behaviour, and more reserved in his display of emotions than film-Frodo. Film Frodo regains his reserve in these end scenes, but they play as rarefied more than self-disciplined for many. I see self-disciplined, because I am wedded to the idea of a Frodo full of all sorts of emotions as he prepares to leave, but a Frodo unwilling to unload all those feelings on others.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-12 04:36 (UTC) (Link)
P.S. Thank you for your kind remarks about this journal. It has never been my goal to make this a journal about my personal life or feelings about the world in general. I remain a Tolkien enthusiast, primarily, with a particular love (to the point of infatuation) for Frodo.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-09-13 13:00 (UTC) (Link)
I would agree that his innocent [beautiful] looks added to the poignancy, contrasting the Frodo who laughed with Gandalf or at the party and encouraged Sam to dare to leave the borders of the Shire, and the hobbit seen in the more gruelling parts of the Quest and back at Bag End.

I never pictured Frodo as particularly old anyway. He was only 50, even if he never had had the Ring, which would put him at young-mid thirties for a human, hardly decrepit. Same for Bilbo when he went on his own Quest. He wasn't doddering at a hobbit's 50. Just think how amazing that would be, that he didn't seem any older while he had the Ring, even to the age of 111, comparable to a human in his eighties. In the films Bilbo did not look that young, but young enough (more like a human 55-60-year-old, not bad for an actor in his 70's).

I did think film-Frodo did seem younger than a human's 21 (= hobbit's coming-of-age at 33) in his appearance (and no wonder, since the actor was!), but, big deal. I am always amazed at the way EW could pull this off at such a young age.
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