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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Ithilien Pt. 2: “The Days Are Growing Darker”….

Posted on 2007.05.29 at 22:14
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~*~


This, too, is an excellent scene. It’s beautifully played and filmed. I think Sean Astin did some of his best acting here. It’s not showy, but watching his Sam consider their store of food and how long it could be expected to last, I felt as though I could see his thought processes as they happened.

Elijah Wood’s Frodo is awfully good here, too, besides looking utterly gorgeous. He’s seems very withdrawn at the scene’s opening, as if he were observing Sam through the other end of a telescope, without real engagement. It’s almost as if he’s coming out of anaesthesia when he first speaks. “No, it isn’t mid-day yet,” he answers in a voice tentative and foggy, like someone venturing his first words after emerging from a coma. And so he has. Poring secretly over the Ring, he has been drawn into its mental world. He seems drained here, too, perhaps from wrestling with it.

Frodo doesn’t seem to come out of his Ring-induced numbness until the lembas is put into his hand. The camera provides a close-up of the hand-to-hand transaction, as if underscoring its importance. It's as if the reception of the lembas jump-starts something in Frodo—the lembas itself, and the loving care with which Sam gives it. And Frodo begins to behave like himself again, accepting the food. He pauses, asking about Sam (who says unconvincingly he's not hungry), but accepts the gift and begins munching it eagerly. Too eagerly, perhaps, implying that this sequence was cobbled together out of more than one version of the script, but the end result works for me beautifully, making for an enigmatic but strong scene.

I always ache as Sam explains to Frodo he’s counted the waybread, and figures they’ll have enough. “Enough for what?” Frodo pauses to ask, mystified. Sam’s face is its familiar, wholesome self, but unlike Frodo’s it still bears a confidently hopeful look. "For the journey home", he answers matter-of-factly. The look on Frodo’s face moves me to tears every time, as if he sees in that one remark, so guilelessly spoken, the disparity between their expectations for their future, and the disparity between them as people. There is a gulf between him and Sam now, and between him and his old self. No longer is his heart innocent but tainted, more and more in thrall to the evil he carries, and further and further from hope.

Secondarily, I think the scene is meant to provide a contrast reference for the “Go home, Sam” scene that comes later on. In this scene Sam is portrayed as clearly concerned for their food situation: counting it, rationing it, as well as already giving Frodo part of his share. In the scene on the Stairs, this same Sam is accused of eating up all their food—not just his but Frodo’s—leaving them absolutely nothing for the crucial journey to Mt. Doom, never mind “the journey home”. The scenes are so parallel I can’t think other than that the filmmakers planned them to comment on one another. With this opening scene in mind, all the more is the Frodo of “Go Home, Sam” portrayed as someone very far gone. That Frodo could believe Gollum's accusation—made all the more implausible by this earlier scene—shows that Frodo, if only temporarily, has left the path of reason.

Third, this scene also is reflected in the waterskin scene on the plain of Gorgoroth. In that scene, parched and exhausted, Frodo accepts Sam’s share of the water—just as he accepted Sam's share of the bread in Ithilien. But still believing Sam to be harbouring vain hopes, Frodo struggles to maintain the fiction of their coming back when he remarks with listless regret, “There'll be none left for the return journey.” But Sam in the waterskin scene is not the same Sam in Ithilien, the Sam who was busy rationing their stores so there'd be enough to come back. This Sam understands. “I don’t think there will be a return journey, Mr. Frodo”, he says. The looks they exchange are grim and sad. There will be no more pretending with each other. But, in a way, the new honesty has to be a relief. Keeping up a false front is very energy-draining.

When I think of how well the writers used this early scene to set off the scenes to come, I have to admire them. These thematic “echoes” really enrich the film for me.



~*~



Book scene, from The Journey to the Cross-roads.

Sam has been sleeping, dreaming that he is looking for something in the Bag End garden, which has become weedy and rank. He remembers: his pipe! But waking he sees where he is.



It seemed to be almost dark. Why had his master let him sleep on out of turn, right on till evening?

‘Haven’t you had no sleep, Mr. Frodo?’ he said. ‘What’s the time? Seems to be getting late!’

‘No it isn’t,’ said Frodo. ‘But the day is getting darker instead of lighter: darker and darker. As far as I can tell, it isn’t midday yet, and you’ve only slept for about three hours.’

‘I wonder what’s up,’ said Sam. ‘Is there a storm coming? If so it’s going to be the worst there ever was. We shall wish we were down a deep hole, not just stuck under a hedge.’ He listened. ‘What’s that? Thunder, or drums, or what is it?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Frodo. ‘It’s been going on for a good while now. Sometimes the ground seems to tremble, sometimes it seems to be the heavy air throbbing in your ears.’

(…)

At that moment a rolling and rumbling noise was heard again, louder now and deeper. The ground seemed to quiver under their feet. ‘I think we are in for trouble anyhow,’ said Frodo. ‘I’m afraid our journey is drawing to an end.’

‘Maybe,’ said Sam; ‘but where there’s life there’s hope, as my Gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a bite, Mr. Frodo, and then a bit of sleep.’


That afternoon, as Sam supposed it must be called, wore on. Looking out from the covert he could see only a dun, shadowless world, fading slowly into a featureless, colourless gloom. It felt stifling but not warn. Frodo slept unquietly, turning and tossing, and sometimes murmuring. Twice Sam thought he heard him speaking Gandalf’s name. The time seemed to drag interminably. Suddenly Sam heard a hiss behind him, and there was Gollum on all fours, peering at them with gleaming eyes.

‘Wake up, wake up! Wake up, sleepies!’ he whispered. ‘Wake up! No time to lose. We must go, yes, we must go at once. No time to lose!’


~*~



Film Scene: Frodo and Sam resting in Ithilien, from RotK. A short EE extension is indicated by green text.

Gollum appears from above Frodo and Sam’s sleeping place. Sam is sleeping but Frodo has been examining the Ring, which he has tucked back into his shirt at the first noise.

Gollum: Wake up! Wake up! Wake up, sleepies! We must go, yess. We must go at once.

Sam: (To Frodo.) Haven’t you had any sleep, Mr. Frodo? I've gone and had too much. Must be getting late.

Frodo: No. It isn't. It isn't mid-day yet. The days are growing darker.

Gollum: Come on! Must go, no time! (Gollum begins to dash off and Sam calls after him.)

Sam: Not before Mr. Frodo's had something to eat.

Gollum: No time to lose, silly! (Gollum scuttles off.)

Sam: (Handing Frodo some lembas.) Here.

Frodo: (Frodo eats it eagerly but pauses when he sees Sam is not eating.) What about you?

Sam: Oh no, I'm not hungry. At least not for lembas bread.

Frodo: Sam.

Sam: All right, we don't have that much left. We have to be careful, or we're going to run out. You go ahead and eat that, Mr. Frodo. I've rationed it. There should be enough.

Frodo: For what?

Sam: The journey home.

The hobbits follow Gollum into a bleak, broken landscape with leafless trees under a dark, brooding sky.

Gollum: Come, hobbitses. Very close, now. Very close to Mordor. No safe places here. Hurry!


~*~



As usual, these caps (also from the “full screen” edition) have been adjusted for lighting and focus.








~ Sam, wakened by Gollum, insists that Frodo have something to eat before they go on.


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~*~








Related Entries:


~ Ithilien Pt. 1: Ithilien Grows Dark ~ plus jan-u-wine’s “Too Often”.


Ithilien Pt. 2: “The Days Are Growing Darker”.


Ithilien Pt. 3: “I Need You On My Side.”


~ Ithilien Pt. 4: 'We're not in decent places.'


~ Ithilien Pt. 5: The Cross-roads, plus jan-u-wine's "At the Cross-roads of the King".





Other screencap entries:


~ All Frodo and Elijah screencaps.




~ Mechtild


Comments:


magpie_2
magpie_2 at 2007-05-30 06:32 (UTC) (Link)
thank for the lovely images and review of the scene, yes its a wonderful one, where nothing feels rushed and of course I love it when Sam gets to be "booklike" and this scene rings so true... speaking of themes it also brings to mind for me all the times Sam is able to bring Frodo back, physically or mentally and that heartbreaking scene that comes later where he tries to remind Frodo of the Shire and he can't (no veil between scene)... but I should be patient and wait :) for the caps!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-05-30 13:36 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, you're right, he's very book-like here, Goldie. I love it when he is allowed to be, rather than his bullying, insubordinate film self. And Sean is so GOOD in this scene. I could watch him and watch him.

Actually, I have capped the "No veil between me..." scene, in fullscreen (that's the TV sized edition shown in these caps), concentrating on Frodo. It's on the table of entries page. But I have capped some of that scene again in widescreen, with more of Sam in it, so that I can use the caps to highlight a great poem Jan wrote. So there will be MORE "do you remember the taste of strawberries" caps to come.
ms_banazira at 2007-05-30 06:32 (UTC) (Link)
Oh! "Numbness!" Well, don't I feel all redundant now! ;-)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-05-30 13:38 (UTC) (Link)
Yep, lots of that--numbness--in that opening moment. You were right on the moolah, Honey.
pearlette
pearlette at 2007-05-30 10:08 (UTC) (Link)
Again, just time for a few quick comments ...

I agree totally about Astin's acting in this scene, Mechtild. It's not showy, but beautifully played. This is one of the scenes in which Film Sam really does Book Sam justice. :)

From the book:

‘I think we are in for trouble anyhow,’ said Frodo. (Oh, I always hear Ian Holm's voice speaking this line. He is often so awesome as Frodo.)

‘I’m afraid our journey is drawing to an end.’

‘Maybe,’ said Sam; ‘but where there’s life there’s hope, as my Gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a bite, Mr. Frodo, and then a bit of sleep.’


How I love Book Sam.

And I love your perceptive observations, Mechtild!

Elijah Wood’s Frodo is awfully good here, too, besides looking utterly gorgeous. He’s seems very withdrawn at the scene’s opening, as if he were observing Sam through the other end of a telescope, without real engagement. It’s almost as if he’s coming out of anaesthesia when he first speaks. “No, it isn’t mid-day yet,” he answers in a voice tentative and foggy, like someone venturing his first words after emerging from a coma. And so he has. Poring secretly over the Ring, he has been drawn into its mental world. He seems drained here, too, perhaps from wrestling with it.

It's an awesomely good scene. You feel so much for the two hobbits.

PJ often achieves genius in his film epic. This is one of those moments.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-05-30 13:45 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Holm is super in that scene, Pearl. In fact, during the last two years (having listened to the BBC LotR two or three more times and having written my "Bilbo chapters", Holm's Bilbo being my inspiration), I've been longing to tell him how great I think his Frodo and Bilbo were. I worry he'll have a heart attack or something before I am able to. I have never been able to find out an address for him, either him or an agent. Do you think any of your UK fanfriends might know? I really would love to write him a fan letter before it's too late.

Yes, PJ achieved genius over and over in LotR, and stupidity (thankfully not as often), but this scene was a little gem.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 12:51 (UTC) (Link)
If you are still looking, Este found an address for Ian Holm, but thanks, Pear. I'm going to try it as soon as I have time to put a decent letter together.
Shirebound
shirebound at 2007-05-30 11:40 (UTC) (Link)
The looks they exchange are grim and sad. There will be no more pretending with each other. But, in a way, the new honesty has to be a relief. Keeping up a false front is very energy-draining.

Well said. What a pivotal, poignant, heart-rending scene.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-05-30 13:46 (UTC) (Link)
What a pivotal, poignant, heart-rending scene.

It is, Shirebound. I am sure you will enjoy the caps when I get that scene, too. :) Well, I must dash to work! But thanks for commenting!
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-05-31 03:41 (UTC) (Link)
They make a great pair on screen, physically, and as characters. Really, the casting was quite inspired in this case. They messed up casting Aragorn, of course, but they had the sense to see it and replace Townsend (talented, but not right for the role) before it was too late. No last-minute changes were necessary for these two. They really played the roles written for them beautifully, complementing each other in every way.

Thanks for commenting, Mews. I do love this scene, even if it's low-key. I think it's some of the best of RotK.
pearlette
pearlette at 2007-05-31 11:23 (UTC) (Link)
Golden sunny Sam.

Dark and sombre Frodo.

How I love those two hobbits!
(Deleted comment)
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-05-31 12:51 (UTC) (Link)
Sean Astin really is splendid in this scene.

There is a gulf between him and Sam now, and between him and his old self. No longer is his heart innocent but tainted, more and more in thrall to the evil he carries, and further and further from hope.

Ohhhhh! Mechling, your observations give me goosebumps. I am so grateful that you still give us beautiful screen caps and completely absorbing essays.

This morning relaxing on the bus, into town, I found myself wondering if the small but wonderful group of ladies here, are the only ones left that still discuss PJ’s films.

I can’t begin to tell you how much your LJ and your labour of love is appreciated. *hugs you in appreciation*

--Estë
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 00:12 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm so glad you like Sean this much in the scene. I thought he really came out in RotK, Sam was such a fully developed role in RotK, with a complete "character arc" in the one film. I was actually surprised he was not nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" somewhere. He really did do excellent work in the role, and of just the sort that gets nominations. But most people would point to his BIG moments to give him that nomination, like the "But I can carry you" scene. But for me, his work in this scene was some of the most vivid, real and nuanced Sam-portraying he ever did. (I knew Frodo wouldn't get it; the role was received with mixed delight, and his "arc" spanned all three films, not one. And they don't give award nominations for performances that have to be seen in three different films to truly appreciate.)

Yes, Estë, I have been getting the impression for several months that we are winding down to the last remnant of Frodo people. But what a great remnant! Just so you'll know, I plan to finish posting the whole of my RotK caps (35 more posts) no matter who does or does not comment. And that goes for you, too. I don't want you to feel like you have to comment everytime, either to keep up your record, lol, or to humour me. I'll still post the entries, never fear. I still haven't given up on doing more work on Threshold, either, even if I end up being my only reader. But I want to finish the screencaps while there are still people out there who might appreciate images of Mr. Beautiful. No one much was ever going to read the fic, so that's less of a priority (thanks, by the way, for having been such a supportive reader, Estë!). But I would be sorry if I dallied so long posting the caps, the people who might want to view them might have already tired utterly of looking at them.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-06-01 07:12 (UTC) (Link)
YAY! Threshold!

I still haven't given up on doing more work on Threshold,...

I'm glad to hear it.

Have a beautiful week-end Mechling.

--Estë
taerie
taerie at 2007-05-31 14:58 (UTC) (Link)
As sad and miserable as I feel watching this scene, I had to comment on something you touched on in your commentary. The jump start.
You know what? I am so wierd. This is the moment that I feel that Frodo is so cute I could eat HIM up. It is something about that food and hobbit connection. Like Frodo is so completely withdrawn here but there is still the stubborn core hobbit within that wakes him up and says "eat!"
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 00:16 (UTC) (Link)
That's a very endearing and insightful thought, Tairie. Yes, it is very hobbity that Frodo could still respond positively to food. Thank heaven for that. He really is a hobbit in the end, not an Elf. He needs sleep and food and the presence of friends. Sounds rather human, no?
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-06-01 08:38 (UTC) (Link)

Write to Sir Ian Holm

I did a search using – write to Ian Holm - and look what I found!

Ian Holm, c/o Julian Belfrage Assoc., 46 Albemarle Street, London W1X 4PP, England.


I got this address from the following link:

http://www.warofthering.net/ahobbitstale/cast/cast_ianholm.htm


I hope it is still up to date *keeps fingers and hairy toes crossed*

Enjoy your Week-end Mechling!

--Estë
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-06-01 08:44 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Write to Sir Ian Holm

P.S. I googled the Julian Belfrage Assoc., they appear to be still in business.

--Estë
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 12:52 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Write to Sir Ian Holm

Thanks GREAT, Estë!!! I was Googling up the wrong key words (Iam Holm "address" "fan mail" etc. - not anything direct and to the point like "write to" - you're a GENIUS!). Thank you so much!!!!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Estë))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Whiteling
whiteling at 2007-06-01 09:14 (UTC) (Link)
It is so wonderful that you continue to spoil us with all that Frodo beauty (pictures, commentaries, poems...), Mechtild!! I call your LJ my Frodo oasis and I visit it often and with great appreciation. It's such a balm to the soul. Thanks so much for it.

*hugs*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 12:54 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Whiteling. A Frodo oasis. Frodo, palm trees, a spring-fed pool...and us. Hmmm, sounds good.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 12:56 (UTC) (Link)
In case my remark sounded flippant, Whiteling, I really do appreciate your comment. Balm for the soul is certainly something those who have fallen for this character receive from him. I just can't resist making jokes.
Whiteling
whiteling at 2007-06-01 21:36 (UTC) (Link)
I thought the oasis tableau you described sounded rather good than flippant. ;-)
Isn't that the fine thing with Frodo? He is good for jokes as well as for deep soul touching experiences... his character is so versatile and the Gentlehobbit never loses his grace and grandeur.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-01 23:55 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's our Lad! :)
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-17 02:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, Chickenlegs. What lovely things to say.

Yes, Sean does look older in this scene; maybe it was shot toward the end of pick-ups. I thought he looked distinctly older in the tavern scene in the Green Dragon at the end of RotK, but maybe they just used fewer filters and aged his make-up. I think it works here, making him look a bit drawn and pinched, which is right considering what they've been going through. But he's clearly older than EW, emphasizing the age reversal in the films (who, vis-a-vis the book, would look about Sam's age, Sam being just a few years past his coming of age, which Frodo still would look on account of the Ring).

P.S. I love those shots in the previous post, too. They are art, purely art.
Claudia's Cove
claudia603 at 2007-06-17 12:36 (UTC) (Link)
There is a gulf between him and Sam now, and between him and his old self. No longer is his heart innocent but tainted, more and more in thrall to the evil he carries, and further and further from hope.

oh yes, yes indeed! This breaks my heart every time and the film does it beautifully there.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-17 13:07 (UTC) (Link)
Poor Frodo! (Ah, but he'll come through it more beautiful in spirit than ever.)
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