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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

The Stairs of Cirith Ungol Pt. 4 ~ “Go home.…”

Posted on 2007.07.23 at 08:30
Tags: , ,
~*~




I know, I know, it's blasphemy, but what a scene! What a face! Both actors do even more stunning work in the conclusion.

The book exerpt below the caps is short, finishing up the sequence, but I love the soft light it casts on Frodo's nature. Even here on the Stairs, how lovely he is. Refreshed from a bit of untroubled sleep and the sight of Sam's face, he is prepared once more to treat Smeagol with the respect and courtesy he doesn't deserve.


~*~



Film Scene: On the stairs of Cirith Ungol, the theatrical version, continued.


Frodo: (Violently, pushing Sam back into the wall.) Get away!

Sam: (Earnestly.) I don’t want to keep it! I just want to help.

Frodo stands up, looking at Sam with revulsion. Gollum, squatting behind Frodo, peeps around to speak.

Gollum: See? See? He wants it for himself! (Frodo looks at Sam with deepening alarm.)

Sam: (Sam struggles up, as if to renew his attack.) Shut up, you! Go away! Get out of here!

Frodo: (As if hardening his heart against Sam, shocked at what he thinks he has seen.) No, Sam. It’s you.

Sam looks disbelievingly as Frodo continues to speak in a soft, controlled way.

Frodo: I’m sorry, Sam.

Sam: (Reasoning desperately, beginning to weep.) But, he's a liar! He's poisoned you against me!

Frodo: (With regret.) You can't help me anymore.

Sam: You don't mean that.

Frodo: (With cold finality.) Go home.

Sam crumples, grief-stricken. Frodo gives Sam a stony glance as he passes, Gollum follows with one backward glance. Sam continues to shake with sobs, covering his face with his hand.



~*~








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~*~






Book scene: from The Stairs of Cirith Ungol.


Frodo stirred and opened his eyes, and smiled, seeing Sam’s face bending over him. ‘Calling me early aren’t you, Sam?’ he said. ‘It’s dark still!’

‘Yes it’s always dark here,’ said Sam. ‘But Gollum’s come back, Mr. Frodo, and he says it’s tomorrow. So we must be walking on. The last lap.’

Frodo drew a deep breath and sat up. ‘The last lap!’ he said. ‘Hullo, Sméagol! Found any food? Have you had any rest?’

‘No food, no rest, nothing for Sméagol,’ said Gollum. ‘He’s a sneak.’

Sam clicked his tongue but restrained himself.

‘Don’t take names to yourself, Sméagol,’ said Frodo. ‘It’s unwise, whether they are true or false.’

‘Sméagol has to take what’s given him,’ answered Gollum. He was given that name by kind Master Samwise, the hobbit that knows so much.’

Frodo looked at Sam. ‘Yes, sir,’ he said. ‘I did use the word, waking up out of my sleep sudden and all and finding him at hand. I said I was sorry, but I soon shan’t be.’

‘Come, let it pass then,’ said Frodo. ‘But now we seem to have come to the point, you and I, Sméagol. Tell me. Can we find the rest of the way by ourselves? We’re in sight of the pass, of a way in, and if we can find it now, then I suppose our agreement can be said to be over. You have done what you promised, and you’re free: free to go back to food and rest, wherever you wish to go, except to the servants of the Enemy. And one day I may reward you, I or those that remember me.’

‘No, no, not yet,’ Gollum whined. ‘O no! They can’t find the way themselves, can they?’ O no indeed. There’s the tunnel coming. Sméagol must go on. No rest. No food. Not yet.’ .





~*~







This is just a little footnote to share a bit of obscure musing. After reading more about the way Peter Jackson works, it seems clear that he is a person who conceives stories in visual terms, latching onto key images and then working around them. Many writers do this, too, but using words rather than pictures.

In watching Jackson's "King Kong" with our daughter (after the LotR trilogy King Kong is her favourite film), the scene in which the hero, Jack Driscoll, puts two and two together and realises one of the Skull Island natives has abducted the heroine, Ann Darrow, the similarity to the scene on the Stairs struck me forcibly. Sam does nearly the same thing. He sees the broken lembas on the ledge, picks a piece up and turns it over in his hand as he considers the implications, clenches it decisively in his hand, then bounds up and away to rescue Frodo. Jack Driscoll's discovery of the Skull Island native's necklace is constructed in the exact same way. He sees the skull necklace on the deck, picks it up, turns it over in his hand as he considers the implications, clenches it in his hand, and bolts off to call for the rescue of Ann. This made me wonder whether this motif is such a favourite of Jackson's that he had Sam sent away just so he could film this moment. *wink*



~ Screencap from RotK in which Sam finds the piece of lembas.


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~ Sequence of screencaps from King Kong in which Jack Driscoll finds the necklace .


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~*~





Entries for this series:


~ Stairs of Cirith Ungol Pt. 1: Main essay for this series, plus EE scene, "You listen to me...."


~ Stairs of Cirith Ungol Pt. 2: “He wants it….”


~ Stairs of Cirith Ungol Pt. 3: “I can carry it….”


~ Stairs of Cirith Ungol Pt. 4: “Go home….”






Tables of Links:



~ Frodo and Elijah screencaps Main Page.



~ Mechtild


Comments:


Prim
primula_baggins at 2007-07-23 13:46 (UTC) (Link)
‘Yes it’s always dark here,’ said Sam.

It’s interesting that in the movie, they give this line to Frodo, but they aren't in the same location.

I believe that in this scene, Elijah and Sean weren’t even there at the same time when it was shot, or at least for part of it. I can’t recall if Sean did his scene first or it was Elijah, but the other person’s acting wasn’t done for a full year after the first part.

Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-24 00:08 (UTC) (Link)
It was Sean whose coverage was shot first, but they acted the scene together, fully expecting EW to do his close-ups the next day. It didn't happen. A year passed before they shot EW's close-ups. But I think they are in the same "location". By that I mean that whether the Stairs set was in the motel during the flood or elsewhere, it was still the same set, and the same two actors were playing off each other. A real filming-of-lotr expert would know for sure. :)
Shirebound
shirebound at 2007-07-23 17:09 (UTC) (Link)
These caps are stunning, and so heartbreaking. It's difficult for me to watch this scene, just because of the raw emotions the actors give us.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-24 00:09 (UTC) (Link)
It's a fabulous scene, however uncanon. Bravo, Sean, Elijah and Andy (if Andy was there; it might have been the head of CGI, acting it out).
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-24 00:11 (UTC) (Link)
I agree. They did fabulous work. The between the close-ups made no difference, well, no negative difference. They actors and continuity people were super.
(Anonymous) at 2007-07-24 20:20 (UTC) (Link)
Welcome back, Mechtild. It's good to know you had a lovely holiday,

What a terrific sequence of posts. The film version of the Stairs of Cirith Ungol certainly is a departure from the book, but your essay in post#1 makes fascinating reading. The screencaps, as usual, are superb. I agree that Tolkien's own account would have made an exciting and emotional film scenario, but, as you say, PJ seemed determined to separate Frodo and Sam from the outset.

Film Frodo's psychological demise is difficult to watch at times, but Elijah is wonderful here. Frodo looks utterly, utterly physically and emotionally spent when he collapses after wrestling Sam away from Gollum. Frodo's 'Go home' is heart-wrenching to me, and I can only echo your 'What a face!'

I really do believe that his portrayl of Frodo is still Elijah's most accomplished role to date.

Thank you.

Blossom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-25 13:06 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Blossom, I apologize for the delay in replying. I saw your reply in an emailed reply notice but could not open Livejournal, not any of it. For me it was down all evening until I gave up and went to bed. I'm happy to see it restored!

Thanks so much for posting!

I agree that Tolkien's own account would have made an exciting and emotional film scenario, but, as you say, PJ seemed determined to separate Frodo and Sam from the outset.

Did you see estelanui's first comment in Pt. 1? She noted that the splitting of the characters allowed the filmmaker's to more greatly delineate their two separate journeys and experiences as characters, which I thought a cool remark. She said it a lot better than that, but that's sort of what she said.

That happens in the book, too, as soon as Frodo has been stung, of course, with Sam having to rise to the occasion and make a lot of decisions he would have left to Frodo. Sam really shows his stuff in the Pass and Tower scenes in the book, and so does Frodo once we learn that he never told his captors anything under questioning, even though he had been stripped of the Ring. Notably, this did not a) drive Frodo mad (which Gandalf thought might be the result for Bilbo) and b) did not make him give up, since he still refused to answer questions. (Hey, I'm going to have to remember to mention this when I get to the Tower screencaps!)

Well, I'd better stop talking since I have to go to work. P.S. Blossom, I appreciated your remark about this series in The Faculty at K-D. I haven't been back again to say anything. I feel as though I have been saying goodbye in there (esp. the Harem) for many months. Now that's it's definite, I don't seem to have the heart to do the official elegy post.
(Anonymous) at 2007-07-25 20:48 (UTC) (Link)
Estelanui's point is certainly valid, and it could well have been one of PJ's objectives, aside from 'upping the ante' between Frodo, Sam and Gollum.

Now I'm really looking forward to the Tower screencaps after your comments regarding Frodo. It's amazing to think that he didn't succumb to the pressure of the Orcs' cruel torture and constant questioning. It's also fascinating that having been stripped of the Ring, he did not, as you rightly point out, go mad.
Later in the book, when he and Sam are closer to Mt. Doom, Sam offers once more to help him bear the burden. "I should go mad," Frodo tells him. But there can be no doubt that by then the dreadful trek across Mordor has further intensified the Ring's hold on him. But that's for later...

It is a shame about KD, but all good things come to an end, it seems, and most of the threads have slowed down considerably in recent months. It feels like the end of an era. I'm so grateful that there are still people like you, who supply die-hard book and film Frodo fans like me with such wonderful images and
inspiring commentaries. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you again, Mechtild.

Blossom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-26 00:33 (UTC) (Link)
I believe you are right about K-D. There was no reason, really, for Moggy to keep the thing afloat at this point. And it was wonderful of Sneaking to copy all the threads for people who wanted to save them.

Thanks again for commenting, Blossom. It's good to know you are out there, a fellow "die-hard book and film Frodo fan", thoughtful and gracious.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-26 00:37 (UTC) (Link)
I meant to add that perhaps it did not drive Frodo mad when the Ring was taken in Cirith Ungol because he was unconscious when it happened. He woke up to a fait accomplit. But if someone should try to take it from him while he was conscious, that might have pushed him over the bring. Although in the Sammath Naur it did in fact happen that the Ring was taken from him by force (book and film), but he did not go mad. In the book Sam even notes that Frodo is again his dear sweet master, in his right mind. But that might have been because the Ring had been destroyed. There was no one to continue fighting with to get it back. That person was dead and the Ring gone. If Gollum had taken it and then run out of the tunnel and down Mt. Doom, I think we could be pretty sure that Frodo would have been after him, if not out of Ring lust then out of his duty to complete the Quest or both.
(Anonymous) at 2007-07-26 21:22 (UTC) (Link)
Book-Frodo did not have time to react after Gollum
had wrenched the Ring (and his finger!) from him.
Things happened quickly. After the Ring and Gollum
had fallen, Sam carried the injured Frodo away. As
you say, Mechtild, perhaps because the Ring was destroyed Frodo was able then to 'let go.' The burden had been lifted; he was free of It. I think we do see
a glimpse of 'madness' in film Frodo though, as he
lunges for Gollum. EW has said that the scene was
intended to be ambiguous, but he felt that Frodo's
motivation at that point was to re-claim the Ring.
Tolkien says in his Letters that in order not to
have failed morally, Frodo - once he had claimed
the Ring, and if he had not been attacked by Gollum
- would have had to cast himself with the Ring into
the Fire, for he would have been unable to give
It up freely.

I often wonder if Frodo was at all 'conscious' of
events in the Sammath Naur once the Ring took
control. I think Frodo's sense of self was
completley subdued, his own will overpowered - and
rather the Ring claimed HIM!

I fear I have ventured too far ahead - Frodo has
still to face the tunnel - alone! Well, if he will
send Sam away...

Blossom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-07-26 23:57 (UTC) (Link)
I think his will was subdued, too. I don't think he was "insane" though, in the sense of out of his mind or unable to be a spectator of what was happening. In fact I picture his subdued self doing the things that another part of him, his remaining true self, had to watch as they happened, mute and powerless, which was why he could feel guilty and filled with regret later on. I am sure a part of him saw everything that happened in there. If he were completely possessed, he wouldn't have remembered a thing.

But, yes, we'll get to that! There's still a TON of Shelob's lair caps, then the Tower, then a recap of Gorgoroth in order to showcase a great poem of Jan's, then the EE fight on Mt. Doom (bleh), then the Sammath Naur itself, which is another ton of caps. I already presented the "I can see the Shire" scene and all the last scenes a year or so ago.
frodosweetstuff
frodosweetstuff at 2007-08-02 13:10 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, dear Mechtild for all these wonderful caps! I am sorry that I haven't done the promised post with screencaps by you but there just wasn't time. :(
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-08-02 13:42 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, don't worry about it. No one has time: it's summer! :)
frodosweetstuff
frodosweetstuff at 2007-08-04 22:04 (UTC) (Link)
You really chose a great icon to go with your comment. It looks as if Frodo is saying what you wrote... *thud*
 Paulie
not_alone at 2007-08-02 16:27 (UTC) (Link)
I intended replying to this post earlier but I wanted to check something out which I've only just got round to. This quote is from Rolling Stone some years back - I wonder if PJ had this scene in mind:

" Peter Jackson explains how, at first, he had to spur on Wood to inhabit the darker side of Frodo. 'He was having to summon up feelings of genuine hatred that he didn't enjoy doing', says Jackson. 'Those were the times when I had to say to Elijah, 'I'm not quite believing it - let's do it again.' And when they did it again, he was there"

He certainly was 'there'!! Amazing for someone so young and for whom those feelings were obviously completely alien:)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-08-02 23:16 (UTC) (Link)
He certainly was 'there'!!

Whoa, yes! What a look of utter repulsion! However the "genuine hatred" may have been for Gollum, put to the test in Shelob's Lair (the realisation scene and then the fight in the tunnel). He was great though, EW, in these scenes. I sure wish he'd do something on screen that tapped into that well again. He really can be so GOOD.
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