Ah, yes. Bree. As I noted in the last Bree entry, the Prancing Pony of the book was a very hospitable place:
As soon as the Shire-hobbits entered, there was a chorus of welcome from the Bree-landers. (…) The Bree-hobbits were, in fact, friendly and inquisitive, and Frodo soon found that some explanation of what he was doing would have to be given. (…) He said he was thinking of writing a book (at which there was silent astonishment), and that he and his friends wanted to collect information about hobbits living outside the Shire, especially in the Eastern lands.
Not a bit like the place in the film....
* * *
As you will recall, we left off in the film version with Frodo and his companions, wet and tired, enquiring of Butterbur at the bar. No, Gandalf has not been heard of. The hobbits look perplexed and distressed.
The next segment shows them sitting and drinking their half-pints at a bare, rough-hewn table. Sam is eating cheese and bread. No one greets them and they are left to themselves. Everywhere they look the patrons are Men, dour and strange and in some stage of drunkenness. They are the only hobbits.
“Sam, he’ll be here. He’ll come,” Frodo says, as if to reassure himself as much as Sam.
Merry is dodging between surly customers and sits next to Pippin with a brimming mug -- a full pint, not a half. “I’m getting one!” declares Pippin. “You've had a whole half already!” Sam calls out, but Pip is gone.
Again, as with the other Bree caps, I have brightened and sharpened these images for the sake of better revealing film-Frodo's expressive (and lovely) face.
This is an unretouched frame from the third sequence below:
Frodo reacting to the interchange described above:
Sam and Frodo watch as Pip goes to the bar and climbs onto a stool to place his order.
“That fellow’s done nothin’ but stare at you since we arrived,” Sam says darkly.
Surreptitiously, Frodo takes a look:
“Excuse me,” Frodo says, calling Butterbur over. “That man in the corner, who is he?”
Butterbur crouches down and says under his breath, “He’s one of them rangers. Dangerous folk they are-- all wandering the wilds. What his right name is I’ve never heard but around here, he’s known as Strider.”
The following caps show Frodo's reactions to Barliman's words:
“Strider... " Frodo murmurs thoughtfully:
Then comes the close-up of Strider’s eyes and pipe glowing in the dark. This is one of those brilliant moments in the film, when the filmmakers really got the sense of a book passage beautifully. Here’s the description from the book:
Suddenly Frodo noticed that a strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting in the shadows near the wall, was also listening intently to the hobbit-talk. He had a tall tankard in front of him, and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were stretched out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close about him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a good that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits.
I hadn't noticed until typing this out, but in the book it is Frodo, not Sam who first takes notice of Aragorn. Doesn’t it just figure? Here I have been moaning about Frodo’s acumen and authority being undermined at the Ford of Bruinen and at Weathertop, but, really, they were whittling away at it from very early on, weren’t they?
*heaves small sigh of aggravation*
(Ahem. Back to screencaps.)
A brief reaction shot of Frodo follows, as if the image of burning coals were a catalyst. He begins to fiddle with the Ring:
~ To be cont’d….
For next Bree screencaps click here.
Click HERE for table of other Frodo [and Elijah Wood] screencaps.