Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Amon Hen I ~ Frodo and Boromir Pt. 1

Amon Hen: Frodo responds to Boromir, Pt. 1:

Note: There are over forty screencaps in this sequence, so I am posting them in two sets.

In terms of film scenes that portray Frodo well, I think this FotR scene with Boromir is one of the best in the trilogy. Frodo comes across as the hobbit he shows himself more and more to be throughout the book (although much less so in the film): brave, resourceful, noble, and able to master himself amazingly well under pressure. As a hobbit, Frodo is at an extreme physical disadvantage in this confrontation. He is briefly courted, openly pressured, then finally attacked by the huge Man of Gondor. Nevertheless, film Frodo manages to come across as someone with the resources necessary to deal with the situation.

In the book scene, Frodo has been wandering around aimlessly for an extended period, still undecided. When he first sees Boromir, he is not alarmed; Boromir is “smiling and kind”. They sit and chat in a normal way before Boromir begins to show signs of tension and grows insistent.

In the film, all of this is greatly compressed and the tension in the scene escalates from the very first moment. When film Frodo sees Boromir, he is instantly on his guard. Yet he appears more wary than frightened. His senses sharpened by danger, Frodo is observant, noting each modulation in Boromir’s tone and each shift in Boromir’s physical proximity. Frodo appears to be mentally cool and physically quick.

All of this is book Frodo to a T, but there is something about Frodo in this scene that gratifies my book-loving self even more. Yes, Frodo is portrayed as clever and quick, but so is Brer Rabbit. What Frodo demonstrates in this scene far exceeds cleverness and quickness and the ability to escape.

In spite of their difference in physical might, and, in spite of the fact that Boromir is the son of the Steward of Gondor and a great captain of men, and Frodo merely a well-off gentleman scholar from the Shire, Frodo interacts with Boromir in this scene as his equal. Frodo only keeps his distance out of common prudence, on account of Boromir’s great size and his known fixation on the Ring. In this scene, it is Boromir who looks like he is struggling, not Frodo. It is Boromir who is losing it, not Frodo. It is Frodo who behaves nobly, like a prince, not Boromir. It is Frodo who retains his dignity; it is Boromir who begs and pleads. And when Boromir begins to become visibly desperate, it is Frodo, the Hobbit, who seeks to recall Boromir, the Man, to himself.

“You are not yourself!” Frodo says -- just as he might say, “Get a grip -- remember who you are!” Frodo says it with such authority and with such dignity, it is clear that he speaks to Boromir, “man to man.” Frodo is aware of danger, yet he says it as he might have said it to a fellow-hobbit having a melt-down over a slipped wheel -- that is, to someone like him, someone who still could be reached.

Even when Frodo realises that Boromir is actually going to try and take the Ring by force, I still don’t get the sense of Frodo as terrified, but of someone who is keen to protect his mission (i.e. keeping a Boromir who has gone mad from getting the Ring).

I was sorry the frames of Frodo’s face as he wrestles with Boromir were largely a blur. In the least blurry caps, the look on Frodo's face is fierce as well as desperate. Tears spring to his eyes, but, considering how heroically he has played the rest of this scene, I assume those tears are tears of dismay -- dismay that Boromir might seize the Ring and bring the Quest to nothing, rather than that Boromir might seize the Ring and Frodo will feel personally bereft.

ETA: Maybe, they even are tears for Boromir, since what the Lady of Lothlorien said would happen had happened: the Ring would take them, she said, one by one. Here, before Frodo's eyes, he was seeing Boromir being taken. What a sorrowful moment, even in the midst of fear.

Look at the Tolkien describes Frodo's escape from Boromir:

[Boromir] rose and passed his hand over his eyes, dashing away the tears. 'What have I said?' he cried. 'What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!' he called. 'Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!'

There was no answer. Frodo did not even hear his cries. He was already far away, leaping blindly up the path to the hill-top. Terror and grief shook him, seeing in his thought the mad fierce face of Boromir, and his burning eyes.

Frodo was shaken not just by fear, Tolkien tells us, but grief.

~ Brightened and sharpened screencaps from the Amon Hen scene of FotR, fullscreen version of the theatrical release:

Next Amon Hen entry here.

For other Frodo Screencap entries, see the table of links here.

~ Mechtild
Tags: fellowship of the ring, frodo screencaps

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