Elijah Wood takes direction from Peter Jackson for walk-through of Frodo's speech about hiding the Ring, from the FotR EE Extra, "A Day in the Life of a Hobbit."
Note: Tasteless innuendo at Frodo's expense; higher-minded fans be warned.
When I first came into LotR fandom just before the release of The Two Towers, I was quite the pure thing. I swooned extravagantly, but for the films themselves -- the breadth and depth and operatic magnificence of them. I did not swoon for any of the characters or actors. But during my many visits to the theatre to see The Two Towers, I did develop my first major crush in ages.
It was on Aragorn, however, not Frodo. Aragorn proved to be the warm-up for Frodo.
How beautifully film-Aragorn angsted and suffered! How splendidly he entered a pair of massive doors, parting them like unwilling thighs, rich droplets of sweat flying everywhere. One could almost smell the musk. I could watch him gird his loins and draw and sheath his weapon until the cows came home. The sight of him sensitively fingering his sword-hilt gave me a sensual thrill. But, however smitten, I didn't look for fansites for Aragorn, or for his actor. I didn't gush over him in discussion threads. I was too proud, too dignified for that.
Then, after the release of RotK came the Frodo-madness. This madness was so extreme I actually began posting in TORc's Frodo fan thread -- a very weak, fannish, adolescent act according to my notions. But it wasn't until I entered the hormonally heated atmosphere of Khazad-dum's "Frodo's Harem" that I really let my libidinous hair down. Such a rowdy lot! -- and what fun it was to be in their midst.
The tone of the Harem was openly sensual, continually pushing the envelope of the site's PG-13 rating. There was the hilarious gif of Frodo being pulled out of the the Dead Marshes by Gollum -- thrusting his pelvis to push himself out of the swamp -- over and over again. There was the gif of him doing push-ups preparing for the Mt. Doom scene, as funny as it was suggestive. And there were the private-parts jokes. "Endurance Beyond Hope," they said of Frodo, and we took it to heart, swooning over the plump, precious heft of his Silmarils, the ever-hard polish of his Party Field tent-peg, and the sheer beauty of his Elven glass thingamabob. (On TORc we simply had tittered over his delectable "action figure" or his chocolate-velveteen-swathed "Frodo".)
Then there were the suggestive screencaps. They weren't suggestive while watching the actual scenes, but, seen in isolation, the screencaps could be pretty ... inspiring. In FotR, we singled out the Fro-gasms. Frodo experienced these while hiding under the tree root, or hearing the whispered call of the Ring in the Prancing Pony. In TTT, it was the ecstatic roll of his eyes as Ring-lust seized him hiding in the Dead Marshes, under a bush (so Freudian), as the Nazgul swooped overhead. And everyone swooned for the waterskin screencaps, as well as the orgasmic images of Frodo draping the Ring on its chain around his neck in the Tower of Cirith Ungol.
~ Sample "inspiring" screencaps from RotK:
Some of the caps were more specifically crotch shots. Due to the bagginess of hobbit-pants, and the thickness of the fabric, these were not numerous. But some became well-known as LJ icons ( see mariole). The screencaps of Frodo sprawled on the forest floor while being apprehended by Faramir's rangers in Ithilien were a favourite of Frodo-member-lovers everywhere:
Yes, there was non-stop talk extolling Frodo's Person. As "a hobbit of parts", his parts would have to be admirable, wouldn't they? He was the best hobbit in the Shire, after all.
The day came when I saw images that were being linked, images over which everyone was tittering. Taking a look, I recognized the images as caps from a sequence in "A Day in the Life of a Hobbit" (FotR EE DVD Extras). Elijah Wood was performing a scene that required him to be filmed in front of a blue screen for scale. It's the scene in which his dialog is, "All right, we put it away; we keep it hidden; we never speak of it again. No one knows it's here, do they? Do they Gandalf?" He had to re-create his blocking for the scene while a recording of his voice-over played over the speakers to keep him on track with the acted scene. I had watched it before, several times, admiring the way Elijah could act the scene with absolutely no one to play off of, and with no set.
The images that people had linked looked as if someone had taken photos of a television screen. Here are a couple of the fuzzy, distorted images I saved from those links. What was I supposed to be seeing, I wondered?
Having learned to screencap by then, I went back to the FotR EE DVD Extras to make a cap for myself.
"Ah," I said as I examined the screencap. "Now I get it...."
But even though I "got it", having pause-advanced through this scene again (and again) on the EE Extras, and watching it now on the new DVD, I still think we are making a mountain out of bulky double-placket pants filled with shirt tails.
Surely, if Frodo-Elijah were in a state of ... disarray, he would betray some degree of self-consciousness standing in front of the crew and his director, but he does not. His focus is on the scene, as if quite oblivious to what fans will be staring at on their TV's for years to come. Nevertheless, for old time's sake, and for love of my old partners in crotch-gazing, I wish to present these crisp, clear screencaps taken from the new DVD.
So what if it's probably just bunched-up fabric. A fan can dream, can't she?
~ Frodo walks the blue-screen stage for Frodo's speech, "We put it away; we keep it hidden...." from the "Limited Edition" DVD Extras for FotR:
I love the irony of Elijah Wood's innocent comment after he completed the walk-through.
"Did it look all right?" he asks.
Yes, I believe it did.
In a comment below, alone_in_mordor alerted me to the existance of another compelling trouser-bulge that purportedly occurred during the troll attack in Balin's Tomb, in FotR. I was to look at the frames when he was thrown down by the troll, and scoots back into a corner. I'd see things worth seeing.
As I paused through the scene (meanwhile taking some gorgeous caps of Frodo showing off his mithril corselet for some future post), I found the caps in question and thought, "Hmmmm. That really does look like.... Yes, I believe we have a specimen!" I am sure, in fact, that I have seen one of these images posted by mariole, an expert in the field. But it had been smallish (the cap, not the bulge), and not clear enough for me to see what I was supposed to see. These caps make the subject *clearer*. But, could it really be that?
I scrolled once again through all the frames in sequence. As I did so, the Extremely Interesting Hump in the brown velvet breeches shifted about so much, projecting then smoothing out with the change-over from leg to leg, it made me think that this was another case of the Bunchy Pants, folds of Frodo's loose trousers being forced up to his waistband by the violent backward-propulsion of the fall (poor Elijah's bum!). Besides, would a man, even a young man, become fully aroused while filming such a hectic, evergy-draining scene? Perhaps. ("Best hobbit in the Shire" and all that.)
In any case, just for the sake of scientific inquiry, the two clearest pieces of evidence are posted below.
I am sure many of you will find them most ... "inspiring."
~ Frodo scuttles away from the cave troll in FotR:
In a [terribly amusing] series of comments below, mariole informed me of various other note-worthy scenes in which the Bulge of Baggins might be perused. I examined them all with the keenest attention (making caps here and there -- for the archives).
In so doing I came to the scientific conclusion that the Interesting Largeness in Frodo's trousers in the bluescreen series is not, in fact, what many of us had hoped.
I had opined above that Frodo's plum-brown trousers were made of something soft but fairly thick, like a heavy velveteen (think of his everyday breeches in the opening cart scene), which would tend to bunch along the folds during movement. I thought, therefore, that the protuberance in the bluescreen caps was merely the fold of material suspended from the left placket thrown into shadow by strong lighting. But, pause-stepping through extreme close-ups of these pants in two different scenes (to which I was directed by Mariole, I saw that the fabric was velvet after all.
As any of you fabric-people know, velvet is an extremely supple fabric that drapes beautifully, flowing easily over the body of the wearer. Anything that is underneath it is revealed when the fabric moves over it and comes up against it (think of the Ithilien caps).
Now that sounds as though I am supporting the more exciting solution to the interesting-largeness-in-the-hobbit-pant
From the straight-on view, it seems clear to me that the large Something occupying the left side of his pants is, sadly, Frodo's shirt. If one examines the screencap examples below, one will see that the long, voluminous linen shirt has been tucked into the waistband in such a way that two very distinct folds of fabric are arrowed down the left side of the trousers. The pants-bulge we have been admiring directly corresponds with what would be the folds of those shirt tails continuing down the front of Our Hero's loins. Since the fabric is velvet and not a heavy velveteen, those linen folds would lift the silky, light-weight trouser-fabric away from the body. Hence the Interesting Largeness, which lists noticeably to the left.
~ Frodo's shirt-tuck as seen in caps from FotR, full-screen theatrical version:
I am sorry to issue this disappointing report, but, as a researcher, I it is my duty to report the facts as I see them, however difficult and unwelcome.
Listings of all Frodo and Elijah screencaps HERE.