Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,
Mechtild
mechtild

Ithilien Pt. 4 ~ “We’re Not in Decent Places….”

~*~


I capped this scene because it is well-shot, well-acted, and Frodo and Sam look great in the frames. However, I think it was a huge mistake to put it in the EE. I am guessing the scene was written and shot before the filmmakers finalized Sam and Frodo's part of the story, and they cut it from the theatrical when they saw it no longer made sense in the larger film.

In their opening scene in RotK, it is made clear by Frodo's responses to Sam's plans for rationing their food "for the journey home", that he does not expect to survive the Quest. (The way the scene plays, it recalls the Dead Marshes scene in the book in which Frodo asks Sam—should they actually complete their mission and are present when the Ring goes into the Fire—whether they will have any need of food and drink.) Later, in the waterskin scene on Gorgoroth, Frodo and Sam are shown reaching an understanding: Sam finally sees (as Frodo has seen all along) that there will be no return journey. Then comes this little EE scene in which Frodo is shown saying, "I don't think I'll be coming back", as if it had just dawned on him. Like I said, it's a very well-done scene, but utterly senseless in the context of the rest of the film.

Still, it makes great screencaps. I love the quality of the light. Although I have brightened and sharpened the images, it really does have a unique sort of lighting, both very clear and very soft at once. And the frames capture a lot of what many love in film-Frodo, with his sensitive sort of poignancy, and in Sam, with his strong, grounded warmth as he provides encouragement.

Speaking of Sam providing encouragement, that's the other thing I don't like about this scene (besides it making no sense within the larger context). It is difficult to find fault with a scene because Sam provides comfort to a rather daunted Frodo. In the book, Sam does in fact encourage Frodo all through the Quest, more and more as Frodo becomes increasingly stressed and bowed under the burden of the Ring and the Eye. But the films tend to highlight this dynamic—Sam encouraging Frodo—omitting or downplaying book moments in which Frodo is the strong one, the leader, the one who keeps them going on their road. The two hobbits are very lovely in this scene, their faces like flowers. But why must Sam always be the robust, hardy perennial, and Frodo the delicate hot-house flower, whom Gardener Gamgee must constantly tend and protect? One of the points about Frodo as Ring-bearer is that he is exemplary of his race, a people notably "difficult to daunt or kill". If hobbits are generally thus, Frodo is more so. One tends not to get that impression in the films.

The last dialogue in FotR is Frodo saying wistfully they probably won't see their companions again. "We may yet, Mr. Frodo, we may," says Sam warmly. Encouraged, Frodo affirms with equal warmth, "I'm glad you're with me". Most of the audience is thinking the same thing: Thank heaven for Sam Gamgee or where would the mission be?

At the end of TTT, Sam again is given dialogue that shows him as indispensible. Frodo, dispirited and beaten after his struggle on the walls of Osgiliath, must be told by Sam [at considerable length] what they are fighting for, and what's worth holding onto. Poor Frodo.

In not_alone's fine series "The Journey of Frodo", detailing the making of the trilogy from Elijah Wood's POV, she just posted Ch. 7 ~ Playtime. In it she provides this quote:

When asked by a TV interviewer how Frodo would handle this challenge, Elijah replied “Oh God, I don`t know. . . I think Sam would probably come to his aid. Frodo can never do much by himself!!”.

Exactly. With the impression reinforced subtly over the course of the three films, intentionally or not the filmmakers did such a job on Frodo as a character, even his actor believed Frodo Baggins—Bronwe athan Harthad ("endurance beyond hope") and Iorhael ("wise, venerable elder") and, with Sam, Conin en Annûn ("princes of the West")—really wasn't up to much.

Even more trying is when the films not only leave Frodo's lines out, but give his lines to others. This happens in the EE Cross-roads scene (which follows immediately from this scene). There Sam gets Frodo's lines, and his key, character-revealing line is cut.

In the book scene, it is Frodo who points out to Sam, "Look! The king has got a crown again!" Then when the light strikes the statue, he adds spiritedly, "They cannot conquer for ever!" In the film scene, Frodo glances glumly at the statue's head where it lies, but trudges past it. It is Sam who turns and looks when the light comes through the clouds. Spoken as encouragement to Frodo Sam says, "Mr. Frodo, look! The king has got a crown again!" The "They cannot conquer for ever" line is cut completely.

Again, 'The Cross-roads' is a really nice little EE scene, but it is yet another instance in which Frodo is portrayed as someone with inadequate personal resources, who must continually be encouraged by others.




~*~




Film scene: “I don’t think I’ll be coming back”: EE scene.


Frodo and Sam follow Gollum through a thicket of bare brush..

Sam: Must be getting near tea-time. Leastways it would be in decent places, where there is still tea-time.

Gollum: (Turning back to Sam.) We’re not in decent places.

Sam: (Turning and seeing that Frodo has stopped walking.) Mr. Frodo? (Seeing that Frodo continues to stare strangely.) What is it?

Frodo: It’s just a feeling. I don’t think I’ll be coming back.

Sam: (Walking back to Frodo.) Yes, you will. ‘Course you will. That’s just morbid thinking. We’re going ‘there and back again’, just like Mr. Bilbo. You’ll see.



~*~




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


‘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!’

Sam stared at him suspiciously: he seemed frightened or excited. ‘Go now? What’s your little game? It isn’t time yet. It can’t be tea-time even, leastways not in decent places where there is a tea-time.’

‘Silly!’ hissed Gollum. ‘We’re not in decent places. Time’s running short, yes, running fast. No time to lose. We must go. Wake up, Master, wake up!’ He clawed at Frodo; and Frodo, startled out of sleep, sat up suddenly and seized him by the arm. Gollum tore himself loose and backed away.

‘They mustn’t be silly,’ he hissed. ‘We must go. No time to lose!’ And nothing more could they get out of him. Where he had been, and what he thought was brewing to make him in such a hurry, he would not say. Sam was filled with deep suspicion, and showed it; but Frodo gave no sign of what was passing in his mind. He sighed, hoisted his pack, and prepared to go out into the ever-gathering darkness.


~*~












~ Frodo expresses his misgivings to Sam:


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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".





Tables of Links:


~ All Frodo and Elijah screencaps.




~ Mechtild

Tags: essay, frodo screencaps
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