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