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re. Star over Mordor

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  • John D Rateliff
    Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam s seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin s THE GREAT DICTATOR [1940], which
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 12, 2008
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      Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam's
      seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin's THE GREAT
      DICTATOR [1940], which includes a scene in which the barber (Chaplin)
      and the girl hide on a roof top from storm troopers, see a star in
      the sky high above, and think about how its permanence and purity
      will outlast even Hitler's reich. Unfortunately, it's been too long
      since I've seen the film to be able to give any details.
      --JDR


      On Nov 12, 2008, at 11:08 AM, Michael Cunningham wrote:
      > Thank you David,
      >
      > I have that very title on my shelf at the moment. I'll make a point
      > of reading that tale.
      >
      > Much appreciated,
      > Michael
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: David Bratman
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 5:51 AM
      > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] White Star over Mordor
      >
      >
      > Michael,
      >
      > If you want to read a truly uncanny precursor of Tolkien, I
      > suggest "The Far
      > Islands" by John Buchan. It's in Doug Anderson's _Tales Before
      > Tolkien_.
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Michael Cunningham" <vargeisa@...>
      > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 8:45 AM
      > Subject: [mythsoc] White Star over Mordor
      >
      > I was doing some research in respect of Owen and Sassoon when I
      > happened
      > upon the following essay from the April 1917 edition of The Hydra
      > - a
      > magazine produced by the patients of Craiglockhart Hospital. A
      > tale entitled
      > 'A Phantasmagoria' is included in this issue and while it is
      > blatantly
      > metaphorical the closing paragraphs recalled to mind Sam seeing
      > the white
      > star above the Mordor-black of Ephel DĂșath when:
      >
      > '[t]he beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the
      > forsaken
      > land, and hope returned to him.'(Tolkien 1991, 238).
      >
      > 'A Phantasmagoria' finally finds the narrator standing alone upon
      > the peak
      > of 'mountains of hatred' when he recounts:
      >
      > 'I raised my eyes, and far, far above me shone one tiny pure
      > white star, the
      > Star of Man's Love and Forgiveness. Sick and weary, my soul cried
      > out to it,
      > and as I cried the light of that Star grew stronger and brighter,
      > until
      > beneath the strength of its purity the Mountains of hate burnt
      > and crumbled
      > away, the blood-red Moon shrank and died, and once more I was
      > standing on
      > Nothing. Gradually the pure white light became absorbed into the
      > pink flush
      > of the new-risen Sun, and in the midst of that ineffable glow of
      > promise - I
      > awoke.'
      >
      > Maybe a lot of young men turned their eyes heavenwards amongst
      > the blood and
      > mud of Flanders - given that this is Remembrance Sunday I thought
      > I would
      > post the above given the sacrifice not only of Tolkien's peers
      > but also for
      > many of his generation.
      >
      > Michael
    • Doug Kane
      ... John, I m curious to know whether you are basing your supposition that this scene in that classic film might have been a direct inspiration for Tolkien s
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 12, 2008
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        John D. Rateliff wrote:

        > Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam's
        > seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin's THE GREAT
        > DICTATOR [1940], which includes a scene in which the barber (Chaplin)
        > and the girl hide on a roof top from storm troopers, see a star in
        > the sky high above, and think about how its permanence and purity
        > will outlast even Hitler's reich. Unfortunately, it's been too long
        > since I've seen the film to be able to give any details.

        John, I'm curious to know whether you are basing your supposition that this scene in that classic film might have been a direct inspiration for Tolkien's writing that sequence purely on the extreme similarlity between the two scenes, or whether you have any indication that Tolkien actually saw/was impressed by the film?

        Doug



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • WendellWag@aol.com
        I have a couple of nitpicks with this. First, what do we know about the composition of the section of The Lord of the Rings where Sam sees the star over
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 12, 2008
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          I have a couple of nitpicks with this. First, what do we know about the
          composition of the section of The Lord of the Rings where Sam sees the star over
          Mordor? Was that written after The Great Dictator was released? Second,
          the barber and the girl wouldn't think about Hitler, since the character
          equivalent to Adolf Hitler in the movie was called Adenoid Hynkel. Incidentally,
          this is a great movie, and you should all see it.

          Wendell Wagner


          In a message dated 11/12/2008 4:01:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
          sacnoth@... writes:

          Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam's
          seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin's THE GREAT
          DICTATOR [1940], which includes a scene in which the barber (Chaplin)
          and the girl hide on a roof top from storm troopers, see a star in
          the sky high above, and think about how its permanence and purity
          will outlast even Hitler's reich. Unfortunately, it's been too long
          since I've seen the film to be able to give any details.


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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John D Rateliff
          ... Yes. ... Yes (with Hynkel also played by Chaplin). ... Yes. Not as great as CITY LIGHTS or MODERN TIMES, but v. much a masterpiece. --JDR
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 12, 2008
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            On Nov 12, 2008, at 6:49 PM, WendellWag@... wrote:
            > I have a couple of nitpicks with this. First, what do we know
            > about the
            > composition of the section of The Lord of the Rings where Sam sees
            > the star over
            > Mordor? Was that written after The Great Dictator was released?

            Yes.

            > Second, the barber and the girl wouldn't think about Hitler, since
            > the character
            > equivalent to Adolf Hitler in the movie was called Adenoid Hynkel.

            Yes (with Hynkel also played by Chaplin).

            > Incidentally, this is a great movie, and you should all see it.

            Yes. Not as great as CITY LIGHTS or MODERN TIMES, but v. much a
            masterpiece.

            --JDR
          • John D Rateliff
            ... I don t have any external evidence that Tolkien ever saw the Chaplin film. It s definitely possible, and I d argue it s v. probable, given the similarity
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 12, 2008
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              On Nov 12, 2008, at 2:37 PM, Doug Kane wrote:
              > John, I'm curious to know whether you are basing your supposition
              > that this scene in that classic film might have been a direct
              > inspiration for Tolkien's writing that sequence purely on the
              > extreme similarlity between the two scenes, or whether you have any
              > indication that Tolkien actually saw/was impressed by the film?

              I don't have any external evidence that Tolkien ever saw the Chaplin
              film. It's definitely possible, and I'd argue it's v. probable, given
              the similarity between the scenes. If so, it's a good example of
              Tolkien's ability to pull details out of unlikely sources.
              --JDR
            • Lynn Maudlin
              In a funny little piece of self-foot-shooting, I failed to post this to the list yesterday: Not to answer for John, but don t you think that s a fairly human
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 13, 2008
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                In a funny little piece of self-foot-shooting, I failed to post this
                to the list yesterday:

                Not to answer for John, but don't you think that's a fairly human
                response? In a time of trouble and uncertainty to look up and see the
                stars as timeless (well, *more* timeless than we are) and therefore a
                sign of hope, of endurance?

                -- Lynn --


                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:
                >
                > John D. Rateliff wrote:
                >
                > > Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam's
                > > seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin's THE GREAT
                > > DICTATOR [1940], which includes a scene in which the barber (Chaplin)
                > > and the girl hide on a roof top from storm troopers, see a star in
                > > the sky high above, and think about how its permanence and purity
                > > will outlast even Hitler's reich. Unfortunately, it's been too long
                > > since I've seen the film to be able to give any details.
                >
                > John, I'm curious to know whether you are basing your supposition
                that this scene in that classic film might have been a direct
                inspiration for Tolkien's writing that sequence purely on the extreme
                similarlity between the two scenes, or whether you have any indication
                that Tolkien actually saw/was impressed by the film?
                >
                > Doug
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • Doug Kane
                ... I do think it is a fairly human response. At the same time, the scene in the film as described by John has a remarkably similar feel to the scene in LOTR.
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 13, 2008
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                  Lynne Maudlin wrote:

                  > Not to answer for John, but don't you think that's a fairly human
                  > response? In a time of trouble and uncertainty to look up and see the
                  > stars as timeless (well, *more* timeless than we are) and therefore a
                  > sign of hope, of endurance?

                  I do think it is a fairly human response. At the same time, the scene in the film as described by John has a remarkably similar feel to the scene in LOTR. It does seem fairly remarkable to me that two such similar scenes would be developed independantly in two such different works within a relatively short period of time. Not impossible, but unlikely. Which is why I asked whether John had any information that further supported the idea that Tolkien had actually seen the film and had been influenced by it (being the knowledgable guy that he is). But, of course, he has already answered that question.

                  Doug


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Lynn Maudlin
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:06 PM
                  Subject: [mythsoc] Re: re. Star over Mordor


                  In a funny little piece of self-foot-shooting, I failed to post this
                  to the list yesterday:

                  Not to answer for John, but don't you think that's a fairly human
                  response? In a time of trouble and uncertainty to look up and see the
                  stars as timeless (well, *more* timeless than we are) and therefore a
                  sign of hope, of endurance?

                  -- Lynn --

                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > John D. Rateliff wrote:
                  >
                  > > Another strong parallel, and possible direct inspiration, for Sam's
                  > > seeing the Star over Mordor comes in Charlie Chaplin's THE GREAT
                  > > DICTATOR [1940], which includes a scene in which the barber (Chaplin)
                  > > and the girl hide on a roof top from storm troopers, see a star in
                  > > the sky high above, and think about how its permanence and purity
                  > > will outlast even Hitler's reich. Unfortunately, it's been too long
                  > > since I've seen the film to be able to give any details.
                  >
                  > John, I'm curious to know whether you are basing your supposition
                  that this scene in that classic film might have been a direct
                  inspiration for Tolkien's writing that sequence purely on the extreme
                  similarlity between the two scenes, or whether you have any indication
                  that Tolkien actually saw/was impressed by the film?
                  >
                  > Doug
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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