Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: The How and Why of Bakshi's LotR film

Expand Messages
  • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
    ... To correct Wayne: Rankin Bass got permission to do The Hobbit and a sequel, unspecified. When they found out that Bakshi wasn t going to finish LoTR,
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 16, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      At 10:28 AM 6/16/1999 -0400, Wayne G. Hammond wrote:
      >To correct Ron Bryant's post:
      >
      >Bakshi intended to film the rest of _The Lord of the Rings_, but did not
      >because the first part was a financial flop (many would say, a flop on all
      >counts). The fact that he did not film the whole story at once may have had
      >something to do with time constraints, but had nothing to do with rights.
      >He, or rather the producer Saul Zaentz, owned the rights to the entire
      >book; indeed, Zaentz still owns the film rights to both _The Hobbit_ and
      >_The Lord of the Rings_. Rankin/Bass did not have the rights to _The Return
      >of the King_, and in fact seem not to have had even a sublicense, but
      >simply went under the assumption that RK was in the public domain in the
      >United States, a false assumption that grew out of the Tolkien copyrights
      >dispute of the 1960s and has since been firmly squashed by the courts. I
      >think (none of this has ever been made clear officially) that Rankin/Bass
      >had a sublicense for their _Hobbit_, but I may be wrong. In any case it's
      >somewhat telling that neither Rankin/Bass video is commercially available
      >in the U.K., where Tolkien's copyrights have never been in question.

      To correct Wayne:

      Rankin Bass got permission to do "The Hobbit" and a sequel, unspecified.
      When they found out that Bakshi wasn't going to finish LoTR, they jumped in
      with their "Return". This wasn't really kosher and they did end up with the
      agreement with the Tolkien Publishers mentioned in Wendall's notes. But it
      should be noted that is the reason Unwin wasn't going to fight it out in
      court was that Rankin/Bass could have won, since what they did was a
      "sequel". Much better to settle and shut the matter up than trust it to the
      capricious US courts.

      We currently have what we call a "Bakshi Sandwich". R/B Hobbit, B LoTR, and
      R/B Return all on one video tape. We forewarn people before we show it. But
      "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way" is so bad, it has to be shared with
      those who appreciate crazy real bad stuff. And, lousy as it is, it did
      inspire my daughter to go for the real stuff when she was old enough.

      I like Bakshi's Wizards (which was his test ground for LoTR) much better. He
      should have stopped there.

      Mythically yours,

      Lisa
    • Wayne Hammond Jr
      ... Got permission from whom? Not from Tolkien s publishers, nor from the Tolkien Estate, who by then didn t have the rights to give. The film and television
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
      • 0 Attachment
        On Wed, 16 Jun 1999, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan wrote:

        > Rankin Bass got permission to do "The Hobbit" and a sequel, unspecified.
        > When they found out that Bakshi wasn't going to finish LoTR, they jumped in
        > with their "Return". This wasn't really kosher and they did end up with the
        > agreement with the Tolkien Publishers mentioned in Wendall's notes. But it
        > should be noted that is the reason Unwin wasn't going to fight it out in
        > court was that Rankin/Bass could have won, since what they did was a
        > "sequel". Much better to settle and shut the matter up than trust it to the
        > capricious US courts.

        Got permission from whom? Not from Tolkien's publishers, nor from the
        Tolkien Estate, who by then didn't have the rights to give. The film and
        television rights to _The Hobbit_ and _The Lord of the Rings_ were held,
        as now, by Saul Zaentz. Again, I don't have official word on this, but the
        credit line on the Rankin/Bass _Return of the King_ packaging is
        significant: "Based on the Original Version of _The Hobbit_ and _The
        Return of the King_". This says to me that they were relying on the
        then-questionable U.S. copyright status of the first (unrevised) editions
        of _The Hobbit_ and _The Return of the King_, that is on the assumption
        that these works were in the public domain in the U.S. (Their status is no
        longer questionable. The U.S. courts, far from being capricious, have made
        it clear, in remarkably direct language for a legal document -- I've read
        the decision -- that although Houghton Mifflin did not follow the letter
        of the copyright law, it did not lose Tolkien's copyrights. And under the
        latest GATT accords his U.S. copyrights are even more strongly protected.)

        Tolkien's publishers may well have been reluctant to fight Rankin/Bass in
        U.S. court to avoid drawing more attention to the copyright dispute --
        although I suspect that it was Saul Zaentz and his Tolkien Enterprises who
        had the real standing to do so. Otherwise, Tolkien's publishers and estate
        have pursued the copyright question vigorously in U.S. courts, and as I
        say have prevailed. Outside of the U.S., that is in those parts of the
        world long protected under the Berne Convention, where Tolkien's
        copyrights have never been in question, the Rankin/Bass videos are in fact
        illegal, which is why they are not available in Britain (except in pirated
        or private copies). The Bakshi film, in contrast, is (or has been) widely
        available outside of the U.S., and has even been shown at the National
        Film Theatre in London.

        Lisa is of course correct that Rankin/Bass jumped on the bandwagon with
        their _Return of the King_, after Bakshi.

        Wayne Hammond
      • Diane Baker
        ... By all means, keep it out of the US courts! Capricious is hardly the word to describe them. ... This qualifies---even the thought of it still makes me
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
        • 0 Attachment
          Lisa Deutsch Harrigan wrote:

          > Much better to settle and shut the matter up than trust it to the capricious US
          > courts.

          By all means, keep it out of the US courts! Capricious is hardly the
          word to describe them.

          > But "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way" is so bad, it has to be shared with those who appreciate crazy real bad stuff.

          This qualifies---even the thought of it still makes me laugh! :)

          > I like Bakshi's Wizards (which was his test ground for LoTR) much > better. He should have stopped there.
          >
          > Mythically yours,
          >
          > Lisa
        • FrMacKen@xxx.xxx
          To all, Thank you for the reply. It seems like I opened a can of worms with that query. Or should I say a gaggle of Hobbits? Thank you as well for overlooking
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
          • 0 Attachment
            To all,
            Thank you for the reply. It seems like I opened a can of worms with
            that query. Or should I say a gaggle of Hobbits? Thank you as well for
            overlooking my mispelling of Ralph Bakshi.
            One thing: Can anyone tell me the web address of the new live-action
            of The Lord of the Rings? I hope that whoever does it makes a good film and
            not a farce. It will be a massive undertaking to say the least.
            Ron
          • Diane Baker
            ... Here s the site, which I cut and pasted from another source. I hope it shows up as a site you can click on; I don t know how to do that yet. It was
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 18, 1999
            • 0 Attachment
              FrMacKen@... wrote:

              > One thing: Can anyone tell me the web address of the new > live-action of The Lord of the Rings? I hope that whoever does it makes > a good film and not a farce. It will be a massive undertaking to say > the least.
              > Ron

              Here's the site, which I cut and pasted from another source. I hope it
              shows up as a site you can click on; I don't know how to do that yet.
              It was underlined when I pasted it. (You may get ten copies of this; if
              you've gotten this already, please disregard.) ---djb.

              > The official site also provides some background on the film
              > and how the art was put together...
              > http://www.lordoftherings.net/main.html
            • Jim Bohannon
              ... Here are the addresses Ron: http://www.lordoftherings.net/ http://ringbearer.org/ Jim
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 18, 1999
              • 0 Attachment
                FrMacKen@... wrote:
                >
                > One thing: Can anyone tell me the web address of the new live-action
                > of The Lord of the Rings? I hope that whoever does it makes a good film and
                > not a farce. It will be a massive undertaking to say the least.
                > Ron

                Here are the addresses Ron:

                http://www.lordoftherings.net/

                http://ringbearer.org/

                Jim
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.