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

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
      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 2 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
        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 3 of 11 , Jun 17, 1999
          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 4 of 11 , Jun 18, 1999
            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 5 of 11 , Jun 18, 1999
              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
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