A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
So the trailer for The Hobbit is out today:
Seems solid, if you're into that sort of thing. Which I sort of am. But instead of riffing, let me share with you this delightful bit from a 1968 edition of the BBC's In Their Own Words focusing on Tolkien...
This first part is largely missable, except for a few choice bits:
Love the disgusted undergrad sophisticate railing against hobbit life: "I've never seen anything more bourgeois in my whole life - they seem to spend the whole time sitting around and eating meals, playing bar billiards and that sort of thing."
Tolkien reveals that the Ents are not a literary stroke of genius, but an outgrowth of a very personal interest: "I have always, for some reason - I don't know why - been enormously attracted by trees."
Tolkien on success: "It's a pity the book didn't catch on a bit sooner, isn't it?"
And please do not miss the wonderful girl at 10:34, talking about the difference between Tolkien's world and that of, say, James Bond or H.G. Wells.
The good stuff really comes in part two:
"It seems to me his work implies an escape from political and social reality..." says one disgusted Briton. "The cult of Tolkien, in America particularly, seems to be responding to this sort of failure in engagement with our political and social situation." Hee hee!
Early fanboys at 3:00! "The obscurer the reference, the better you feel when somebody else gets it."
Tolkien: "Well, it is meant to be escapist, because I use escapism in its proper sense - as a man getting out of prison."
And the kicker: "If you really come down to any large story...stories, human stories, are practically always about one thing, aren't they? Death. The inevitability of death." He then reads a quote from Simone de Beauvoir that he calls "the keyspring of The Lords of the Ring." I love "keyspring" - it sound almost like a mashup of "keystone" and "wellspring."
Anyway, I enjoyed that. And if you're still reading, I imagine you did, too.