Episode 36 (Part 2) Middle Earth Role-Playing (MERP) (with Liz Danforth)

MERP Part 2 with Liz Danforth

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Welcome to the second part of the MERP episode. I recommend Menion (AKA Rob’s) podcast ; we speak to Liz Danforth – why not support her on Patreon? Thanks to Per Broden for his excellent First, Last and Everything, the an ad for our good friends at The Good Friends …. and we roll some crits on our new Patreons.

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

5 thoughts on “Episode 36 (Part 2) Middle Earth Role-Playing (MERP) (with Liz Danforth)”

  1. This was the first movie I saw in a theater that amde me go “What the hell?”. I had enjoyed the books, was playing D&D by that time, and was very excited for the movie. Then I saw it. The movie makes a lot of interesting aesthetic choices. Almost all of them bad.

    There are 3 kinds of animation in this movie: classic Disney type animation, rotoscoping and high contrast film that is hand colored. I think what you are referring to as rotoscoping in the podcast is the high-contrast film with coloring. Almost all of the character animation is rotoscoped, with more and more of the high-contrast stuff towards the end of the film. There’s not a lot of straight animation in the movie that I can recall, but what is there is pretty good.

    I would love to see a classically animated Lord of the Rings, but no studio on Earth could have made that movie in the 1970’s.

    Sorry if I am being pedantic about this, but I was obsessed with animation for a few years, esp. the golden age of Hollywood shorts.

    There is a follow-up to this movie from a different studio. The Rankin/Bass production of “Return of the King” is done in the same style as their production of “The Hobbit”. It is a musical. I saw the film when it aired in the late 70’s or early 80’s and I can still remember the song “Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way”. The movie is not good, far inferior to their production of “The Hobbit” which is about as good as it could be given that it was made for American TV in the 1970’s.

    Assuming you are OK with all the inhabitants of Middle Earth with American accents.

    Except the Elves, who are apparently German.

  2. Oh, and hand-colored high-contrast film was also the method used for a lot of the roughly contemporary movie Tron. Anything with live actors in the computer was shot this way.

    Also, I am a nerd about this stuff.

  3. I also want to respond to the Groggle Box section.
    The Bakshi “Lord of the Rings” was my first exposure to the trilogy–when I was nine years old. So those images of Middle Earth and the characters have had a hold on me and I still love the Bakshi version, while acknowledging its many flaws.
    I also want to point out that Ralph Bakshi produced a couple more animated fantasy films: Wizards (which I have never seen): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076929/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.
    Then there’s “Fire and Ice”*: Ralph Bakshi made this in partnership with Frank Frazetta–and it shows. It is so gorgeous that it makes me wish there had been more animated fantasy like this in the 1980’s instead of the tons of Very Bad live-action fantasy. However, like a Frazetta painting, the plot is really awful, as are all the sexual and racial politics of the film (IMHOP). Here’s the IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085542/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_20.
    *”Fire and Ice” is NOT to be confused with George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. The two are totally different. Which confused me no end once George R.R. Martin’s work was becoming popular in fandom.

  4. I have to say, you were a lot kinder to the animated movie than I inferred from the warning – thankyou, gents! I have a soft spot for this flawed, uninished work. It sits well enough alongside paperback fiction covers and van art for the scant Seventies pop culture fantasy infiltration that it is, and my Grenadier miniatures – based obviously on the movie’s (S)aruman and others, will still be painted to the movie’s palette when they get their redo this winter. Shame it never got completed – as a youngster it was definitely for me a Gateway to Adventure (to quote the old TSR catalogue), and it’s tantalising to see the odd bit of deleted footage reappear (https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/check-out-long-lost-footage-ralph-bakshis-1978-lord-rings-adaptation), or links to illustrator Mike Ploog’s reference work for what might have been.

    Release the Bakshi cut!

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