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BBC Archive Video from 1968 - Tolkien in Oxford

Subject: BBC Archive Video from 1968 - Tolkien in Oxford
by Trotter on 2010/8/19 21:49:20

30 March 1968 From the Chronology for this date, it was originally called Tolkien in Oxford and was broadcast on BBC2 as part of the programme Release from 9:50 to 10:30pm.

For people who don't have access to Rayner Unwin's George Allen & Unwin - a Remembrancer, this documentary is mentioned on page 127.

There was also an opportunity, which we did not want to miss, for a BBC film to be made on 'Tolkien in Oxford.' Early in 1968 I broached the idea to Tolkien, well aware of his instinctive detestation of personal publicity, and of previous blunderings by the BBC in particular. 'I would recommend this project as the least painful way of putting yourself on the record for posterity and giving yourself a let-out for future importunate film-makers'. ... The film was made during a bleak couple of days in February. Tolkien co-operated, but only occasionally did the filming spark his imagination and enthusiasm. At the end he was taken, muffled in his overcoat, to be filmed watching a firework display, that it was assumed, because Gandalf had made them for Old Took, Tolkien would enjoy. But he was tired and confused and the finished film had so many distractions, with student opinions being given equal weight to Tolkien himself, that it was a less memorable programme than we had hoped. Posterity is also the poorer for the loss of a large quantity of film that was discarded at the cutting-room stage and has subsequently disappeared.

It appears to be viewable worldwide and it is great to see the BBC putting some of these documentaries on view again.

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