LotR audiobook? which one is the best?

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sarma72
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LotR audiobook? which one is the best?

Post by sarma72 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:45 am

Hi there, which audio CD/cassette dramatization is the best one in your opinion? There is a quite large choice on ebay about these, and I was wondering if any of you had a specific version they think is THE best.
BBC radio 4?

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jhunholz
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Post by jhunholz » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:57 pm

Personally, I prefer the unabridged reading of the book to any of the dramatizations.  But if I had to choose, I've heard good things about the BBC one.

sarma72
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Post by sarma72 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:09 pm

Thanks. Any preference between the unabridged versions?

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Eyelid
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Post by Eyelid » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:13 am

Hi Marc,

Unhesitatingly, the BBC4 production of 1981.

I own the CD version of this show and listen to it quite often, it is simply stunning! The acting is superb all round, and the thespians I tend to prefer are those portraying Gandalf, Sam (William Nighy, who among others was the fallen rock-star in "Love Actually", is absolutely perfect), Frodo (Ian Holm, truly outstanding), Merry and Pippin.
Of course, the rest of the crew are all excellent and if you do decide to get it you will most certainly enjoy every minute of it.

There was also a version produced back in 1956. I wanted to hear that one for the sake of comparison, but after writing to both the BBC and to Brian Sibley, who edited and directed the 1981 version, I learned that no recordings had been made of that show. As Mr. Sibley indicated in his reply to me,
As was often (in fact usual) with early radio programmes, plays were broadcast LIVE and so no recordings exist.
so unless someone out there had a tape recorder at home that version exists only in the memory of some BBC listeners.
Incidentally, in the letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, some correspondence was kept between Tolkien and the producer of the 1956 show, including a complaint by Tolkien that Goldberry had been miscast as Tom Bombadil's daughter...

The other commercially available radio production of LOTR was the one made by Mind's Eye in the US. I've heard only a short excerpt but it pales in comparison with the British version. Most of the names were mispronounced, the acting - though not bad - was far from excellent, and the accent sounded, well, so un-British, obviously...  The American accent sounded very much out of place. It's almost like something was lost in the British to US English transition... I can't speak for other adpatations in other languages (there must be others, I just haven't heard of any) but I felt the US version was clumsier and not as faithful as the English one.
Perhaps some of you have heard radio adaptations in other languages. It would be interesting to hear what you think of those.
(Just imagine "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in anything else than British English... I heard a French version of this radio show made by French fans, using the available French translation... A laudable effort, but please, don't broadcast these things, for the public's sake...).

You might also want to listen to the 1968 radio adaptation of the Hobbit. Gandalf sounded like the strangest little man in that show... I'm thinking of an analogy, but the best I can come up with is Peter Sellers doing his Inspector Clouseau bit, without the French accent, but with a somewhat higher pitch and a smidgen of snobbishness... A bit funny at first, yet it kind of grows on you... I can send you an mp3 file of the first episode so you can hear it for yourself.

And one last note on the complete interpretation of the entire trilogy by Rob Inglis: I own that version as well and although he does an excellent job of attempting to change his accent and tone of voice for every single character in the book, it will never, in my view, be as entertaining as a full-cast production with music and sound effects.
His performance is very good indeed and should you just want to listen to the story being read to you, pop it into the CD player, sit back and enjoy. For me it was like listening to my father read me a bedtime story.

I wish you a lot of fun listening to either recording!

sarma72
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Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:42 am

Wow, Adrian, thanks a lot for your review!
I'll try to fetch this 1981 BBC4 edition!!!

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