I ran across this 1968 BBC video of J.R.R. Tolkien in his native habitat. I don’t suppose I ever saw Tolkien in a moving picture, but he’s exactly like I had imagined him to be. Interspersed with the Tolkien interviews and images are people expressing their own opinions about Tolkien and his books, from fangirls to Marxist critics. The Marxists make for pretty good entertainment, I have to say (they despise the Hobbits’ bourgeois interest in food, drink, and other domesticated creature comforts, for instance).
Here’s part one of the programme:


And here’s part two. (If you want to see some real-live Marxists doing their schtick, the first couple of minutes of this one has some excellent specimens):

Bonus Inkling Audio: Here’s some surviving audio from one of C.S. Lewis’s wartime radio broadcasts. These talks, as you probably know already, became Mere Christianity:

  • Sally Apokedak
    12:47 AM, 3 May 2011

    “I was on the whole a rather puny, over-mothered, timid little creature….”
    He’s thoroughly endearing.

    I often wonder what it is about writers that makes them feel that they must get something out of their systems. Why do they feel a need to share their opinions? I know many writers who were neglected and who just want someone to listen to them. And here is Tolkien who was over-mothered but still ignored—at least as far as his own opinions were concerned. When you’re over-mothered you can’t make your voice heard.

    This makes me wonder if there are other writers who grew up in an environment where their opinions were heard and given consideration and that made them believe they had important things to share with the world, or if that kind of upbringing would cure would-be writers of their need to share and so save them from lives of misery and feeling misunderstood and underappreciated. Because, of course, even if Mother made them think they had important things to say, as soon as they publish they’ll find out that the world doesn’t love them as well as Mother does. 🙂

    What great videos, though. I loved these. Tolkien is so interesting.

  • Fellow Traveler
    2:10 PM, 3 May 2011

    Marxists crack me up, but then so does…any other literary critic with nothing but an agenda!

  • livingoakheart
    10:53 PM, 3 May 2011

    The line, spoken by one of the Marxist critics:”No doubt we’ll soon be seeing Lord of the Rings on Ice…”
    My brain hurts trying to picture that. Gimli on iceskates? Sauron pirouetting? What exactly ran through his brain that made him say that?

  • Loren Warnemuende
    5:23 PM, 4 May 2011

    I love the comments made toward the end of the first segment, particularly the girl speaking at about minute 11. She says that when one reads many adventure stories, one comes out feeling let-down because our world is so dull. But when she read Tolkein, some of the magic rubbed off and when she finished the story it changed how she perceived the most humdrum things around her. What an incredible testimony to skillful writing, and perhaps what happens when one is rooted in the One True Story, like Tolkein was.

  • Charles Atkinson
    10:59 AM, 5 May 2011

    This is a treasure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a Quote