John Boorman’s The Lord of the Rings: A Case Study of an Unmade Film

FENWICK, James (2021). John Boorman’s The Lord of the Rings: A Case Study of an Unmade Film. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.

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In 1970, United Artists (UA) announced that John Boorman was to develop a film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Boorman collaborated on the screenplay adaptation throughout the first half of 1970 with Rospo Pallenberg, as well as hiring a small team of designers and production managers to assist in the development of a provisional budget. However, archival documentation makes it clear that UA never committed to a production of the project, only an exploratory adaptation. This article uses the John Boorman papers, housed in Indiana University’s Lilly Library, to demonstrate how Boorman’s work on adapting The Lord of the Rings is an instrumental case study on the wider film industrial process of unproduction, in which projects are more typically financed for development rather than production. It concludes that greater archival research is required in order to reframe scholarly understanding of the industrial processes of Hollywood and other film industries in order to raise questions about why so few film projects ever enter active production.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication & Media Studies; 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media; 2001 Communication and Media Studies; 2103 Historical Studies
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2021 15:48
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 09:45

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