A Look at Lord of the Rings

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Not since “Star Wars” has the film industry been
energized by a trilogy like it has been for “The Lord of the Rings”.
The first part, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, was released to glowing
reviews and record-breaking box office in December, 2001. Parts
Two and Three will follow in successive years. Lord of the Rings
First editions of the original books as well as contemporary merchandise
related to the film are hot items on the secondary market.

At the turn of the Millennium, “The Lord of the Rings” was chosen
by thousands of readers as the best book ever written. It’s author,
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was born in South Africa in
1892. His family moved to England in 1895 and he never returned
to his homeland. Tolkien pursued an academic life when he reached
adulthood. He loved language and mythology, specializing in linguistics.
During WWI, he served with the Lancashire Fusiliers in France,
but was sent home with trench fever in 1915. During his convalescence,
he began to write poems and short stories about his life in the
trenches, living underground in holes and huts. When he was discharged
in 1918, Tolkien was employed as a lexicographer, helping to compile
what would become the first edition of the “Oxford English Dictionary”.
Then in 1925, he became a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.
He remained with the university until his retirement in 1959.

During the early 1930’s, he began to work on his first success,
a children’s book entitled “The Hobbit”, which was published
in 1937. It sold well, and his publisher asked for another book
about Hobbits. Tolkien started writing “The Lord of the Rings”
around that time, and, after delays necessitated by the Second
World War, it was completed 12 years later. Then it languished
for several years as various publishers rejected the project as
being too lengthy and too risky. Finally, in 1954, “The Fellowship
of the Ring” and “The Two Towers” were published, followed by
“The Return of the King”a year later. The trilogy was a phenomenal
success. In spite of his newfound fame, Tolkien continued his
modest life in academia and retirement until his death in 1973.

The Film
Not unlike the original publisher of the books, New Line Cinema
has taken an enormous risk by financing the production of all
three films in one stroke. At a total cost of $300 million – a
financial hole that may sink the company if the project fails
– it’s not surprising that there is an army of ancillary products
to bolster the bottom line. There are action figures from ToyBiz;
busts from Sideshow; toys from Burger King; posters, trading cards,
ceramic mugs, ornaments – even a special edition DVD player. Check
out the New Line Cinema
online store for all the latest offerings. If you’re a “Lord of
the Rings” fan, there’s a bonanza of collectibles out there.

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