Sunday, 17 March 2019

Noel Appleby - the average, archetypal hobbit

Two of my favourite scenes from the movie version of Lord of the Rings involve the actor Noel Appleby (credited as Everard Proudfoot) playing an un-named hobbit whose archetypal character frames the action of the film between the arrival of Gandalf and the return of the four hero hobbits after the quest.

Watch from 3:40:


This is really excellent directing and acting; because these little scenes carry a great deal of weight.

Due to the story cuts involved in making the screenplay - these brief visual statements were needed to illustrate what the average hobbit thought about wizards, magic and the like at the beginning.

And, at the end, Mr Appleby had to show - quickly and effectively - that life in The Shire had not been at all affected by the War of the Ring. (In the movie version, not the book). And that Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Sam were regarded as just a bunch of prodigals returned; whose clothes and manners all-too-obviously showed our Everyman hobbit that the 'heroes' had developed much too high an opinion of themselves.

As Tolkien himself said - and embodied in the text - most hobbits would be pretty uninteresting to live among. Sam was the closest of the four adventurers to the average type; but his character was raised and ennobled by his fascination with elves and wonders - and his aspiration for 'higher things'.

Take that away - and you get Everard of the Proudfoots... or should I say Proud-feet?

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