The Return of the King (1980 film)
- The Return of the King (1980 film)
name = The Return of the King
caption = DVD cover
director = Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
producer = Jules Bass
writer = Romeo Muller
starring = Orson Bean
music = Maury Laws
distributor = American Broadcasting Company
released = flagicon|US May 11, 1980
runtime = 98 min.
country = U.S.A.
language = English
amg_id = 1:41095
imdb_id = 0079802
"The Return of the King" is an animated adaptation of the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien which was released by Rankin/Bass as a TV special in 1980. It has since been released on VHS and DVD.
The film was created by the same team which had worked on the 1977 animated version of "The Hobbit".
Orson Bean returned as the voice of the older Bilbo Baggins, as well as that of the story's hero, Frodo Baggins.
John Huston was back as well, as the wizard Gandalf, and co-starring with them were: William Conrad as Denethor, Roddy McDowall as Samwise Gamgee, Theodore Bikel as Aragorn the King himself, and reprising his darkly spoken role of Gollum was the grumpily dangerous Brother Theodore. Rankin/Bass stalwart Paul Frees replaced Cyril Ritchard as the voice of Elrond; Casey Kasem, best known for his role as Shaggy in Hanna-Barbera's "Scooby-Doo", was Merry with Sonny Melendrez as Pippin; Nellie Bellflower as Éowyn; and Glenn Yarbrough returned as principal vocalist, billed here as simply "the Minstrel of Gondor".
Rather than picking up where Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" had left off in 1978, Rankin-Bass present "The Return of the King" as a sequel to their 1977 adaptation of "The Hobbit" — giving the audience an ultra-brief recap of the events ("Frodo and his friends had many exciting adventures before arriving in Mordor."), and adapting a few story events from "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers," while leaving out some major details. The visual style of "The Return of the King" is largely shared with the 1977 "Hobbit", including, for example, the depiction of battle as a swarm of black dots milling around and quickly covered by huge clouds of dust.
The animated "Return of the King" is available on DVD from Warner Bros., both individually and as a "boxed trilogy" with the Rankin/Bass "Hobbit" and Bakshi's "The Lord of the Rings".
* [http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/tolkien/return-of-the-king.html Screen captures from the CED edition.] Also features links to galleries of screen captures from other Tolkien animated films.
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