Fans of whacked-out animation and rotoscoping will surely know the name Ralph Bakshi, the underground genius who gave the world such grown-up cartoons as Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Wizards. In 1978, he made a version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that is alternately loved and derided by fans of the source material. It included much of the first two novels in a 132-minute version (The Return of the King was later made by Rankin/Bass, who also did an hour-long version of The Hobbit).
Now, Bakshi’s son Eddie has restored short deleted clips from this film for fans of hand-drawn cell animation, and of Bakshi’s unique interpretation of the classic epic, according to Boing Boing. Each scene is only about ten seconds in length, and of course has no sound, but it’s a glimpse into the inner workings of a misunderstood pioneer in independent animation. They depict Gandalf battling the Balrog and, as the above shot, look very different from the finished product.
This represents months of work on the part of Eddie, who has taken it upon himself to comb through his father’s archives and share any little gems he discovers with the world via the internet. The second one was posted to the official Ralph Bakshi Facebook page back in October, and the first just a few weeks back.
As you can see, Bakshi ultimately went a different direction with his Gandalf versus Balrog memory scene, choosing his now-infamous rotoscoped creature:
We don’t know about you, but we’d love to see more of what’s in Ralph Bakshi’s vault. Have you seen this or any other of Bakshi’s films? Tell us about your favorites below!