The Hobbit Cartoon from the 1970s

I stumbled across The Hobbit cartoon adaption from the 70’s the other day on YouTube and just had to watch it. I remember seeing this on television when I was a kid and being absolutely creeped out by it. I’m not sure what really got to me, but I think it was the dark colors in the animation and the part with Gollum. I’ll be honest and tell you I felt a tad reluctant to watch it, even now, but I decided to give it a try and see if it really was creepy or I was just a wussy kid. Plus, I’m currently reading The Hobbit and am looking forward to the live action movie in a few years.

I did watch it, and guess what? I only made it about five minutes into it and had to turn it off. I was a bit creeped out by it. Having read the book, I’m not sure why they went with a dark, melancholy tone, right from the start. Maybe that was the trend, maybe I am viewing it differently than everyone else, or maybe I’m a wuss.

Anyhow, here is Part 1 of The Hobbit. Let me know what you think.

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19 thoughts on “The Hobbit Cartoon from the 1970s

  1. I don’t find it particularly creepy.
    I have also read the book (in Hungarian) and it’s a good find to hear it now in English. I don’t understand every word unfortunately :(((, but I like the flow and rhythm when original Tolkien parts are included.

    Re darkness: I think it was part of a trend back then.
    I would not say ‘creepy’. It’s rather ‘ugly’ in my book.
    Poor Bilbo has such an unfortunate face for example.

    That the dwarfs are ugly-faced is another issue, though. Tolkien clearly states that not all dwarves are right-mannered and kind.

    According to Tolkien, what is the plural of dwarf, btw?

  2. Yeh, that’s creepy. You nailed it. I had completely forgotten about this version. EEGHADS!

    But then I admit that I seldom like film versions of books, good books, that is. There are some notable exceptions. I thought “Clueless” was an amazing modernization of Austen’s “Emma.” But that is the exception.

  3. SzélsőFa – yeah, that was probably common back then. in the present they might make it too kid friendly. as far as the plural of dwarf according to tolkien? i’m guessing dwarves, but i will have to try to track that down tonight.

    writinggb – at least i’m not the only one. 🙂 i also normally don’t like the film version of books, but there are exceptions.

  4. I’ve not seen it before, but I’m a sucker for the calligraphy at the start. Too creepy for my kids. I didn’t even know this had been produced in the 70’s! Thank goodness for U tube, you can find all sorts of gems.
    Cheers

  5. Maddy – I did like the opening shot of the calligraphy and the book. Also, I am in the minority in dorkitude for not liking this 100%. I think I screwed it up for myself by watching it when I was little.

  6. Hello.
    I actualy bought this dvd because i´m into animation and fantasy stuff. I was not completely chocked by the graphic style in this animation because i was prepared for it. I´m a big fan of another fantasy animation from the same authors, a little unkown movie called “The Flight of Dragons” and so i was expecting this version of The Hobbit to have the same look.
    And altough i´m not particulary impressed by it i have to say that this Hobbit version is not that bad. It´s weird…but it´s a weirdness that actualy works here in some strange way.
    This same authors have made another Tolkien animated movie with The Return of The King and that one was really bad. The Hobbit has most of its story reduced but Return of The King had changes wich wer simply ridiculous.

    I wouldn´t recommend to everyone to go out and buy this Hobbit animation but if you´re into Tolkien and would like to see the story that precedes the Lord of the Rings i guess you could do worse than getting this dvd, (if cheap).

    But that´s just my opinion, altough i have to say that visualy i never got this graphic style from these authors wich i find very sad looking because of the dull colors.

    Anyway cool blog, and plugging my own fantasy work, if you like this type of thing take a look at my http://www.ziphcomics.com

  7. I didn’t watch it in the 70’s. I saw it in the early 80’s (when I was a bit older) and liked it. Looking at it now, I know what you mean, but I still have fond memories of having watched it then, and I felt the magic in it, at the time. The darkness of the live-action movies, now that was something I was not prepared for (such evil looking and being creatures, and so many battles), having only seen this cartoon prior, and not having read the books.

  8. I’ve not seen this before but I didn’t find it creepy – a bit “twee” and “cutesy” rather. I can’t say it does much for me though. I remember reading the book in about 1972 or 73 – we had it as our class setwork book and we all loved it, so much so that most of us went straight on to read Lord of the Rings – and that was very dark and creepy – I gave up on it halfway through. But The Hobbit I totally loved – even though it too had dark moments. But I suppose if you’re writing about good vs evil you can’t avoid that. One of the girls in my class was so taken by it that she went on and did her university thesis on The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Tolkien per se.

  9. Absolute Vanilla – see for me Lord of the Rings (the book) was dark, but I controlled the images. you can’t do that with cartoon. i suppose i’ve always been a bit creeped out by this type of animation.

  10. I think I have been spoiled by the wonderful ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy movies. A cartoon from so long ago can’t help but look a bit amateur-hour although I’m sure in it’s day it was fine. I never read the books so my idea of what the hobbits look like is entirely down to the films and with the best will in the world, they don’t look right in that cartoon!

  11. Wow, I’d forgotten about this. I remember watching it when I was about ten and enjoying it. I was already a big fan of the book at that point.

    I was a little creeped out and scared, but it didn’t keep me from watching it. I had watched The Flight of the Dragons, mentioned above, many many times before seeing this, so I was probably used to the animation style.

    The Flight of the Dragons and The Last Unicorn, both by the same guy, are fantastic.

  12. I watched this version when I was probably much too young to be watching it… and as a result had avoided it like the plague ever since. It also was the reason why I avoided reading the books until required in school later on. But while this version is too creepy for a small child, I definitely enjoyed the books and the latest movies much more.

  13. We actually have this and The Lord of the Rings on tape. We just need The Return of the King now. I watched them over and over when I was a kid, and we just picked up copies a few years ago. I don’t know either why they chose to go so dark in the beginning, but it fits well with the mood of the rest of the story.

  14. This is honestly my favorite movie of all time. I’m a huge book fan and this is the one time that a movie has ever captured a book in all its entirety. I read fantasy and am a huge Tolkien fan and I can’t see this movie ever being topped. The main reason that this movie is so good is Smaug. The directors decided that they needed to make Smaug an enemy first and a dragon second. Thanks for listening and I hope that Peter Jackson’s hobbit will be as good if not better, although I doubt it.

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