• Keith Mathison

The Lord of the Rings: A Golden Age of Hollywood Cast


I think about strange things sometimes, and recently one of those strange things was a question concerning the Lord of the Rings films. I was thinking about who I might cast if I could cast only actors and actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood (pre–1960). There are so many greats to choose from. With a good bit of help from my lovely wife (and now also with the help of some readers), I have tentatively settled on the following cast.


Thomas Mitchell as Frodo Baggins


Burgess Meredith as Samwise Gamgee


Alastair Sim as Gandalf


Henry Travers as Bilbo Baggins


Cary Grant as Aragorn


Ray Bolger as Merry


Donald O'Connor as Pippin


Tony Curtis as Legolas


Walter Matthau as Gimli


Errol Flynn as Boromir


Montgomery Clift as Elrond


Gene Tierney as Galadriel


Laurence Olivier as Theoden


Gary Cooper as Eomer


Ingrid Bergman as Eowyn


The Talking Tree from The Wizard of Oz as Treebeard


Okay, I'm kidding about this one. However . . . when it comes to the voice of Treebeard, since James Earl Jones wasn't working in the Golden Age of Hollywood, what about . . .


Max von Sydow as Treebeard (voice)


Lionel Barrymore as Denethor


Paul Newman as Faramir


Jimmy Stewart as Beregond


Vivien Leigh as Arwen


Oliver Hardy as Barliman Butterbur


Joan Blondell as Rosie Cotton


Marie Dressler as Lobelia Sackville-Baggins


Barry Fitzgerald as the Gaffer


And since my imaginary film version will include the Old Forest:


Edmund Gwenn as Tom Bombadil


Grace Kelly as Goldberry


And last, but not least, the villains . . .


Basil Rathbone as Saruman


Peter Lorre as Gollum


John Carradine as Bill Ferny


Lon Chaney as Wormtongue


Boris Karloff as the Witch King/Lord of the Nazgûl


Bela Lugosi as Sauron


So, what do you think? Do you have better suggestions for any or all of the above roles?