Recently I realized that this has, in fact, become one of my favorite movies. The many blemishes of the movie only seem to add to its charm, for me.
To my knowledge, Rankin/Bass features never aired on Swedish TV nor saw Swedish dubs (the closest being a dramatized radio version of the Rankin/Bass Hobbit). Thankfully my brother imported a DVD and so I was, for the first time, exposed to this version of The Hobbit in my mid-teens.
On first viewing my reaction to the movie was lukewarm but it spurred me to at last read the book. By the power of comparison, my underwhelmed reaction to the book actually made me appreciate the Rankin/Bass version all the more. I had been told that Tolkien's The Hobbit was written as a fairy tale, but the format was too dry and meandering (despite how little these sins are committed compared to Tolkien's later books) for me to extract any pleasure from it. The magic and light reading I associate with "fairy tales" was not there...but it was there aplenty in the 1977 animated feature.
Much as I like expressing my inability to enjoy the books by Tolkien (while also acknowledging their deserved spots in literary history), I did also have apprehensions towards the Rankin/Bass movie. The aesthetic was alien to me and the limitations in the animations and paintings incessantly reminded me "this is not Disney quality". However by the miracle of the exposure effect I was able to let go off my old biases. The bitter disappointment that was The Hobbit trilogy no doubt contributed to me retreating back to the animated movie over and over again, fueling my fondness of it.
What spurs me to create this thread is, you guessed it, version differences and unused material.
It came to my attention that the original version includes more sound effects than the DVD release. In short, the DVD version favors fewer sfx when the songs play. In most cases I prefer that the sounds were omitted for the restoration but I love knowing about these changes.
Listening to the official soundtrack reveals an unused track and unheard verses. Sometimes a verse may not be heard because there is dialogue on top, other times the movie may omit a verse.
Here is the song that went completely unused.
Feel free to share any thoughts and/or observations you have regarding the movie.