It’d be similar to how George McFly reacted to Darth Vader and Van Halen in Back to the Future. (Here’s what came up when I did a YouTube search on the scene in question - it’s much funnier this way.)
I’d imagine the films would have gone over quite well.The 1950s,besides being a decade of great artistic achievement, was also the decade of longer films to counter-program television (although Gone With the Wind in the late 1930s was an exception. Besides,when I was growing up in the 1960s, reading the books was a rite of passage.
My understanding is that Cecil B DeMille’s parting of the Red Sea in “The 10 Commandments” is still regarded as one of the great special effects and that was done in the 1950s.
Not true. I went and saw “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” multiple times in the theatres.
I think a lot of the reason people don’t appreciate that is that we mostly don’t consciously realize that those were effects at all (which, of course, is the mark of a truly well-done special effect). The forced-perspective in particular: Everyone knows, of course, that the actors playing the hobbits were the same size as the actors playing humans. Except that it’s so easy to forget that, while watching the movie: Frodo just looks Frodo-sized, and Gandalf just looks Gandalf-sized.
Of course, Hollywood insiders at the time would have recognized it. And while they would understand the basic principles used, I think they would have still recognized it as a masterful use of those principles. It would have been very difficult to do it at that time, both because of budget limitations, and because even a lot of the practical effects were computer-coordinated.
What if The Lord Of The Rings had been made in the 1940’s?
You mean by someone else?
“We represent the Hobbiton Guild, The Hobbiton Guild, The Hobbiton Guild
And in the name of the Hobbiton Guild,
We wish to welcome you to The Shire.”
“I’ll get my pretty, and your little companion too!”
“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Hobbiton anymore…”
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Baggins shows up in mine.”
“I am shocked, shocked to find out there is pipeweed smoking going on here!”
“Treebeard, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Don’t bet on it. Edgar Rice Burroughs had been peddling Tarzan merchandise, and John F. Dille had been peddling Buck Rogers merchandise, at least since the 1930s, and probably earlier.