Jump to content


Photo

Howard's Conan Vs. Conan On Film


  • Please log in to reply
127 replies to this topic

#1 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 06 November 2011 - 03:35 PM

This is a subject that has gotten a lot of traction of the years, especially in regards to the Milius film, but to the best of my knowledge it’s never been given its own thread. I'm creating this thread to specifically explore the question "but did they get the character right"?, using the original Howard stories - and only the original Howard stories - as our standard. What did they get right, and what did they get wrong, and how do these film incarnations compare with each other? All film incarnations are open to discussion, the Arnold films, Conan20111, Rolf Moeller series, even the cartoons, but I would ask that we don't let the discussion get bogged down by discussing a particular film's cinematic merits. There are plenty of threads already devoted to that topic.

I'm going to start off by discussing, you guessed it, Conan2011, but since it would be quite a waste of my time to rewrite a bunch of stuff I already wrote, I'm going to move some of my previous remarks, both here and on "The Blog that Time Forgot", onto this thread.

In my opinion, Conan2011 is the first film based on a REH franchise that manages to get the character right. Here we have a Conan with a sinister countenance, who is ethnically "Celtic", who is behaves like he is supremely confident in his own abilities, who is openly contemptuous of soft and weak civilized folk, who doesn't act like a buffoon when he drinks, who's fast and agile like a panther, who doesn't pray to Crom and doesn't believe in Valhalla, who exhibits an unorthodox fighting style, who kills Picts and sails with pirates, who's able to enunciate, who would rather die than submit to slavery, who would never grovel before his enemies, who honed his physique and his fighting skills naturally, who was present at the battle of Venarium and climbed the Elephant Tower while his clone in a alternate universe was pushing a wheel around, who inhabits a world where the difference between "barbaric" and "civilized" cultures is clearly defined (as opposed to a proto Dark Ages Milieu where every culture is perpetually stuck somewhere in between), who can do things like steal a priest's robe in order to infiltrate the bad guy's lair and not get caught, who doesn't get all doe-eyed every time a woman shows some interest in him...

Taranaich: Conan's "no man should live in chains" mantra strongly suggests that Conan's anti-slavery. So why does he insist on not only calling Tamara his property, but treating her like his property? He even ties her up and gags her. Maybe he's just taking it literally, implying that no men should live in chains, but women were perfectly fine: after all, he did get Lucius killed through proxies, saying that "I wouldn't kill you".

The problem with the Zingaran Slave Colony scene, from my perspective, is the line "no man should live in chains", as it gives one the impression that Conan is some sort of altruist who is out to liberate slaves. But without that line, the scene works just fine for me, as I have no problem with the notion of Conan and his pirate buddies attacking a slave colony IN ORDER TO STEAL FROM THEM, telling the male slaves to take a hike (as opposed to taking responsibility for them), and giving the hot female slaves the OPTION of sailing with them if they choose to. I don't recall any of the women being forced onto the ship at sword point. I realize that you described this scene as "appalling", and you feel that it's completely out of character, as is his treatment of Tamara, but this is one of the points that I most strongly disagree with you, and I think there's plenty of precedent to be found in the REH stories. In Xuthal of the Dusk, Conan "appropriated" Natala and she "had nothing to say in the matter". At the end of "The Devil in Iron", Octavia clearly and unambiguously says "NO!", and Conan responds by just grabbing her and making out with her until she gives in, even though she was clearly fighting back (in our modern age such behavior would likely get you slapped with a sexual assault charge, but we, the readers, are supposed to be okay with it because we're supposed to take from it that Octavia was really into him and was just playing hard to get, but I digress). Finally, in People of the Black Circle, Conan had every intention of keeping Yasmina "as his woman", against her will, and telling her that she had "no choice in the matter" before circumstances intervened. By my own moral standards, I don't agree with any such behavior, but I'm perfectly okay with Conan exhibiting this kind of behavior because that's part of his character, nor do I confuse Conan's attitude on the opposite sex with that of his creator, whose own attitudes, btw, seemed to evolve and mellow after dating Novalyne Price. The problem that I have with this is what I perceive as cherry picking the original source material to claim that this is out of character. As for the sex slaves in the Zingaran slave colony, REH described many slave women who served as leading ladies in Conan adventures. More often than not, REH focused on how unbelievably hot they were more so than how their predicament in life had beaten them down. I seriously doubt that sex slaves who suddenly found themselves free would have many options open to them than to become "bar wenches", but IMO the blame would have to go more on the harsh realities of the civilized world rather than on the actions of a few pirates.

...and since I'm on the subject of the film's characterization, Al, I might as well address some other comments you made over on conanthemovieblog regarding Conan's interrogation of Lucius, which you found to be dishonorable and out of character. Crossplain Pilgrim agreed with you, adding "He (Conan) would certainly never set the poor sap up with an ugly death at any hands but his own." Well Pilgrim, my copy of "Maneaters of Zamboula" disagrees with you, but I digress. As you can probably surmise already, Al, I disagree with you that such behavior is out of character for Conan, and I can cite instances from the original REH stories that in my opinion are far more dishonorable. But before that, I would just point out that Lucius was an active participant in the slaughter of Conan's village, and one of Zym's top lieutenants. There was no possible way that Conan was going to let him walk out of that prison alive, no matter what he tried to say or do to get himself out of it. Likely, Lucius behavior in the prison is one of the reasons Conan let the mob have him rather than kill him personally. Instead of facing his death like a man, he turned into a sniveling RAT in order to save his own skin, exhibiting the worst sort of "civilized" behavior that a barbarian such as Conan would react to with utter contempt. As for Conan's duplicity in his promise "not to kill you", I found his behavior far less amoral than in Pool of the Black One. No, Conan doesn't explicitly say "I promise not to kill you and steal your ship and your woman" to Zaporavo when he agreed to take him on board, but I think there was an implicit understanding as such, just as there is in all employer/employee relationships. [Additionally, Conan did not feel particularly honor-bound to the Pirate code, which required him to first prove his worthiness in battle and then to challenge Zaporavo openly. No, he killed Zaporavo when no one was around. So here we have a case of Conan acting selfishly and dishonorably not just by an average person's standards, but by a pirate's standards as well. Should I point out that Zaporavo did nothing to Conan to deserve this (unlike Lucius)? In Vale of Lost Women, Conan behaves even worse, openly dishonoring a truce that he agreed to only hours before, his justification being that Bajujh would do "the same to him if he had the chance", and that "truces are made to be broken". Is there any doubt in your mind that Lucius would have had the entire Argossean Army after Conan had he let him live?

...and while I'm on the subject, I'd like to take a brief moment to address the whole "torture porn" remarks made by both Leo Grin and Crossplain Pilgrim, which I regard as REH cherry picking at its worst. Comments like that make me wonder whether they've actually ever seen a real torture porn film, and if such remarks were made by anyone else I’d strongly question whether they've ever read REH for that matter. I've seen my share of "Hostels" and other films of the genre, and nothing in Conan2011 is even remotely close to what's out there. And it's not as if REH was shy about adding a few ACTUAL torture scenes in his stories (and by ACTUAL, I mean women getting tied down and beaten with a whip, as opposed a guy getting a finger stuck up his nose hole and pissing on the floor). As for graphic violence, Conan2011 wasn't even on par with Spartacus (or most other premium cable fare, for that matter), and virtually nothing I've read or watched is as graphically violent or disturbing as the opening scene of "Lion of Tiberius" (which, coincidentally, Conan82 is far more similar to thematically than any of REH's Conan stories).

Edited by amsterdamaged, 06 November 2011 - 08:24 PM.

Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#2 thedarkman

thedarkman

    Adventurer

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 394 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ontario, Canada Eh!

Posted 06 November 2011 - 05:04 PM

I still believe that Conan the Barbarian 2011 gave viewers a more Howardian (?) Cimmerian than anything before it. I have not watched Conan '82 uncut for a long time, and I plan on getting both on blu-ray soon. Also, I have only seen CTB 2011 once, and I would feel better about comparing it with the other films after a couple more viewings. I look forward to digging up all the little Howard tidbits in all the films.

#3 elcimmerio

elcimmerio

    Spear Carrier

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 33 posts

Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:17 PM

Great post!

#4 Swiftsteel

Swiftsteel

    Adventurer

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts

Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:31 PM

Agreed - great topic/post - although I would argue that it's pretty hard to respond to without delving into the cinematic merits of the film to one degree or another. Otherwise, all one can do is respond with either a 'Yeah, I agree', or 'No, I don't see it that way' response which doesn't really allow for a full expression of opinion.

For what it's worth - yeah...logically speaking Amsterdamaged is correct - it's hard not to accept that CTB2011 is pretty much a perfect realization (relative to what's been offered to date) of REH's vision. You really can't argue against that. Most of the deciding comparatives were pointed out in his initial post. That said, I have to point out that - from the point of view of someone who really didn't care for the film regardless - that that's a big part of the conundrum for us 'Negative Nelly's'. I actually thought the way the actual character was written was great and I liked Momoa in the part. It was the overall script/story concept it was attached to (and Nispel's godawful technical approach) that still managed to sink it for me. Therein lies a lesson methinks: You can be faithful to something but still muck it up if the way in which you present it is lacking in pretty much every other regard. A good comparison would be the abysmal late-90's 'Tarzan and the Lost City' starring Caspar Van Dien. Likewise, not bad casting truly, and not a bad portrayal of an educated, erudite, yet still vital and primal Tarzan starring in an adventure set in Opar no less, but still ultimately trapped within the confines of what was - by any measure - a pretty mediocre overall film. IMO CTB82 however, while so far removed from REH's Conan as to be unrecognizeable to those who grew up strictly on Howard still trumps this new version in that the writing/presentation was far superior and more engaging. A very, very perplexing state of affairs really, and I'm still trying to process exactly what I think all of this means in terms of how I feel about modern vs. old-school filmmaking, and the ongoing REH vs. 'Pastiche Conan' debate.

So that's my 2 cent's-worth. Apologies if I in any way missed the point of this and strayed too far from the intended thread of discussion.

#5 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:50 PM

So that's my 2 cent's-worth. Apologies if I in any way missed the point of this and strayed too far from the intended thread of discussion.


No problem, I understand where you're coming from, and I'm not the type who is going to acto like a forum Nazi who constantly reminds everyone to stay on topic, I just don't want the discussion to break down to the extent that the original point of it is lost. I understand that most people hate the 2011 and consider it an example of bad filmaking in general, and I've come to terms with that fact.

Great post, btw!
Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#6 monk

monk

    Sword of Crom

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,686 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:nymfc/negril

Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:09 PM

This is a subject that has gotten a lot of traction of the years, especially in regards to the Milius film, but to the best of my knowledge it’s never been given its own thread. I'm creating this thread to specifically explore the question "but did they get the character right"?, using the original Howard stories - and only the original Howard stories - as our standard. What did they get right, and what did they get wrong, and how do these film incarnations compare with each other? All film incarnations are open to discussion, the Arnold films, Conan20111, Rolf Moeller series, even the cartoons, but I would ask that we don't let the discussion get bogged down by discussing a particular film's cinematic merits. There are plenty of threads already devoted to that topic....


Taranaich: Conan's "no man should live in chains" mantra strongly suggests that Conan's anti-slavery. So why does he insist on not only calling Tamara his property, but treating her like his property? He even ties her up and gags her. Maybe he's just taking it literally, implying that no men should live in chains, but women were perfectly fine: after all, he did get Lucius killed through proxies, saying that "I wouldn't kill you".

The problem with the Zingaran Slave Colony scene, from my perspective, is the line "no man should live in chains", as it gives one the impression that Conan is some sort of altruist who is out to liberate slaves. But without that line, the scene works just fine for me, as I have no problem with the notion of Conan and his pirate buddies attacking a slave colony IN ORDER TO STEAL FROM THEM, telling the male slaves to take a hike (as opposed to taking responsibility for them), and giving the hot female slaves the OPTION of sailing with them if they choose to. I don't recall any of the women being forced onto the ship at sword point....


well, I think that if any conclusion can be drawn from the written canon, is that he is sometimes against slavery, depending. for example, he sailed on a boat that had as its merchant mission the acquisition of slaves and he didn't bat an eye about it when he was told that point blank, for example, and as king he had slaves. yet we do find some examples that would seem to indicate he's not that into the concept. he might be situationally against it, but it's not something he would proselytize about too much, he's not a crusader for it's eradication per se, and I wouldn't call abolition a major part of his character or drive. but in this movie characterization it is sort of made to be a big part of him- mr. hood mentions it, and it's one of the pull out lines from the trailer, and it's a line that precedes an inept attack on a slave colony...so I think you not including it is problematic to what follows in your stated opinion. The line is there, and the scene should be viewed in it's entirety rather than cherry picked. If the line is included, then we don't really get a real sense of Howard's Conan.

so the problem you have with the scene actually still stands, because it is included, and it definitely makes Conan out to be some altruistic do-gooder, rather than someone who does a lot of cost benefit analysis for most situations he finds himself in and goes from there, generally tracking to the side of good but with some salting of questionable actions and motivations.

generally speaking I'd say they got a lot closer to the quick than Milius CtB, but they missed a lot and where they really missed was in what this character did or didn't do in the story- the story itself in which Momoa has to act leads this version of Conan away from Howard's realization.

I think Momoa would have been sick in Red Nails, or QotBC or a hybrid story arc blending a few stories together. HE was a great visual for Conan, and at times he nailed the character to type.

There aren't alot of times in Milius CtB that I was like, THERE'S CONAN.
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#7 monk

monk

    Sword of Crom

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,686 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:nymfc/negril

Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:12 PM

to add- Momoa was the high point of this characterization and one of the things I think they got right. minus a few superficial things like hair and eyes and what not. those are all things I would be willing to overlook if the story had rocked. and i pretty much do overlook them even now.
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#8 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 06 November 2011 - 11:22 PM

well, I think that if any conclusion can be drawn from the written canon, is that he is sometimes against slavery, depending. for example, he sailed on a boat that had as its merchant mission the acquisition of slaves and he didn't bat an eye about it when he was told that point blank, for example, and as king he had slaves. yet we do find some examples that would seem to indicate he's not that into the concept. he might be situationally against it, but it's not something he would proselytize about too much, he's not a crusader for it's eradication per se, and I wouldn't call abolition a major part of his character or drive. but in this movie characterization it is sort of made to be a big part of him- mr. hood mentions it, and it's one of the pull out lines from the trailer, and it's a line that precedes an inept attack on a slave colony...so I think you not including it is problematic to what follows in your stated opinion. The line is there, and the scene should be viewed in it's entirety rather than cherry picked. If the line is included, then we don't really get a real sense of Howard's Conan.

so the problem you have with the scene actually still stands, because it is included, and it definitely makes Conan out to be some altruistic do-gooder, rather than someone who does a lot of cost benefit analysis for most situations he finds himself in and goes from there, generally tracking to the side of good but with some salting of questionable actions and motivations.


Yep, you're right. It is cherry-picking on my part. The line is included in the film so you can't just pretend like it didn't happen. Not only was it out of character, it just didn't work with the rest of the scene, because, in case anyone missed it, the pirates did rob the colony blind and leave the surviving slaves to fend for themselves (with the exception of the women, of course). Not very altruistic if you ask me. Plus there's the obvious fact that if your stated goal is to free slaves, it doesn't make much sense to roll boulders at them. On the other hand, if you're a pirate whose primary objective is to steal, and you don't really care if some innocent slaves get crushed in the process, then rolling boulders at them seems like a pretty good strategy. It's funny how one little line of dialogue can mess up an entire scene.

For the record, I don't think this was the greatest film ever. There were plot holes that King Kong could climb through. I really didn't have a problem with the cinematography, the action scenes or most of the performances, though. I think the film would benefit greatly if it were recut to fix problems like the aforementioned, and if it were given a new soundtrack. A little birdie involved in the film told me a while back that Nispel was shut out of the post production process, and that he never even received any direction from him, so not all the blame can fall on his shoulders. As a sword and sorcery film, I'd rate it a few notches higher than The Sword and the Sorceror (which I love, btw, and still think to this day that Talon was more like Conan than either of Arnold's performances), but I'm still willing to give it a lot of bonus points because they got the character right in my humble opinion. Or at least, mostly right.
Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#9 Lunatic

Lunatic

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 865 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:unknown..so unknown

Posted 06 November 2011 - 11:43 PM

The zingaran slave scene was problematic for me. I don´t either see why Conan would save the slaves, just for the good deed of it. (Although I think he probably would somehow more or less involuntarily in a REH inspired story).

Still I swallowed the scene thinking that maybe, there were no other valuable targets in the area for the pirate crew that day. Maybe they just needed some barwenches and new sailors to recruit, and better attack the slavecaravan than the hard working honest villagers nearby. I am sure those pretty ladies got well paid for their services and some tip too. At least they had the choice to go elsewhere...

I thought the movie was awsome, but I guess there were some questionmarks even for me. I will study the DVD when it comes out.

#10 monk

monk

    Sword of Crom

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,686 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:nymfc/negril

Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:12 AM

I think for me one of the frustrating things about this characterization is exactly what you point out- little things that could easily have been fixed without losing the feel of what and where they were going or even deviating from the story they came up with too much. Would have made the story stronger. It makes the additions of lines like "No man should..." just seem completely superfluous and gratuitous. I could see him saying it as King one day, and abolishing institutional slavery after he has Zenobia.

The 2011 characterization is the best we've gotten, Momoa's got the movements and lithe power and even I'd say the right mass, so he's hands down a better Conan that Arnold's blunderer and buffoonery, but we only have two characterizations to compare with Howard's as written. Momoa's like a panther, Arnold is like, I dunno...Garfield lol.

If they wanted to do the slavers scene, no problem, it could have been a really cool scene and obviously Conan has been motivated by a pretty girl plenty of times and put himself at great risk to get a girl or be with them...I mean two words right off the top of my head that would warrant a raid on that slave camp are Alina Puscao, but like you said, having seen her I don't think I'd consider rolling boulders at them as a smart course of action if freeing them were the raison.

It would be great to have Mr. Hood's full blown character map, sheet, whatever jargon you want to apply to it, and then cross reference that for proofs against the Canon, and see how close and how far off he got it and to borrow a term from politics, an oppositional researcher would have done a good job keeping them in line. A few people were scratching heads with the slave stuff when that snippet came out on his blog, about what he boiled Conan down to.

I just really think that like a lot of other very good adaptations that hove to the original works they brought to life they needed a well researched Conan Bible to go to.
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#11 Boot

Boot

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 949 posts

Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:36 AM

I think the fights weren't quite "right" in Conan2011, though. Remember when you first saw Casino Royale (the newest version, with Daniel Craig as Bond). Remember how the fights harkened back to the Connery films with raw energy. It was a huge change from the obviously choreographed Bond fights from Moore to Brosnan. Craig (and the film's fight choreographer--because all movie fights are choreographed--it's just that some look more "real" than others) sold it. Remember the first chase scene in that movie where Bond ran after the bomb maker. The bomb maker's run is a slick example of parkour, while Bond is a tiger let loose in a china store, rough edged, tearing through everything and stopping at nothing to get his man.

Bond had so much energy--so much raw energy that the character is really sold to the audience.

This is how Conan should fight. He should be rough. Untrained but highly experienced. Raw. Powerful. We should see a guy taking Conan's savage blows, and we should see how Conan is just tearing through his enemy's shield.

An unstoppable force of nature--that's how Conan's combat should come across in a film about Conan. Not what we saw in Conan2011, and not quite what we saw in Conan1982.

Let other characters do fancy swordplay from Eastern-inspired martial arts films. Conan should be all about power and pure human strength.

#12 Ironhand

Ironhand

    The Mad Playwright

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,965 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Saint Louis, MO, USA

Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:05 AM

So in this thread we are invited to compare REH's Conan to film Conan.

I could compare two similar scenes, one in CTB 1982, and one in, I think, The Scarlet Citadel.

"Step into this cell and I'll varnish the floor with your brains."
vs
"You killed my mother, you killed my father, you killed my people. Now let me varnish your floor with my tears."

Years ago, I began writing Conan screenplays, because I found it easier than writing erudite essays of literary analysis. So I invite interested parties to read my parody "King Clonan: Clown of Iron", based on Millus' "King Conan: Crown of Iron" as described in AintitCoolNews, which actually liked Milius' script.

In it, I compare and contrast REH's Conan to Milius' Clonan by dropping my best facsimile of REH's Conan into Milius' script, where the two Conans can interact with each other. You can find it at

http://scrollsofiron...ys/ironclon.htm

Enjoy.

Edited by Ironhand, 07 November 2011 - 10:06 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#13 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:58 PM

"Step into this cell and I'll varnish the floor with your brains."
vs
"You killed my mother, you killed my father, you killed my people. Now let me varnish your floor with my tears."


Yep, one of the more egregious examples of Milius getting it completely wrong. Even young Conan, played by Leo Howard, showed more Howardian grit when at the mercy of his enemies.
Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#14 icarus

icarus

    Spear Carrier

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 81 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:41 PM

The scene from the '82 film that I thought had a good Howard feel for the most part was the "Thing in the Crypt" scene. It starts out with Conan on an open steppe outrunning wolves, then he gets in the cave and builds the fire out of flint. Then he gets the sword from the giant skeleton king (it would've been cooler if the skeleton actually fought Conan). After that, he climbs out of the cave, cuts off his chains, and then the scene implies that he goes back down and kills the wolves. I'll admit the scene has a bunch of flaws like Conan clumsily falling into the cave. Also, I could totally see Howard's Conan tearing apart the wolves with his bare hands. But aside from these, I felt the rest of the scene had a good feel and atmosphere.

#15 icarus

icarus

    Spear Carrier

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 81 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:45 PM

I was carefully considering the '82 film, and I'm amazed at how few scenes I could think of that even slightly portrayed the way that the real Conan would have behaved. Even the scenes where they may have gotten an inkling of Conan's character, the circumstances were so completely unHoward that they clouded over any literary merit that they had in the first place.

#16 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 07 November 2011 - 06:39 PM

The one scene in Conan82 that has the most Howardin feel IMO is the crucifixion scene, but that's no surprise, since it's taken practically verbatim from A Withch Shall Be Born. Too bad that the scenes immediately proceeding it and following it makes the entire sequence of event decidedly non-Howardian.

Edit: I have no idea why the text suddenly got a lot smaller. This new forum "upgrade" sux!

Edited by amsterdamaged, 08 November 2011 - 12:07 AM.

Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#17 Lunatic

Lunatic

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 865 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:unknown..so unknown

Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:20 PM

A good comparison would be the abysmal late-90's 'Tarzan and the Lost City' starring Caspar Van Dien. Likewise,
So that's my 2 cent's-worth. Apologies if I in any way missed the point of this and strayed too far from the intended thread of discussion.


Tarzan is a very good comparison. Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan, is a favourite movie of mine.

The wolf chasing scene and the finding of the Atlantean sword is a favourite scene in 82´Conan for me. But we were more easily impressed in the 1980´s as far as martial arts and swordhandling movies. I think Arnold moved qutie well for a 1000 pound austrian. Tearing a pack of wolves apart with bare hands? No, that is just your *** talking. ;)

#18 thedarkman

thedarkman

    Adventurer

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 394 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ontario, Canada Eh!

Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:52 PM

The scene from the '82 film that I thought had a good Howard feel for the most part was the "Thing in the Crypt" scene. It starts out with Conan on an open steppe outrunning wolves, then he gets in the cave and builds the fire out of flint. Then he gets the sword from the giant skeleton king (it would've been cooler if the skeleton actually fought Conan). After that, he climbs out of the cave, cuts off his chains, and then the scene implies that he goes back down and kills the wolves. I'll admit the scene has a bunch of flaws like Conan clumsily falling into the cave. Also, I could totally see Howard's Conan tearing apart the wolves with his bare hands. But aside from these, I felt the rest of the scene had a good feel and atmosphere.


I agree this was a neat scene, even if is was based on de Camp/Carter pastiche, but good pastiche, IMO. It drove me nuts when Conan curses "Crom!" in the presence of the skeleton/king, and all my uneducated buddies thought the corpse on the throne was Crom himself!

Edited by thedarkman, 07 November 2011 - 07:58 PM.


#19 icarus

icarus

    Spear Carrier

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 81 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:15 PM


The scene from the '82 film that I thought had a good Howard feel for the most part was the "Thing in the Crypt" scene. It starts out with Conan on an open steppe outrunning wolves, then he gets in the cave and builds the fire out of flint. Then he gets the sword from the giant skeleton king (it would've been cooler if the skeleton actually fought Conan). After that, he climbs out of the cave, cuts off his chains, and then the scene implies that he goes back down and kills the wolves. I'll admit the scene has a bunch of flaws like Conan clumsily falling into the cave. Also, I could totally see Howard's Conan tearing apart the wolves with his bare hands. But aside from these, I felt the rest of the scene had a good feel and atmosphere.


I agree this was a neat scene, even if is was based on de Camp/Carter pastiche, but good pastiche, IMO. It drove me nuts when Conan curses "Crom!" in the presence of the skeleton/king, and all my uneducated buddies thought the corpse on the throne was Crom himself!


Haha I remember thinking the same thing myself when I was younger.

#20 amster

amster

    Maladjusted to the point of pychosis

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,219 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Outside the ordered universe, where the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity.

Posted 08 November 2011 - 12:12 AM


The scene from the '82 film that I thought had a good Howard feel for the most part was the "Thing in the Crypt" scene. It starts out with Conan on an open steppe outrunning wolves, then he gets in the cave and builds the fire out of flint. Then he gets the sword from the giant skeleton king (it would've been cooler if the skeleton actually fought Conan). After that, he climbs out of the cave, cuts off his chains, and then the scene implies that he goes back down and kills the wolves. I'll admit the scene has a bunch of flaws like Conan clumsily falling into the cave. Also, I could totally see Howard's Conan tearing apart the wolves with his bare hands. But aside from these, I felt the rest of the scene had a good feel and atmosphere.


I agree this was a neat scene, even if is was based on de Camp/Carter pastiche, but good pastiche, IMO. It drove me nuts when Conan curses "Crom!" in the presence of the skeleton/king, and all my uneducated buddies thought the corpse on the throne was Crom himself!


It was all in the delivery by Arnold. The correct reaction should have been shock and surprise at the sight of a skeleton seemingly moving on it's own accord, "Crom!" being the Cimmerian equivalent to "Oh sh!t!!" Instead, because of the delivery, "Crom" ended up being the Cimmerian equivalent to "Aw shucks...!"
Posted Image
Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--