Ridley Scott's "Legend" - 1985

Years ago, I saw a minute or two of a movie which intrigued me, but forgot all about it until yesterday. Using the magic of Google, I was able to find out that the bit was from the movie Legend, from 1985. A Ridley Scott film, no less!

I saw on IMDB that it wasn’t highly rated. But I watched several clips on youtube and I appreciated what was good about it: eerie Ridley Scott sets and bizarre, horrifying costumes. And of course, most of all, Tim Curry as “Darkness”.

I had forgotten what a non-CGI horror/fantasy film looked like, almost.

Curry’s performance was quite brilliant. There’s no one to top him in the frightening, obscene villain roles. Remembering the bit I had seen of him years ago, I was certain that it was Lou Gossett in the role, but I was wrong. That makeup was intense.

Someday I’ll watch the whole film. Maybe I’ll speed through the parts with Tom Cruise.

I always found Legend to be a great-looking movie (Mia Sara is particularly lovely) but the plot drags and drags.

I’ll second Sefton. Legend is right up there with Ron Howard’s ***Willow ***as a movie that is a pleasure to watch…with the sound turned off. Tim Curry is the one redeeming feature.

That was an interesting period (mid to late 80s) when we saw quite a few fantasy movies that allowed directors to stretch their abilities. Unfortunately, the screenwriters and actors were often not up to the challenge.

I do think it’s worth watching though, if only to give some consideration to exactly what went wrong.

Aye; I walked out of the theatre saying “If Tim Curry had been the only spoken dialogue, this would have been a fantastic film!”

IIRC, this had at least 2 versions; one version had a Jerry Goldsmith score and the other Tangerine Dream.

I’ve never seen the “director’s cut,” but it’s 25 minutes longer than the theatrical release. Hard to imagine it could make a significant difference in terms of entertainment value.

Also worthy of mention is the performance of David Bennent in the role of “Gump.” One of the greatest child actors ever, Mr. Bennent had previously appeared in The Tin Drum (1979) and the little known* Dog Day* (1984), undoubtedly Lee Marvin’s most obscure film. Mr. Bennent excels in all three movies and it is unfortunate more vehicles for his talents did not materialize in his teen years.

Curry’s awesome, of course, the bit where they bake the miscreant in a pie is cool, and the rest is pretty bad. I’ve heard the extended version is great, but who knows.

I’ve always enjoyed this film in large part due to Tim Curry. It’s a damn shame he never won or was even nominated for an Academy Award. He was nominated numerous times for the Emmies, but the only one he won for was Outstanding Performer in A Children Series for Peter Pan and the Pirates in 1991. In 2012, he had a stroke and is now in a wheelchair. It’s such damn shame; he’s a really great actor. He really deserved more recognition for his work.

Legend has a lot of amazing elements, including the casting, the visuals, and the portrayal of Darkness, but the story is a bit lacklustre, even amongst 80s fantasy movies. I believe the US version had a crappy synth soundtrack, but the one I saw and own has a beautiful orchestral one.

Tom Cruise is fine in it. It was before he was especially famous, and he commits to its weirdness with his usual zeal.

I like it. The song during the end credits is crap, but otherwise I never had any issue with the film. It’s light fare, doesn’t feel any urgency, keeps an even tone, builds a consistent vision, and has a reasonable story. That’s nothing to complain about.

Granted, I grew up with it and so maybe that factors in, and I wouldn’t call any of Legend, The Labyrinth, nor Willow a great film, but they’re all perfectly enjoyable. The one that, I think, didn’t quite work right was The Dark Crystal. Somehow that one just fails to gel properly.

In a sense, I actually prefer the style of those three movies than the modern big production fantasies (e.g., Harry Potter). They were made with a bit more heart and a lot less studio oversight and committee-based guidance. And they were made to be what they are, versus the new movies which are trying to compress hundreds of pages of material down into a single film which, sure, makes them faster but it also makes them have no real plot. It’s all just clips of some moments from the book, without the bit that strings them together.

Unfortunately, we probably still will never see a genuinely good non-high fantasy film*, since the slow death of the film market is making original content impossible for a high production value film. Avatar is, likely, the closest we have in modern day and that’s only half-ish fantasy.

  • And they had to issue extended versions of the Lord of the Rings films in order to actually fit some dialogue in there, so I’d argue that there’s still never been a proper mainstream release of a fantasy film that properly suited the medium without having to resort to special effects, nostalgia, and fandom to keep everyone from noticing the scaffolding to keep it all standing.

Yes, I was impressed with him as well. He seemed so mature and professional that at first I thought he was a grown-up little person, and not a child.

Also noteworthy: the icky Meg Mucklebones character was portrayed by Robert Picardo (the holographic doctor from Star Trek: Voyager). That was not only him in the elaborate costume, but that was his voice as well.

And I liked the woman who played Oona the fairy. She seemed very other-worldly and just right for the part.

The Wikipedia is saying that he was 19…

Wow, he looked about ten or eleven years old.

I actually liked the Tangerine Dream with Jon Anderson (of Yes) vocals. The movie was visually very impressive.