I wish I could remember the first time I saw “Legend”, but I am positive it was in a theatre. I can’t imagine me missing the opportunity to see a film that included faeries and unicorns. I am assuming it was a mind-blowing experience. Perhaps that’s why I can’t remember it. But I can honestly say that the novelty hasn’t worn off after all these years. I still get goosebumps and tear up every time I watch it.
The film stars a young Tom Cruise who now, sadly does not seem to want to be associated with it for reasons that I cannot as yet determine. Rosie O’Donnell mentioned it to him in an interview years ago and he seemed embarrassed by it, which is a shame as it’s an amazing work and remains one of my favorite films.
Director Ridley Scott created a world filled with magick and wonder the likes of which we’d not seen before. Released in 1985, they did not have the technology that exists today and for that, hardcore fans are extremely grateful. Many feel that the film simply would not have been the same, had it been created with the help of CGI rather than the elaborate makeup, costumes, lighting, and set design that made the movie so amazing.
There were 2 different versions of the film. The Directors Cut and what has been dubbed the “US Version” ( or “Theatrical Version” ), which is 52 minutes shorter. Some say that Ridley Scott was told by studio execs that “Americans will NEVER sit through a 2.5 hour film.”, a comment that sounds ridiculous when one considers that the theatrical release of “Lord of the Rings – the Fellowship of the Ring” runs 178 minutes. However, the truth is that comments made by some of the audience members at one of the initial screenings caused Scott to second-guess himself and make drastic cuts to the film.
There are also 2 scores. The original was done by Jerry Goldsmith. The US Version contained the score by Tangerine Dream, which was completed in just three weeks. Again, the original score was replaced after initial test screenings. Interestingly enough, I prefer what Tangerine Dream brought to the film. It has been said that if they could pair that score with the Directors Cut, they would have the perfect film. I tend to agree.
I was extremely thrilled to add the 2 disc special edition of “Legend” to my DVD collection. It presents a world where Faeries and Humans live side by side, minus the “fluffy bunny, airy fairy” attitude. Scott initially brought in Alan Lee as a visual consultant, which further explains the film’s appeal, at least to me. Although Lee was eventually replaced, one look at Meg Mucklebones and you can’t help but acknowledge his influence.
Nell even warns Lili about the Faeries as she’s leaving the cottage.
“You stay clear of Spring Banshee’s my dear. These woods be thick with ‘em. Stay clear of toadstool rings, and willow trees, and old oaks.”
Lili, of course, skips off giggling and waves away her concerns. Little does she know…
The biggest draw for me is that this story utilizes Celtic Faerie Folklore (intentional or otherwise) and thus the story is believable to those of us who Believe. The characters seem to jump off the pages of the books in my library, taking me on a journey that is both intriguing and frightening.