Friday, June 20, 2008
Friday Film Night:: Ladyhawke
This Friday at The Pink Heart Society Modern Heat Author Natalie Anderson is here to tell us about Ladyhawke...
Choosing a movie for tonight turned out to be surprisingly easy – I went with Ladyhawke – the one and only movie I own on DVD. I found it in the bargain DVD bin at the supermarket not long ago. I’d loved it as a teenager and guess what – I still love it! (It’s not that I think it’s the greatest movie ever made by the way, but I hadn’t seen it in ages and just scooped it up with the shopping – and with all the kids and the writing, I don’t get to the movies much so this was a quick pick).
Ladyhawke is basically a medieval paranormal fantasy, romance and battle of good against evil set to the most appalling 80s soundtrack ever composed – but don’t let that put you off! The music makes me giggle actually, which is a good way to get you in the mood for some fun I guess, because the movie opens with ‘Phillipe the Mouse’s’ escape from the ‘inescapable’ dungeons of Aquila and Phillipe has some really funny lines. Alas for Phillipe (a young Mathew Broderick in fine form) the city’s soldiers catch up with him but then he’s rescued by a Knight dressed all in black. Cue lots of sword play and firing of arrows (it does get a little gory at times actually).
Phillipe is pretty much stuck with the black Knight then – something he’s a little uncomfortable with – especially when the Knight offers very little info re who he is, where he’s from and what he’s wanting. Mr Strong Silent Type all round he is. Over the next couple of days Phillipe notices the knight disappears after dark, while a beautiful woman appears from nowhere around the same time and there’s a wolf prowling around...
It turns out the woman is Isabeau – a couple of years ago she fell in love with Captain Navarre and he with her and they were married in secret by a monk. Unfortunately for them both, the Bishop has also fallen for Isabeau – and once he found out from the monk about their love, he determines that if he can’t have her, no man can. So the evil Bishop makes a pact with the devil – turning Navarre into a wolf by night and Isabeau into a hawk by day – thus they are ‘always together, always apart’ – and the only glimpse they have of each other in human form is in the split second of dawn breaking. Navarre plans to get back into Aquila to have his revenge on the Bishop – and this is why he needs Phillipe.
Anyway, at one point, in escaping the Bishop’s soldiers, the hawk is hurt by an arrow. Navarre sends Phillipe on ahead to an old, predictably drunk, monk – the monk who married them and then betrayed them to the Bishop. After fixing up Isabeau (and her transformation terrifying poor old Phillipe) the monk reveals he’s determined to make amends and thinks he has found a way of breaking the curse – a time is coming when day becomes night and night becomes day. If Isabeau and Navarre stand in human form before the Bishop at this moment the curse will be lifted. Navarre, of course, has no faith in the monk anymore and plans to simply kill the Bad-guy Bishop. Phillipe and the monk plot otherwise…
Rutger Hauer is the wonderful taciturn, wounded hero riding round trying to figure out his revenge. I am not one for blondes usually but he has lovely eyes and such a strong physique and what he doesn’t say in words he says so clearly in his expression…
Michelle Pfeiffer is the luminous, beautiful (even with short, scraggly hair) Isabeau.
Matthew Broderick is hilarious as Phillipe – the perfect light relief. As the film progresses he acts as ‘interpreter’ for the two – telling Isabeau what Navarre has ‘said’ of her – and indeed Navarre has, in his burning eyes and agonised cry when he almost sees her at daybreak.
The movie isn’t so much about the development of a relationship – you never doubt Isabeau and Navarre’s love – it is purely the fight between good and evil, the redemption of the old monk and the restoration of faith and hope in Navarre. Its done beautifully – the sense of love and romance is amazingly strong when the hero and heroine aren’t on screen together for almost all of the movie – but this is what makes it so special – you’re aching for them to be together almost as much as they are.
Intense action is contrasted with poignant scenes of painful separation. The scenes across the countryside are beautiful, the cast gorgeous… there’s just that awful soundtrack… but if you can get past that, it’s a wonderful fantasy film that leaves you feeling uplifted and satisfied.
For a while there you could watch the entire movie on YouTube but its been taken down - there are LOADS of fan video tributes though – set to even worse soundtracks than the original! But it’s still available for rent in my local DVD store and I’m sure you could pick it up for very little at your local supermarket too!
Of course, if you want to cheat, you can just watch the end here (be warned, there’s a slightly gory moment when the Bishop gets his comeuppance) - and you have to stay for the credits to get the full effect of the 80s soundtrack ;)
Natalie has two releases this month – HIS MISTRESS BY ARRANGEMENT is out in the US while PLEASURED BY THE SECRET MILLIONAIRE is out in the UK...
You can check out her website at http://www.natalie-anderson.com for excerpts, reviews and other news!