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Ladyhawke (1985)

2009-10-09 12:48

Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it. Ladyhawke is my favourite movie of all time. There. Ridicule me if you will, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I was about five years old the first time I saw it, so I guess this film is one of the cornerstones of my romantic and emotional development. I can’t separate myself from the movie to review it critically, so if you’re expecting an objective review, er… sorry.
So, the story…

Phillipe Gaston , a petty thief, (portrayed by Matthew Broderick who looks all of 12) escapes the infamous dungeons of Aquila through the sewers. The evil bishop of Aquila (possibly the evilest bishop of all time – which is really saying something, if you think about it) orders his soldiers to find Phillipe the Mouse and execute him because "no-one escapes the dungeons of Aquila!"

But unbeknownst to him, Etienne Navarre, the erstwhile Captain of the Guard (played by a very intense Rutger Hauer) has other plans for Phillipe. He wants to thwart, and well, kill the bishop and needs Phillipe’s help to get him into Aquila.

You see, *SPOILER ALERT* the evil bishop placed a dark curse on Navarre and his love, Isabeau D’Anjou (played by a heartbreakingly beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer). When Isabeau rejected the lecherous, wicked old bishop, he called upon the Powers of Darkness to devise a terrible, tragic curse. (ta-ta-tuuum!)

By day, Etienne is a man and Isabeau is the hawk that rides with him. At night, Isabeau is a woman and Etienne is the black wolf that walks by her side. Thus they are "always together but eternally apart."

How’s that for a romantic plot?

My favourite scene:

It is the magic hour of dawn and Isabeau sleeps next to the wolf. The sun begins to break over the ice and the wolf turns into Navarre. For one brief shining moment they see each other as man and woman, but before they can touch Isabeau turns into the hawk. Awesome.

Best lines:

Etienne Navarre: I must kill a man.
Phillipe: Tell me - does this walking corpse have a name?

Imperius: Thank you for trying, Phillipe, and standing up for the truth.
Phillipe: I should have known better; every happy moment in my life has come from lying.

Bishop: There is a woman.
Cezar: Your Grace?
Bishop: A beautiful woman with alabaster skin and the eyes of a dove. She travels by night, only by night. Her sun is the moon. And her name is... Isabeau. Find her and you find the wolf. The wolf I want. The wolf who... loves her.

And the very bestest, bestest line from the movie?

Phillipe: My lady, are you flesh or are you spirit?
Isabeau: I am sorrow

Has it dated?

The only thing that aged is, perhaps, the music. The score (of which they were really proud when the film came out) has a decidedly 80s synthesizer tang to it.

A bit of trivia:

•    Michelle Pfeiffer is ridiculously hot.  Honestly, it hurts just to look at her.
•    Warner Bros falsely marketed the movie as based on a medieval legend. It was actually written by Edward Khmara who took the issue before the Writer’s Guild Association. 
•    Etienne Navarre was supposed to be played by Kurt Russel. Argh! It frightens me that my life could have been so different!
•    Matthew Broderick accent changes back and forth but his charm remains steady.

Rent it. Watch it. Do it now.

This beautiful medieval love story still has the power to make Lili Radloff cry…

Leon van der Linde 2009/10/11 12:07 PM
Absolutely fantabulous movie. The theme song is ageless and still gives me goosebumps. If you don't like the movie, tough. Go and watch your bluebull rugby and leave us to our classy entertainment.
Norman du Plooy 2009/10/12 1:57 PM
It was very good for its time. "The Princess Bride" (1987) was just as good.
Ryan 2009/10/13 11:57 AM
Couldn't resist the greatest lines in movie history from the "Princess Bride." between Inigo Montoya and Count Rugen. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father. Prepare to die." "Stop saying that!" "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father. Prepare to die." "Offer me money." "Yes." "Power, too, promise me that." "All that I have and more. Please.' "Offer me anything I ask for." "Anything you want..." "I want my father back, you son of a bitch!"
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