Tom Cruise plays the feral Jack, and although it’s hardly the actor’s finest performance, he acquits himself fairly well in a rather underwritten role. Mia Sara fares a bit better as the lovely Princess Lily, particularly later on when she flirts with the “dark side”, and Alice Playten is deliciously evil as the vile goblin Blix. But when movie fans talk about the actors in LEGEND, most of their enthusiasm is directed towards character actor extraordinaire Tim Curry. The transvestite from ROCKY HORROR, the butler from CLUE, and the one of the coolest villains ever conceived in this film. Covered from head to toe in stunning makeup and prosthetics, Curry’s performance could easily have been nothing more than a glitzy parlor trick, but the actor’s voice ALONE makes Darkness the epitome of all things horrifying…let alone his amazingly demonic appearance.
The American version was released in 1985 with a running time of 89 minutes and a somewhat incongruous musical score by synth band Tangerine Dream. I’ve always been a big fan of this version, despite the film’s spotty pacing and relatively muddled sense of storytelling, but this new Director’s Cut goes a long way towards making LEGEND a damn fine movie after all. Characters are a bit more fleshed out, the original Jerry Goldsmith score has been reinstated (as well as some beguiling songs by the lovely Lily), and few extended scenes help fill the movie out to a more satisfying experience.
Disc 1 contains the Director’s Cut of Legend, which runs over 20 minutes longer than the original US version. On this disc you’ll also find a full-length audio commentary from director Ridley Scott. Legend is a film that’s had a lot of controversies surrounding it throughout its life, and Scott touches on just about all of them. As is the case in other Scott commentaries, the filmmaker can get a bit specific on minute details, but overall this track is a treasure trove of fascinating info.
Disc 2 houses the original U.S. version of Legend (Yep, two versions of the same movie! Good stuff, eh?), and an extensive array of great features. Front and center is J.M. Kenny’s superlative documentary Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend (51:00), which brings together various actors and crew members to share their memories of the production. Everyone from Mia Sara to Ridley Scott to screenwriter William Hjortsberg to make-up designer Rob Bottin and Cinematographer Alex Thomon (and many others) discuss their contributions to this visionary (yet ultimately underappreciated) film. On this doc, you’ll see rare production footage, FX and production design tidbits, and several cool anecdotes. Hats off to J.M. Kenny for his work on this great little feature.
Legend freaks will love the pair of Lost Scenes: one is an alternate opening which features an ill-fated goblin who never made the final cut, and the other is the “Faerie Dance”, which consists of soundtrack/storyboards only, but it’s still a nice little nugget.
So far this set contains 2 separate movies, a great documentary, an even cooler commentary track, and a couple of welcome deleted scenes. Think that’s enough for the rabid cult of fans that Legend has earned? Guess again.
Littered throughout Disc 2 are a Bryan Ferry Music Video which covers the end title song “Is Your Love Strong Enough?”, three storyboard sequences (entitled “Jack’s Challenge”, “Downfall of Darkness” and “Lily and the Unicorns”), and a lengthy series of still galleries. Since this is of course a full-blown Special Edition, you’ll also find the requisite theatrical trailers, TV spots, production notes, and cast/crew bios.