Monday, October 23, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 10 – THE KING AND I (1956)



[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 10 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Y’know what? Fuck it! I challenge all the moderators of FanFreeks.

Others might think differently, but in my estimation Rodgers & Hammerstein shot the proverbial wad with this one; both a helluva production and a helluva film. Yet some assert it would be problematic to produce as it was originally presented so many decades ago. After all, The King of Siam (Yul Brynner), its male lead, was chauvinistic, self-centered, entitled, and stubborn, while the women were presented subserviently. 

But in my opinion, those critics miss the point. Mistress Anna (the beguiling Deborah Kerr), the female lead, was anything BUT subservient.  Her own person with a strong sense of self, wit, and poise, she was the "very difficult woman" who was progressive in a way that challenged everything the King held dear. The story is more than an (almost) chaste love story between two people of different worlds; it’s also a story of inexorably encroaching progress, and of the pains of generational transition when the old must give way to the new. 

In the hands of any other actor, the King would have been insufferable. But no one…absolutely no one…could have ever been more suited to the role than Yul Brynner (it had once been a dream of mine to someday play the role but the closest I ever got was to subtly homage it during living chess games at Vizcaya in 2001). When one discusses charismatic, magnetic performances, his is textbook example. Yet if you pay close attention, the twinkle in his eye and the subtle smirk belies any seriousness his character takes himself. More often than not, he is a brat; a man who balances his responsibility to his people and culture with Pimp Daddy energy. There are moments wherein he’s a mischievous boy in a man’s body; one that’s fearful of this new world and way of life that's encroaching on his beloved nation. He epitomizes a way of life that arguably can no longer survive but instead of embracing change in the form of the beguiling and steely Kerr-as-Anna he rebukes it, sending her away. By not embracing that love…and by extension that way of life…he withers and dies, but not before recognizing and instructing the next generation in the form of his son, to embrace the new ways while remembering the old, for only in that understanding that true progress and prosperity can result. Brynner pulled it off in spectacular fashion, his performance was so beloved he played the role for years even after his initial Broadway run and this performance…a total of 4,625 times on stage (even under excruciating physical duress). It bears mentioning that at the end of the iconic musical number, Brynner and Kerr engage in a primal, erotically passionate stare down that surpasses almost anything else of its kind ever in celluloid, all without word or touch.

The image above exemplifies the film completely. Two people of differing perspectives, each imperious and strong in their own way, but standing together as equals, all smiles (subtle though they be), basking in each other’s presence despite themselves, yet each too stubborn to acknowledge that, despite their differences, they’re stronger together.

In my opinion, there’s never been a greater love story put to film.


Friday, October 20, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 9 – GOLDENEYE (1995).


[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 9 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Inspired or not, thy will be done.

This choice would have been more appropriate for day 7, but that would have been too obvious. Suffice it to say, this one was difficult because it’s more the film series rather than any one film that impacted and inspired me, and it can be summed up in a single line:

“Bond. James Bond.”

What started as a mocking introduction in “Dr. No” has morphed into a declaration (Hell, Roger Moore’s delivery of the line practically demanded acknowledgement by genuflection). A character who started out as a stone-cold killer changed to become something different within the times he was represented. He’s been derided as much as he’s been celebrated: a representative of arrogant-yet-in-decline British imperialism at best, and “kinda rapey” (in Millennial speak) at worst. Yet for all that, 25 films later, we still follow his adventures no matter where they lead. The films were an exotic travelogue at a time when tourism was not so affordable. Some of the lushest scores by John Barry were inspired by this series (as well as some of the most dated. I’m looking at you, Georgio Moroder and Bill Conti) and the women; oh god, the women…

(Wipes drool off computer)

>Ahem<

Connery is undisputed King; the standard by which all others are judged. Craig is the worthy title holder and longest serving actor in years if not in film. Moore was the charming tongue-firmly-in-cheek rogue with a twinkle in his eye. Dalton was damned good and closest to Fleming’s literary take, despite the naysayers (think about it. He was Craig before Craig); a great Bond in a world that wasn’t ready for it. Lazenby was…ok.

But this...this is MY Bond, and this was his best film. I had been waiting for “Goldeneye” since the television series “Remington Steele” premiered. Brosnan was a natural for the role. Because of that show, the public believed he would be the successor (the producers of RS must have felt the same, for how else can one explain the off-key parody of the “Bond” theme used in the series’ very first episode?).

He was to have been Bond for 1987’s “The Living Daylights”, but a last-minute “fuck you” stunt by NBC precluded that from ever happening. The public would not let go, though. Brosnan’s series of “Diet Coke” commercials kept the hope alive. EON Productions had to take legal intervention to stop Putnam Books from putting Brosnan’s silhouette on the covers of the John Gardner-penned continuation novels. For six years, the franchise was put on hold due to various lawsuits. In 1994, when the litigious smoke cleared, Brosnan's frustrating journey to the role finally ended here.

“Goldeneye” reinvented the mythos without destroying it (a female “M”, a Moneypenny who, while still love struck, wasn’t exactly pining either), putting everything that was great about Bond there for all to see. It had Brosnan’s only adversary who was 007’s equal (Sean Bean), a very crazed, effective assassin (Famke Janssen in a go-for-broke performance), a capable heroine who wasn’t afraid of one-upping “our hero” (Izabella Scorupco).

The irony is that this pop-culture build up to the crown yielded a triumphant climax in this one film…to the detriment of those that followed. Because of the lackluster reception to Dalton, the aforementioned years of litigation that kept Bond out of theaters, coupled with the changing zeitgeist, the producers “played it safe” with the character. Thus, the three films that followed were nowhere near the standards here. Unfortunately, it’s also undeservedly tarnished Brosnan’s take. One only needs to see films such as “The Fourth Protocol” and “The Tailor of Panama” to see what “Goldeneye” hinted at.

A sexist, misogynistic dinosaur and relic of the Cold War he may be but to this day, Bond endures. In my opinion, Brosnan made it his own, and this is his Bond at his finest. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 8 – ROCKY (1976)


 

[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 8 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Do it today, ‘cause there is no tomorrow.

Speaking of Sly (see day 6)… 

Yo, Adriaaaaaaan…we got 'n Osca’ winnah, ova’heeya….

Oscar winner. 

All these years later, who’da thunk? 

Hell, even back THEN, who’da thunk?! 

After all, this 1976 film went up against some serious pedigree for “Best Picture” at the 49th Academy Awards. Compared to such sophisticated fare as “All the President's Men”, “Bound for Glory”, “Network”, and “Taxi Driver”, “Rocky” was the uncomplicated and relatively simplistic “odd man out”; the "Marisa Tomei" of its day.  But then, the John G. Avildsen-helmed feature was truly a study of “the underdog” in both narrative and actuality. It's thematically resonant and deeper than the critics gave it credit for. It also had the advantage of being released at the right time...or perhaps it was created because of those times, rather than in spite of. The Seventies was a very powerful, experimental, and examinatorial period in cinema; one wherein society’s ills and problems were being reflected back to us in celluloid with all stories tinged with varying shades of grey. The zeitgeist of the time didn’t help matters either. For all the “come on get happys” and "free love" of the period, there was equal or greater amounts of reports of government corruption, rising crime rates, job decimation, and economic hardship (sound familiar)?

So is it any wonder that “Rocky” made the impact that it has? Though the plot is based upon fighter Chuck Wepner’s ability to go the distance with then-champ Muhammad Ali, the film (as to many degrees all the films that followed were) is autobiographical, running parallel to creator Sylvester Stallone’s life. According to legend, he wrote the script at his most destitute. The producers wanted to buy the script but wanted a name attached at the lead (his biggest roles at that time was a part in the ensemble film “The Lords of Flatbush” and a film Sly would rather be off his resume, “The Party at Kitty and Stud's” [later retitled “The Italian Stallion” for obvious reasons]). Stallone held fast, insisting he be the lead or no deal. In a foreshadowing of the film’s thematic hook, against all odds, the producers acquiesced. Maybe that’s what made Balboa so appealing against the likes of Woodward and Bernstein, Howard Beale, and Travis Bickle. It was a film that showed the world as an unforgiving landscape that blocked our development at every corner; a world that dictated who one was opposed to presenting the chance for self-identification. It postulated that when that rare opportunity in life presents itself, it has to be grabbed as ferociously and tenaciously as possible with both hands with an iron grip. That despite circumstance, we can rise above it all and surprise not only our naysayers, but ourselves.  Whether or not one succeeded in the venture didn’t matter…it was the attempt to rise above the hole that is fatalistic expectation was all-encompassing. 

It’s said that the best stories are the most personal; the ones wherein the author is personally invested, and the audience identifies with on a fundamental level. I believe that’s why it won, and why to this day it remains one of my favorites. 

In that sense, we are all “Rocky”.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 7 – STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)


 

[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 7 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by the esteemed educator and author Andrew Baldwin. You got your own choices to post, don’t you? What’re yew waitin’ fer?

Here’s another “big surprise” entry. In truth, the surprise was actually WHICH film of the first two film in the series to choose! The first film may have been derided in later years as “The MotionLESS Picture,” but that film "wow’ed" me in so many different respects that compensated for the action-less narrative. For the first time, one got a tangible sense of the immense size of the U.S.S. Enterprise. For those of us used to reruns of ‘60s (state-of-the-art-on-a budget) effects, the special effects of the first film were astounding. Further, Jerry Goldsmith’s (with uncredited assist from series theme composer Alexander Courage) orchestrations were nothing short of phenomenal. 

But my personal winner, even to this day, remains the most powerfully affecting. It was a game changer. Back then, as the intrepid crew of The Enterprise was created on broadcast television, they carried with them the same subconscious expectations of television as it was back in the day: done-in-one adventures with the characters resetting back to the status quo by episode’s end. Yes, there’d be some moral imparted and people learning something new about themselves, but by the end each toy was put back in the box as pristine as they were taken out. Even the first film followed this paradigm.

Not this time.  

Instead of being forced to wear Vaseline on their faces and pretend to be only 2 ½ years older rather than a decade, the actors were presented as the were in “real time”, facing issues rarely explored on broadcast television. Instead of being treated as avatars of well-worn pop culture catchphrases, they were presented as three-dimensional characters. The weight of their history and age upon their shoulders, even if it only seemed to weigh down Admiral James T. Kirk. The crew found themselves facing their mortality and the real prospect of death in intimate, real fashion that they never had before.

"I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I've tricked my way out of death and -- patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing." 

   - Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner).

So much can be said for this film…the space naval score by rising-star composer James Horner, Ricardo Montalban’s real-chesty, go-for-broke performance, the debut of the then-fetching Kirstie Alley…but it’s the relationships that carry the film, none more powerfully than the image presented here. Back in the day, the actors were marginalized; their talents dismissed by the nature of the material and medium of the original presentation. Say what you will about Shatner (trust me, I do), but he is capable of powerful subtlety. The late Leonard Nimoy was the show’s and films’ blessing, being the type of actor whose presence elevates the material he’s given. Yes, the scene can be considered a cheat because the emotions were for many bolstered from years of seeing these characters in endless reruns (“Star Trek”, technically, has never been off the air). But it was that moment that many realized that they saw these characters as real people, and that the “big death” was akin to that of a family member. The status quo was gone. There was no reset; no pat, pithy comeback to end an episode and off to the next adventure. Instead, there was the understanding that despite the death, life goes on.

"You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life."

"Just words."

"But good words. That's where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them."

   - David Marcus (Merritt Butrick) and Admiral Kirk (William Shatner).

The consequences would carry over from this film onward. Most importantly the characters emotionally matured, now in sync with their physicality. It would take two films for that status quo to be reset (to a certain degree), but here there was something the franchise had lacked until that moment: Unpredictability. It felt like it had truly gone where it hadn't gone before. There was a new tomorrow on the horizon; a bittersweet one, but a new one nonetheless.

It felt…young.


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 6 - SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)


 

[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 6 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. If you want to participate…what?...today should have been day “8”? What happened to days “6” and “7”, you ask? Hey, no one said nuthin’ ‘bout it havin’ to be consecutive….

>Ahem<

There are some common themes in my previous selections, but this one is different. To paraphrase another film, as far as I can remember I always wanted to be a dancer. Actually, that’s a misstatement because “wanted to be” implies a conscious choice. It was something I already was. According to my parents and people who knew from birth, it seemed I could naturally boogie right out of the womb. When I discovered Tom Jones, I would emulate his performances using my bed as a stage with a disconnected tape recorder mike in hand. So when John Travolta’s “Tony Monero” exploded on the pop culture scene in his now-and-still-iconic white suit, I had to see it. While the women (and some men) were screaming for the sex symbol Travolta had become almost overnight (“Welcome Back, Kotter” notwithstanding), my eight-year-old self was enraptured by the dance. To subsequent generations, the music and styles may seem the height of cheese, but dancers GET IT. Life is movement, movement is life, and dance is its ultimate expression. The music and the moves made me come alive inside. The electrifying soundtrack fronted by the Bee Gees and including the likes of Kool & The Gang and Miami's own KC & The Sunshine Band (which was only used in post; Travolta and the other actors were dancing to Motown standards during filming) was the highest grossing of all time until Prince's "Purple Rain” and is inextricable from the film.

However, that same little person wouldn’t get much of the narrative or its motifs until he got older; themes that would run parallel to his own life in many ways: Dance as an escape from a dreary existence; the longing for something more (in common with other films on my list); the quest for an identity, the desire for respect in a world that withholds same; the realization that the party can’t last forever, where one has to dismiss the superficial and be stripped to their essence to see what is there and determine what comes next. When the (dancer’s) high is gone and all one’s left is an empty dance floor…to borrow a song lyric, “[o]h, yeah, life goes on…long after the thrill…of living is gone.”  

The film is dismissed in many circles as schlock, but that’s mostly due to aesthetics. For all its party atmosphere, it’s a particularly deep piece of cinema dealing with very adult conflicts. It’s a time capsule of its period, but its story, and the issues it tackles, are timeless. It’s a difficult coming-of-age story with no real resolution (let’s just pretend the Sylvester Stallone-directed '83 follow up never happened). But in the backdrop of life's capriciousness, there is the momentary, unbridled joy brought about by the dance. The film posits that it may be transitory, but that is what makes it all the more powerful and exultant.

This image is so iconic that the film’s title need not be mentioned.* Suffice it to say, in December, 1977 in a movie theater on a Saturday night, I was struck with a fever; and you know what?

I didn’t want to be cured.


*Except in this article’s title, natch. 


Monday, October 16, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 5 - THE CROW (1994)


 

[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:

Day 5 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Anyone else care to try? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

“Take your best shot, Funboy. You got me dead bang”.

No, Mr. Lee…you had US “dead bang”.

“Reality Bites”, “Dazed and Confused” …those films and a few others are among those considered the cinematic benchmarks of "GenX". Well, I submit that “The Crow” (1994) is THE seminal film of that...my...generation. While those films did humorously touch upon the concerns and preoccupations of those of us coming of age in that tumultuous period, this film (despite its fantastical nature) touched upon and explored the existential angst (whether affected or not) that simmered beneath the surface, belying the dismissive Boomer sobriquet of “the slacker generation.” Ours was the generation who saw all our institutions crumble as we grew into adulthood: Church scandals, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Contra, skyrocketing divorce rates and broken homes, Reaganomics, the Iraqi war, Rodney King, Compton, Nicole and Ronald, S&L…is it any wonder that a certain degree of nihilistic apathy developed? This film captures those concerns in atmospheric, Gothic, foreboding fashion. In that sense, WE collectively ARE Eric Draven, a victim of a world that has robbed him of all foundation (represented by his wife Shelley, ethereally played by Sofia Shinas), stripping him of his very life. However, his frustrated anger and despair cry for vengeance; to make sense of a world made senseless by forces beyond his control…and it’s only in the supernatural that he finds his outlet, one not afforded to the viewer. My own world had crumbled by this point, to which I almost lost everything, including my own life. Because of that, perhaps I’m making more of this than warranted; reading into it more than I should. But the film is literally a work of art for it is emotionally evocative in a way that goes beyond simple film. But isn't that what good art is supposed to do? Stir the emotions? Inspire self-reflection? The soundtrack by various grunge artists and the bittersweet, haunting, tribal, affecting score by Graeme Revell adds to the aesthetic. It is initially oppressive and permeated with a sense of loss.

That loss is no more powerfully felt than it is in the form of Brandon Lee as the title character. In many ways, his story is that of Draven’s: a man on the cusp of stardom and (arguably) a happy life until fate unexpectedly robbed him of it. Lee had been known primarily as the son of martial arts “god” Bruce Lee, and his highest profile film to date had been the eminently forgettable “Showdown in Little Tokyo”, playing second banana to Dolph Lundgren (even going so far as to proudly comment on his co-star’s manhood in script in an especially embarrassing sequence). Yet he was more than a martial arts star in the making. He was a bona-fide actor who gave the performance of a lifetime, which serves as both the apex of his craft and a hint of what could have been. The tragedy of his on-set death only adds to the material in a way in-and-of-itself supernatural. Like the character he portrays, Lee is the specter that hangs over the entire production like a shroud; his presence, and lack of same, permeating every facet and aspect of the entire film. Ernie Hudson is especially moving as “Officer Albrecht”, representative of the previous generation whose job is to protect the next, yet woefully inadequate to the task. Rochelle Davis, as “Sarah”, gives an equally moving performance representing the next generation whom ours is charged to protect. Yet how protective and nurturing can one be when one is dead inside? "The Crow" offers a bittersweet response.

Like the comic that spawned it, “The Crow” is a film that transcends itself. Yet, it is also subversive, for beneath its nihilism is a theme that resonates especially in the film’s tagline “real love is forever”, for this film is ultimately about love: How it uplifts us when it’s there, and how we despair when it’s gone. Love drives us, motivates us, and figuratively and in this film literally, restores us to life. There is no way to truly remake this film…though not for lack of trying Like yesterday’s cinematic choice, a host of diminishing sequels (and one moderately successful television series) followed, each incapable of capturing the evocative power of the original.*

Truth is, no matter what I say about this film, it would still be inadequate. “The Crow” is an iconic piece of art; one that despite its air of oppressive despair, shows us that where there is love, there is hope: it’s a film that reminds us that no matter how bad life can be…

…it can’t rain all the time.

*As of this writing, a remake starring Bill Skarsgard and Danny Huston will be in theatres in 2024. While whether it succeeds or fails remains to be seen, it will be due to its own merits. I’ve said on this blog before that “every generation deserves its own iteration”, and from that idea is the understanding that it will be its own entity completely devoid of the circumstances mentioned above, both internal and external, that makes this film so special.


Friday, October 13, 2023

TEN MOVIES THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON ME: SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE REVISITED: DAY 4 - "HIGHLANDER" (1985)


[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification where warranted)]:

Day 4 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Do or do not, there is no care.

What started out as a class thesis project turned into one of the most maligned and mocked film franchises in modern cinema. Where to begin? Gregory Widen’s original soulful and earnest screenplay about the inherent tragedy of immortality undermined by money-grubbing producers and a too-cool-for-school director hoping for a quick buck; a lead who at the time barely knew English, much less emulate a proper Scottish accent; a proper Scot cast as a Spaniard with an Egyptian pedigree; a film that was clearly meant as a “done-in-one” branched out into ever-worsening film sequels that only marred the original’s legacy.

Yet for all that, “Highlander” (1985) captures the imagination with it’s barely-scratched mythology of Immortal beings living among humanity “down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering, where the few who remain…will battle to the last.” Christopher Lambert’s performance as “Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod” may have been wooden, but his screen presence perfectly fit the film’s milieu and zeitgeist; his unique accent totally appropriate for an individual having lived throughout the world for four centuries. Looking at those feral-yet-haunted eyes (an unintended-yet-welcomed consequence of the lead's myopia), one could imagine all the joys and tolls of those lifetimes lived. Despite only being available for a week of shooting, none can deny that Connery made the most of it, imbuing a much needed levity to balance the gravitas a character like “Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez” would carry.  Clancy Brown, a fine actor in any production, had been hampered by Peter S. Davis & William Panzer’s desire to make the fearsome “Kurgan” into a stock, cartoonish ‘80s nutjob (in the original screenplay, the Kurgan was as weighted down by his immortality as much as Connor was, fighting for “the Prize” only because it was all that was left to him, which would have made for a much more meaningful and powerful take).

Say what you will about director Russel Mulcahy, his MTv-generation sense of style gave this film its own distinct identity, and the one-two punch of Michael Kamen’s score along with the stirring soundtrack by Queen elevates what could have been B-movie fare to something close to mythic. Case in point, Brian May was inspired to write “Who Wants To Live Forever” after watching the montage of MacLeod watching his beloved wife, Heather (Beatie Edney), whither and die while he remains unchanged…it’s this sequence that elevates the entire film, and presents a glimpse as to Widen's narrative intentions. Be that as it (Brian) may, the soundtrack and orchestrations perfectly underscore the sense of weariness and loss an unending lifetime can evoke, yet at the same time provide a stirring, rollicking sense of occult adventure. This film is (despite it's flaws) "a kind of magic"...and it is felt throughout the film. Without embarrassment I can say that, for a time, I was obsessed with this mythology. As with the Immortals, the film stands outside the fringes of the every day. Much of the mythology wouldn’t be properly (in varying degrees) explored until the series it inspired several years later. But here, just a hint of that world was enough to incite the imagination. 

The image above is the climatic shot, representing not only the receipt of “The Prize”, but also a moment of orgiastic catharsis: Pain, pleasure, power…release...the culmination of a nigh-interminable existence…all embodied in one image. 

The film’s most famous tagline is “There Can Be Only One.” In truth, there should have been only one for, marred though it be, “Highlander” achieved all it had to do in one.

(And for the record…to this day I absolutely LOVE that Masamune katana).