Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Produced by||Richard Donner
Lauren Shuler Donner
|Screenplay by||Edward Khmara
|Story by||Edward Khmara|
|Music by||Andrew Powell|
|Edited by||Stuart Baird|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.
(USA & Canada)
20th Century Fox
|April 12, 1985|
|Box office||$18.4 million|
In medieval Europe, Philippe Gaston (Matthew Broderick), a thief known as "The Mouse", escapes from the dungeons of Aquila via the sewers right before execution. The Bishop of Aquila (John Wood) sends his Captain of the Guard, Marquet (Ken Hutchison), to hunt Philippe down. At a country tavern, Philippe unknowingly reveals himself to Marquet and his men and is about to be killed. But the former Captain, Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer), intervenes, defeats Marquet and his men, and rides off with Philippe.
Navarre has a beautiful and loyal hawk which he is very close to. He and Philippe stop at a woodsman's cottage and lodge in the barn. Later that evening Philippe is saved by an enormous black wolf when the woodsman tries to kill him. Philippe dashes back to the barn and sees a beautiful mysterious woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) there who leaves to accompany the wolf.
Marquet rides back to Aquila and warns the Bishop of Navarre's return. The Bishop orders him to go after Navarre but warns him not to harm Navarre's spirited hawk. The Bishop then sends for Cezar.
Navarre reveals that he intends to kill the Bishop of Aquila and asks Philippe to help him get inside the city. Philippe refuses, so Navarre ties him up for the night. But Philippe tricks the mysterious woman into releasing him and escapes. However, he soon gets captured by the Bishop's guards.
At an ambush by the Bishop's guards, Navarre and his hawk are each struck by a crossbow bolt, yet he manages to defeat them and saves Philippe. As he has been wounded, Navarre makes Philippe take the impaled hawk to the old monk Imperius (Leo McKern) for help. Imperius locks the hawk in a room and goes out to gather herbs. Philippe picks the lock and finds the mysterious woman inside the room, her chest also impaled by a crossbow bolt. Imperius returns, sends Philippe away and tends to the woman's wound.
Later, Imperius tells Philippe that the woman is Isabeau d'Anjou. She came to live in Aquila and fell in love with Captain Navarre. But the Bishop was crazy about her and had tried to woo her. Imperius, who was the lovers' confessor, revealed their secret vows to the Bishop in a drunken confession. The Bishop went mad and made a demonic pact to curse the lovers that by day Isabeau becomes a hawk and by night Navarre a wolf so that even though always together, they are eternally apart.
After defeating some of the Bishop's guards at Imperius' ruined castle, Navarre learns from Imperius that the curse can be broken if he and Isabeau face the Bishop in their human form on "a day without a night and a night without a day". Navarre dismisses Imperius as an old drunk, and continues his way to Aquila intent on simply killing the Bishop. Philippe decides to accompany Navarre and "Ladyhawke", and he starts to transfer messages, which he most likely makes up, between the star-crossed lovers to enliven their spirits.
Isabeau and Philippe encounter Cezar outside an inn after sunset. Isabeau sees Cezar's wolf pelts and gets hysterical. She rides after Cezar to the forest. Cezar triggers some of the traps there intentionally to terrify Isabeau in order to draw out her black wolf. When he examines a black wolf that has just got trapped, the black wolf that is Navarre shows up and surprises him. Isabeau kicks the crouching Cezar, and he falls down into a trap which snaps his neck.
On the following night, Philippe convinces Isabeau that the curse can be broken. When the black wolf comes across the ice seeking Isabeau, the ice breaks and the wolf falls into the water underneath. Philippe's chest gets severely ripped by the wolf's claws as he tries to save the wolf out of the ice water. When Navarre sees Philippe's fresh wounds the next morning, Philippe is finally able to persuade Navarre to break the curse.
At night Imperius and Isabeau enter Aquila through the main gate, bringing Navarre along in his wolfen form within a cage, while Philippe dives into the sewers, retracing his escape route, to get inside the city. The next day, the Bishop holds a mass to hear the clergy's confession. Navarre and Imperius wait on but do not see any sign to come. Navarre decides to attack as the mass is going to end. He asks Imperius to euthanize the hawk if he hears the cathedral bells ring, which would mean Navarre had failed.
Philippe infiltrates the clergy confession from the sewers and unlocks the cathedral doors. Navarre rides in and duels with Marquet. During their bout, Marquet throws his helmet at Navarre but instead breaks a window high in the cathedral. As the duel continues, Navarre sees a solar eclipse through the broken window and realizes the curse can be broken. Navarre tries to get back to Imperius but fails at keeping the guards from ringing the cathedral bell. Believing Imperius is going to kill the hawk, he continues his fight and eventually kills Marquet.
Navarre is about to kill the Bishop, but Isabeau enters the cathedral, calls out and stops him. Together they face the Bishop and break the curse. Isabeau confronts the Bishop. The Bishop goes into a fit of madness and tries to kill her, only to get himself killed by Navarre instead. Isabeau and Navarre finally embrace in joy inside the cathedral.
- Matthew Broderick as Philippe Gaston, "The Mouse"
- Rutger Hauer as Captain Etienne Navarre
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Isabeau d'Anjou
- Leo McKern as Imperius
- John Wood as the Bishop of Aquila
- Ken Hutchison as Marquet
- Alfred Molina as Cezar
Richard Donner had attempted to get the film financed for a number of years and come close to making it twice, once in England and once in Czechoslovakia. He eventually got the project up at Warners and Fox, where it was green-lit by Alan Ladd, Jr. Originally, Kurt Russell was cast as the male lead alongside Michelle Pfeiffer. The role of the pickpocket was offered to Sean Penn and then Dustin Hoffman, before Donner decided to go with Matthew Broderick. Eventually, Russell pulled out during rehearsals, and Rutger Hauer was chosen to replace him.
Ladyhawke was filmed in Italy; the alpine meadow of Campo Imperatore-Abruzzo served as a prominent exterior location, while the monk scene was filmed at Rocca Calascio, a ruined fortress on top of a mountain. In the region of Emilia-Romagna, the village of Castell'Arquato in Piacenza and castle of Torrechiara in Parma (the castle of the movie) were also featured. Other Italian locations used include Soncino in the Lombardia region, Belluno in the Veneto region, and the Lazio region around Viterbo.
The film's score was composed by Andrew Powell and produced by Alan Parsons. Richard Donner stated that he was listening to The Alan Parsons Project (on which Powell collaborated) while scouting for locations, and became unable to separate his visual ideas from the music. Powell combined traditional orchestral music and Gregorian chants with contemporary progressive rock-infused material, to controversial effect. It has been cited[who?] as the most memorable example of the growing trend among 1980s fantasy films of abandoning the lush orchestral scores of composers such as John Williams and James Horner in favor of a modern pop/rock sound. The soundtrack album was released in 1985 and re-released with additional tracks in 1995. On February 10, 2015 a 2-disc set was released from La-La Land Records; it includes previously unreleased music and bonus tracks, and is limited to 3,000 units.
Ladyhawke has a rating of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 critics' reviews. Vincent Canby in the New York Times called the film "divided against itself," and went on to say that "scenes of high adventure or of visual splendor... are spliced between other scenes with dialogue of a banality that recalls the famous Tony Curtis line, 'Yondah lies my faddah's castle.'" Time Out called it "all rather facile sword-and-sorcery stuff, of course, but at times very funny... and always beautifully photographed." Variety described the film as a "very likeable, very well-made fairytale... worthwhile for its extremely authentic look alone."
The New York Times singled out Matthew Broderick's skill in coming "very close to transforming contemporary wisecracks – particularly, his asides to God – into a more ageless kind of comedy," and said of Michelle Pfeiffer that her "presence, both ethereal and erotic, is so vivid that even when she's represented as a hawk, she still seems to be on the screen." Variety praised the casting of the lead actors, considering Pfeiffer "perfect as the enchanting beauty." Time Out called Rutger Hauer "camp" and Pfeiffer "decorative."
Andrew Powell's score has been widely criticized as "dated" in the years since the film's release; Rob Vaux of Flipside Movie Emporium described it as the "worst soundtrack ever composed."
Awards and nominations
Ladyhawke was nominated for two Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Sound Editing (Robert G. Henderson) and Best Sound Mixing (Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Vern Poore and Bud Alper), winning neither. It won a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, and was nominated in the categories of Best Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Best Music (Andrew Powell).
- Tom Mankiewicz, My Life as a Mankiewicz p 260-265
- "Ladyhawke - Filming locations". imdb.com.
- "Ladyhawke - Soundtrack". filmtracks.com.
- "Ladyhawke (1985) at Rotten Tomatoes". rottentomatoes.com.
- "Ladyhawke (1985), Review by Vincent Canby". nytimes.com. April 12, 1985.
- "Ladyhawke (1985), Review by Time Out". timeout.com.
- "Ladyhawke (1985), Review by Variety". variety.com. January 1, 1985.
- "The 58th Academy Awards (1986) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- "Ladyhawke - Awards". imdb.com.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ladyhawke|
- Ladyhawke at the Internet Movie Database
- Ladyhawke at Movie Review Query Engine
- Ladyhawke at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ladyhawke at Box Office Mojo