Legends of the Fall DVD
Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, et
Director: Edward Zwick
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Legends of the Fall DVD
Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness and they live by what they hear.
Such people become crazy, but they become legends
Family saga is usually the domain of female audiences but while there is no denying that "Legends of the Fall" is a family saga, it has the power to keep any demographic, over the age of ten, spellbound. Love and jealousy are still the central themes and yet the characters are so large that I doubt many people would not envy them, in some way at least.
The Ludlows are almost mythical Americans. They live a tough but free existence in the North Country. Ruled by Colonel William Ludlow, (Anthony Hopkins), a Father carved from granite, the family's three sons grow up to be almost as tough. And for a man who spent his last professional years fighting for the rights of the native American's, a son who has absorbed native culture, along with the best of western values, has to hold a special place in his heart.
Tristan Ludlow, (Brad Pitt), is the focus of our attention from the start. His wild and fearless spirit is guided by One Stab, the colonel's loyal Indian companion. It is One Stab that narrates Tristan's story and from him we learn that Tristan's destiny is entwined with his animal spirit, the Grizzly Bear. As a boy he dares an enormous sleeping grizzly and they take some of each other's blood. Interpreting his later choices through the moods of the bear is a fascinating idea.
The pace of events pick up the moment the youngest son, Samuel, brings home his bride to be. The beautiful Susannah, (Julia Ormond), manages to steal the hearts of all three brothers and the father as well, although he has the wisdom to act correctly. Samuel arrives with more concern for the growing war in Europe than for his new love. His desire to play his part in the fight is opposed by the Colonel, jaded by the Government's past immoral acts. But nothing can stop a young man with a cause. Despite his brother's protection he manages to fulfill his destiny, opening the door to further possibilities for his brothers, with Susannah.
She manages to set the brothers against each other and forces the eldest, Alfred, (Aidan Quinn), on a new path entirely; one that takes him to the U.S. congress, supported by less than honorable men. All of this makes for a heady brew, plenty of drama, powerful performances and broken hearts. For my money, the film wouldn't have been the same without Isabel Two, played by both Karina Lombard and Sekwan Auger. She waits patiently for her chance with Tristan to come. She and One Stab, form the calm center to the hurricane that is the Ludlow family. And like a hurricane, one you've been touched, you'll never forget "Legends of the Fall".
A box-office hit when released in 1994, this sprawling, frequently overwrought familial melodrama may get sillier as its plot progresses, but it's the kind of lusty, character-based epic that Hollywood should attempt more often. It's also an unabashedly flattering star vehicle for Brad Pitt as Tristan--the rebellious middle son of a fiercely independent Montana rancher and military veteran (Anthony Hopkins)--who is routinely at odds with his more responsible older brother, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and younger brother, Samuel (Henry Thomas). From the battlefields of World War I to his adventures as an oceangoing sailor, Tristan's life is full of personal torment, especially when he returns to Montana and finds himself competing with Alfred over Samuel's beautiful widow (Julia Ormond), whose passion for Tristan disrupts the already turbulent Ludlow clan. Under the wide-open canopy of Big Sky country, this operatic tale unfolds with all the bloodlust, tragedy, and scenery-chewing performances you'd expect to find in a hokey bestselling novel (in fact, it's based on the acclaimed novella by Jim Harrison), but it's a potent mix that's highly entertaining. Not surprisingly, John Toll won an Academy Award for his breathtaking outdoor cinematography.