I Saw A Film!
I was pleasantly surprised when rewatching this fondly remembered fantasy adventure that it fairly held up. Granted we don’t see much of the titular creature, but when we do see it we’re well impressed with the gloom and doom surrounding the scale-dropping beast with fire-breath. We’re told at the start by the aged wizard played perfectly by Sir Ralph Richardson, who lends a gravitas to our sword and sorcery expectations, that this is an old dragon that knows only pain, and is likely spiteful. Spiteful? What an interesting idea for a creature who has been bargained with with tasty damsels. Twice a year on the equinox a sweet maiden is left for said dragon chosen by lottery (some rumor a fixed one). Good thing the townsfolk seem capable of supplying a couple of daughters a year for the crooked creature to roast, leaving the rest of the countryside alone. We get to see a bit of that before we’re off on a ride in support of the wizard’s young blonde apprentice and his not quite ready Harry Potter-style tricks.
I won’t give it all away, but suffice to say that the story has enough little twists to keep it entertaining. It is important that the King has a daughter of his own, and she’s not quite thrilled to find out that she’s had some strings pulled to keep her out of harm’s way. Disparate skills come together to create a unique sequence of events to finally bring about the end of an unstoppable offense. Of course our hero ends up being the only one able to wield the necessary force to conquer the horror, and that he’ll need to be up to the task to win over the cute (and late) Caitlin Clark, herself dressed as a young lad (though, fooling only the movie’s characters) and working in earnest to end the tribute to the monster.
There are other terrific actors in this extravaganza adding to the sale, including a younger Emperor Palpatine who attempts to use some holy words to send the beast away, it doesn’t work. And John Hallam who was terrific in The Wicker man and Flash Gordon.
This runs free on Prime, and among the memorable effects of the tale is its rather dark palette of gloom and complicit corruption. This ain’t no trainable dragon.