Alas, no 4K Legend

legend85Oh, Arrow, you tease. Those postcards for an Arrow edition of Legend had me all kinds of (mildly) excited. Legend is a pretty damned broken film in any of its cuts but goodness it sure is pretty, and a 4K edition would be such eye-candy. Alas it seems never to be.

Yesterdays press release actually confirms the worst- Arrow’s Legend in September is a US-only release of a remastered edition of the horrific American theatrical cut (frankly unwatchable in my opinion) and the image-impaired Directors Cut (which is basically a workprint, not a ‘restored’ Directors Cut that many are), on Blu-ray as the only elements good enough for a 4K belong to the European cut that Fox (and therefore now Disney) own and the mouse as usual isn’t playing ball. So not only no 4K, there’s not even an Arrow release over here of Legend as they can’t license that European cut from Disney. Man, its so hard not to think of Disney as some kind of Evil Empire or Bond villain these days, its like they have a corporate memorandum to piss me off.

5 thoughts on “Alas, no 4K Legend

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    Hard to match your frustration on this one – whoever owned it, it would be an unlikely choice for a 4K release. It’s a niche movie if ever there was one. Not successful enough at the time to have mainstream/nostalgic following (like Dark Crystal or Labyrinth), and not interesting or weird enough to have a cult following (like They Live or Prince of Darkness).

    I’d imagine the costs of licensing and restoring the directors cut (was it taken out of Scott’s hands or did he do his usual ‘take one for the team’ thing and recut it – badly – himself?) would be pretty prohibitive for any smaller label, and what’s the return for a studio?

    I can’t really agree to paint Disney as some sort of villain – they made slightly better Star Wars sequels etc than Lucas, they still get amazing Pixar movies like ‘Inside Out’ into theatres, they allow Marvel to do their thing (like it or not), and they haven’t locked Fox movies away from view as people feared (there are multiple screenings of 70s and 80s Fox movies going on in London as we speak, and a lot of them are out on 4K disc). No, no company should own so much, but things could be FAR worse.

    1. I think the ‘Directors Cut’ of Legend was essentially akin to the workprint of Blade Runner, an early preferred cut of the film that was subsequently cut down for the European cut and then when that tanked, edited again for the US theatrical version. So the ‘Directors Cut’ for Legend isn’t anything like the restored Directors Cuts done for other films, its really an ‘early cut'(or indeed ‘workprint’) and it only exists on an answer print literally found in a box somewhere years later. It should really be considered an extra or bonus feature for disc release, as it simply cannot be anything more (from what I’ve read, the original elements etc are long gone, its not a situation like the Blade Runner crates in a warehouse somewhere).

      I agree that any Legend 4K UHD would be an extremely unlikely proposition, except that the 4K of Howard the Duck seems to make even the craziest conjecture seem possible. I’d certainly much rather see a 4K UHD of Scott’s The Duellists or 1492: Conquest of Paradise, or even more so the Directors Cut of Kingdom of Heaven, which I think is one of Scott’s best films (certainly in my Top Five of his, possibly top three after Alien and Blade Runner). Yes Legend would be a curio but its visually at least a lovingly-crafted, beautiful film and yes, I would love to see it in 4K with a HDR pass. I thought it was pretty astonishing in the cinema back in the day- I even went back to see it a second time.

    1. That’s strange, you’re not the first one to surprise me with that view. The original version with the Goldsmith one was what I saw at the cinema, and it was widely considered even at the time that the belated American release with the Tangerine Dream score was a desperate attempt to make the very European fairy-tale more palatable for 1980s audiences in the land of Miami Vice etc. which was a hopeless task really. Legend was broken as it was- the screenplay just needed more work prior to filming- and no tinkering was going to save it (I’m always amused by studios thinking after a film has been written, shot and edited that it can somehow be fixed by different music). The irony for me was that perhaps the one thing about the film that did work was the gorgeous Jerry Goldsmith score, one of his finest, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

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