Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Legend: Limited Edition – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA/UK, 1985
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: William Hjortsberg
Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo , Tina Martin

Release Date: October 12th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 89 Minutes 29 Seconds (U.S. Theatrical Cut), 113 Minutes 27 Seconds (Director’s Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: PG (U.S. Theatrical Cut), NR (Director’s Cut)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $49.95

"In an idyllic, sun-dappled forest, the pure-hearted Jack (Tom Cruise) takes his true love Princess Lili (Mia Sara) to see a pair of unicorns frolicking at the forest's edge. Little do they know, however, that the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry, in a remarkable make-up designed by The Thing's Rob Bottin) has dispatched his minions to capture the unicorns and sever their horns so that he may plunge the world into everlasting night. After Lili and the unicorns are taken prisoner, Jack must team with a group of forest creatures and descend into Darkness' subterranean lair to face off against the devilish creature before it is too late." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5 (U.S. Theatrical Cut), 4/5 (Director’s Cut)

Here’s the information provided about the transfers, “The U.S. Theatrical Cut has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films for this release. The original 35mm camera negative (conformed to the International Cut of the film, which could not be included in this set due to territory-specific licensing restrictions) and additional interpositive film elements were scanned in 4K resolution at Company 3, Los Angeles. The scans were manually conformed to the U.S. Theatrical Cut by Arrow Films and graded and restored in 2Kat Silver Salt Restorations, London.”

“The Director’s Cut is presented in the 2011 HD master approved by director Ridley Scott. This master was also the primary grading reference for the restoration of the U.S. Theatrical Cut.”

Legend U.S. Theatrical Cut comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.6 GB

Feature: 27.8 GB

Legend Director’s Cut comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43.8 GB

Feature: 34.2 GB

The U.S. Theatrical Cut looks phenomenal. The source used is in immaculate shape. Image clarity, and black levels look solid, colors look vibrant and grain looks organic.

Though the Director’s Cut uses the same master used for Universal’s 2011 Blu-ray. The results are a transfer that holds up well despite its vintage.

Another strength of these transfers, they are encoded by Fidelity in Motion, a company who’ve established themselves as the premier encoding company. 

Audio: 4.75/5 (DTS-HD Stereo), 4.25/5 (DTS-HD 5.1)

Each version comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. All the audio mixes are in excellent shape, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds and the score are well-represented. That said, the DTS-HD stereo mixes are this release's best audio mixes. Range wise, the DTS-HD stereo mixes offer a more satisfying experience sonically. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles for both versions.


This release spreads the extras over two discs.

Extras on disc one (U.S. Theatrical Cut) include Is Your Love Strong Enough? music video by Bryan Ferry (5 minutes 23 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), television version’s opening (1 minute 26 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), a 2003 documentary where the director discusses his career, including Legend titled The Directors: Ridley Scott (58 minutes 33 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a featurette that compares the different versions of Legend titled Incarnations of a Legend (20 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a two-part featurette titled The Creatures of Legend, Part One: Inside the Illustrations (10 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and Part Two: Inside the Make-up Effects (16 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a two-part featurette titled The Music of Legend, Part One: Jerry Goldsmith (15 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and Part Two: Tangerine Dream (13 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a newly created retrospective documentary titled Remembering a Legend (30 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an option to listen to the isolated music and effects track, an option to listen to 2002 Reconstructed isolated score by Tangerine Dream and an audio commentary with Paul M. Sammon, author of Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies.

Extras on disc two (Director’s Cut) include image galleries: production stills (75 images), continuity Polaroids (71 images) and poster & video art (27 images), U.S. theatrical trailer #1 (1 minute 24 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), U.S. theatrical trailer #2 (1 minute 13 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), International theatrical trailer (1 minute 52 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), four U.S. TV spots (2 minutes 11 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), screenplay drafts (First draft and shooting script), alternate footage (9 minutes, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), storyboards: Intro/Three Goblins, Lili and the Unicorns, Mortal World Turned to Ice, Jack and the Fairies, Find the Mare, Lose the Alicorn, Jack’s Challenge, Meg Mucklebones and the Great Tree and Downfall of Darkness, two lost scenes: Four Goblins (10 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and The Fairy Dance (3 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), original making of featurette from 1985 (9 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival documentary from 2002 titled Creating A Myth: Memories of Legend (51 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with director Ridley Scott.

Other extras include reversible cover art, six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, glossy full-color portraits of the cast photographed by Annie Leibovitz, large double-sided poster and an illustrated perfect-bound sixty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Into The Heart of Darkness written by Nicholas Clement, an essay titled Legends of Darkness written by Kat Ellinger, an essay titled Designing Darkness written by Simon Ward, Production Notes, Making Legend written by William Hjortsberg, Charles de Lauzirika on the Director’s Cut, Ridley Scott on the 2011 Blu-ray Transfers and information about the restorations.


The great thing about home video is how it gave a second life to films that did not originally find an audience. And though television has helped breathe life into films that have fallen through the cracks. Ultimately, without home video they’re many films that would have been lost forever. 

Another thing that home video has brought to the table is a chance for director’s to revisit films that was taken away from them and give them an opportunity to assemble a director’s cut. That said, no filmmaker more than Ridley Scott has embraced the director’s cut.

Though most director’s cuts are simply adding deleted scenes or extending scenes. Legend is a rare exception to the rule, since its different versions all feature elements that are exclusive to each version. Legend also has two scores, one for the U.S. theatrical cut, and another score for the international cut and the director’s cut.

Content wise, Legend is the type of film fantasy cinema dreams of. Its wondrous premise has all elements that are synonymous with fairy tales. The riveting narrative is a classic take on good versus evil in which Jack the protagonist goes on a journey looking for Lili, his true love who’s now under the spell of Darkness. Along the way, Jack encounters a world filled with fantastical elements.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Legend is its performances, especially its three leads, Tom Cruise (Risky Business) in the role of Jack, Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) in the role of Lili and Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) in the role of Darkness. Not too be overlooked are the secondary characters who are all superbly portrayed.

Though Ridley Scott’s more recent output has veered away from the fantasy elements that his first four films as a director are known for. The one constant that can-be found throughout his filmography is his ability to create visually arresting moments. And with Legend he creates a visual feast that’s arguably his most beautiful film.   

When discussing Legend it is hard not to overlook the differences between the three versions. And though there are elements exclusive to each version that make all three versions watchable. Ultimately, the element more than any other that separates the three versions is the scores. With Jerry Goldsmith’s score being the more disable of the two scores.

Legend is another spectacular release from Arrow Video who once again go all out when it comes to their limited editions. Both versions included as part of this release are given solid audio/video presentations and there’s a wealth of insightful extras, highly recommended.

                                            U.S. Theatrical Cut screenshots.

                                            Director’s Cut screenshots.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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