Cinerama: Legends of the Fall

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Legends of the Fall

By Mike Derderian

Do you know what does it take to become a legend nowadays? In the old times all you had to do was to kill a ferocious man eating lion, a giant Hydra if you can find one, or slay Medusa after avoiding the nice serpents coming out of her head.

Do all these things and you’ll hit the jackpot and fulfill all your dreams in becoming a legend. However, I advise you, don’t shoot any lions or bears at the time being for then animal right organizations will be all over you like flies on honey before you know it.

It is the word that lasts, as one write and writes till the end of his life. For one day when I’m six-feet under and no longer exist, I know that someone in the future will look through the archives and stumble on one of my writings.

To become a legend by a piece of literature is much better than to be remembered for your physical strength and stamina that will one day be relinquished by Cronus so make haste for once the cockerel cries announcing dawn it’s too late.

A few days ago I had an interesting conversation with a person I now regard as a friend. This friend of mine considers “Legends of the Fall” as one of the touching films that he ever saw.  Strangely enough the thought of writing about it came to my mind a week ago, talk about telepathic abilities, yeah right!

It’s release in 1994 coincided with my teenage years when my imagination was still in the cauldron and brewing like the imagination of many others of my species. To me it symbolized the dreams of teenagers who want to travel the world and try out all the flavors it offers, sweet, bitter and soar.

“Legends of the fall” is an epic film about a father who raised his three sons in a sequestered ranch at the Montana Mountains, trying to shelter them from the cruelty of civilization.

Directed by Edward Zwick, The film was packed with a cast of talented and passionate actors like Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Julia Ormond, Aidan Quinn, Henry Thomas and Gordon Tootoosis as One Stab.

To escape the world is a futile attempt because no matter where you go or what you do, life eventually finds you and such was the case with Col. William Ludlow (Hopkins) and his three sons.

The film is in retrospect, One Stab, the Indian living with the Ludlow recounts the whole story to us, which basically revolves around Tristan (Pitt), the middle son who liked to stay with One Stab ever since he was a child, hence his soul is more Indian than that of a white man.

Unlike the wild Tristan, his two-brother Alfred (Quinn) and Samuel (Thomas) are not like him, nevertheless, despite their differences they all love each other and are united together, sadly, this unity will come to an end with the arrival of the enchanting Susannah Fincannon (Ormond) who will unintentionally cause a rift between the two older brothers whom both are falling in love with their younger brother’s fiancé.

As for the father figure we see the Colonel as a strict man with very few words to say, however, his few words are heard and obeyed for such was the relationship of fathers and sons in the early 1900. A thing which I think we lack nowadays.

The way the camera moves in and out of the great natural sceneries found in Montana accompanied with the musical score by James Horner that was able to interpret and capture the feelings of love, hate, betrayal and forgiveness gave the film a mix of mysticism.

Julia Ormond’s performance as the alienated lover of Tristan was outstanding and moving especially in the scene when they both decide to let their feelings out, a passionate love scene filled with emotions and tears, the tears of Susannah for betraying Samuel and the whole family on one hand, and tears resulting from the love that she found in Tristan on the other.

The family is soon parted as the three brothers go to Europe after joining the army to fight against Germany in a WW1. The colonel doesn’t want them to go, however, their minds are set on the notion that will change the destiny of this family forever.

As the title indicates they will all become legends, how, when and why, I leave that for you to find out keep one thing in mind; the word “Fall” has a double meaning.

Not all legends are written on scrolls of paper that will turn yellow in time. Some legends are transcribed in the chronicles found in our brains and are downloaded orally that is why if you witnessed or experienced something extraordinary like a tragic love story or a heroic act try to memorize it, who knows you might retell it to one of your grandchildren someday and by doing so you help in creating a legend.

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