Labyrinth (1986) and Alfred Hitchcock

Trivia: I actually saw David Bowie's props from the film Labyrinth when I went to a David Bowie exhibition in 2013. Labyrinth was my first introduction to the man.

Labyrinth spoiler alert!
Yesterday I watched the superb underrated fairytale fantasy Labyrinth, a film (along with The Dark Crystal) I used to watch in my childhood. Two quick points: I have only just discovered that some people interpret Jareth the Goblin King, due to his human-like appearance, as being a human, who is merely in charge of the goblins. This was never how I interpreted it. How could a mere human have his magical powers? I always thought he was just another goblin - they come in all shapes and sizes, after all - albeit a good deal more attractive than the rest!

The second point: this motion picture is just one brilliant moment after the other, but I do like how it toys with the "... and she woke up and it was all a dream" cliché. There is a great scene where the audience is led to believe that it was all a dream, and the protagonist Sarah goes to open her bedroom door before - shock! Horror! A familiar goblin woman appears, shockingly shattering that theory perfectly for both Sarah and the audience. And the finale of the movie similarly goes down the "it was all a dream" route yet again, as Sarah begins to heartrenchingly say goodbye to her fantastical friends, who we assume must have been makebelieve all along. And we don't want them to go; we don't want them to suffer the same fate as all our dream-friends, to vanish in a puff of smoke the moment we wake up. Neither does Sarah. She says, "I don't know why but, every now and again in my life, for no reason at all, I need you; all of you". And Hoggle, one of her fantastic friends, quite satirically says, out of the blue, "well why didn't you just say so?!" and before Sarah knows it all her friends are in her room, real as can be, and throwing a cracking party. Isn't that just the most brilliant ending - we have the heartache of our imaginary friends departing and the drag back into reality, followed by the jubilant surprise that they weren't imaginary after all!

I could go on and on about this film, describing all its perfect little details*, but it's so much to write; I can barely be bothered. Just watch it for yourself, with your children, and see.

*Oh, all right. I'll describe one more. When I was a child I found the scene where Sarah enters the dream-world of the dance rather fascinating, surreal, and melancholy - the music and her poor kind friends wondering where she is add to this tragic feeling. This film is truly the stuff which dreams are made of.


Today me and a friend, having watched Strangers on a Train (1951) a couple of weeks ago, again took advantage of our local Arts Picturehouse's Alfred Hitchcock season by going to see Vertigo (1958). These old films look beautiful on the big screen they were originally intended to be viewed on - Strangers on a Train glistened and Vertigo, in its big screen form, was honestly the most beautiful film my eyes have ever been blessed with; it was rich, vibrant and colourful; every inch of it was beautiful - it was like watching a portal to Eden. The story was a bit disappointing - like The Revenant, a good film can't get by with little but pretty images. But regardless of that (I had fun with Strangers on a Train, by the way), I do wonder why modern directors can't make their films so beautiful. Not to say there aren't beautiful films released today - there are an abundance of them. But watching these makes me wonder why more directors don't try to replicate the classic era Hollywood pictures so many people yearn for.

In any case, I would enthusiastically recommend that you find a cinema where you can watch such films. Television can never compare.