Catch the Eclipse With Ladyhawke (1985)


It’s a Throwback Thursday on Monday, and you know why? Because of the full solar eclipse that can be seen, starting today, in Oregon at 9:05 am PT, reaching totality at 10:17 am PT. Apparently, the last bit of the moon’s shadow will fade out near Charleston, SC, at 4:10 pm ET. And that should make this guy happy:

Ladyhawke (1985)

If he existed and if this were happening in medieval France, because during the 2017 eclipse, only about 2-7% of the sun will be covered by the moon as seen in France. So he’s not going to break the wolf-hawk curse right now. Hey, but let’s take it as a reminder about this silly romantic ’80s movie anyway!

Teenage me was the ideal target market for Ladyhawke (1985) — medieval setting! tragic romance! magical curse! animals! — although even then, I didn’t get Rutger Hauer as a love interest. Oh, I totally understood Michelle Pfeiffer, she is / was / probably will always be hot, but Hauer just looks and acts like a big block of wood. Especially when there’s Matthew Broderick boppin’ all around with his snappy patter. The three are a really weird combo on screen.

Ladyhawke (1985)

And let’s face it, the supposed 13th-century France setting is so poorly recreated as to be nonexistent. It would have made more sense to name the characters something random like Captain Edgar of Darksword instead of Captain Etienne of Navarre and Isabella of the Crystal Palace instead Isabeau of Anjou, then say they’re in the magical land of Lillonyya. The exteriors were filmed in Northern Italy, the soundtrack is all 1980s synth rock, and those costumes, oh those costumes! You don’t have to be an expert in medieval fashions to see that these outfits bear no relation to historical garb. I could make SCA jokes, but this stuff is too weaksauce.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Castello di Torrechiara in Parma, Italy. Behind some dudes looking for Navarre.

Ladyhawke (1985)
Ladyhawke (1985)

The man in black.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Nubby fabrics mean “ye olde timey”!

Ladyhawke (1985)

Isabeau also rocks the nubby fabrics.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Only Michelle Pfeiffer could run around in a movie wearing a big sack and make it look kinda good. Weird, but not bad.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Of course, she looks even better in faux-medieval boy clothes. I’ll be in my bunk.

Ladyhawke (1985)

And then there’s this lame-ass purple thing, that looks like a reject from your high-school drama department.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Those sleeves are an abomination. Turn her back into a hawk!

Ladyhawke (1985)

Is that a chiffon cape attached to the back? Also, I have it on good authority that ballet flats tied up the ankle aren’t accurate 13th-c. shoes

Ladyhawke (1985)

But medieval whatever, we all end happily ever after!

Still, I’m sure y’all love the shit out of this movie. Part of me does too — my favorite character is Broderick’s Mouse, though, because upon viewings as an adult, his constant jokes and asides hold up better than the romance.

Ladyhawke (1985)


Does the romance of Ladyhawke still suck you in? Are you watching the eclipse today?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

16 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    Yeah, it was a fantasy and should have been treated as one. On the other hand, I have recently viewed 3 goodies from Netflix worth catching: “Love and Friendship” with Kate Beckinsale shining as the impecunious, manipulative Lady Susan, “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Freud, and Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, and thirdly, but not last, “The Invisible Woman,” directed and starring Ralph Fiennes as Charles DIckens in a story about one of his many affaires. I was somewhat distracted in “Love” by the fact that the men’s jackets didn’t seem to fit at all well: a lot of wrinkles and creases where there should not have been. But Beckinsale, when she’s not sorting out vampires and werewolves, shows she is more than just a death dealer. And she gets many neat hats. Yes, I will be watching the eclipse, at least indirectly.

  2. Christy Jenkins

    I love Ladyhawke, and Rutger Hauer!
    I’m lucky enough to live in the path of totality. My office complex is having a viewing party in the front parking lot. No travel, & I get to avoid heavy traffic.

  3. Johnny

    Even with that awful haircut La Pfeiffer still looks like a goddess.

  4. Jamie Jo

    I think of it as taking place in an alternate reality with REALLY REALLY ugly clothing and armor. the story is what makes it wonderful, certainly NOT the costumes. they stink on ice.

  5. Vervain

    I love this movie and that horse!
    It’s a Friesian Destrier and probably the only thing that is remotely historically accurate in this whole movie!

  6. Charity

    I love this movie. It’s cheesy and bad as hell, but the hilarious one-liners of Mouse the entire way through make up for it. “I talk to God all the time and, no offense, he never mentioned you.” “Hello, Goliath. Let me tell you the story of a wee little man named David.” “It is not unlike leaving my mother’s womb. God, what a memory!” “I know I promised, Lord, but I know that you know what a weak willed person I am!” :D

  7. picasso Manu

    Oh God I was young and excitable then… And I think I loved that hawk, and the big black stallion.
    And then, Rugter Hauer was hot at the time, after Blade runner, if I recall right (drawback of being an old: never sure anymore).
    I also seem to recall another period film set in Italian Renaissance… Flesh and blood, that’s it!
    Interesting costumes in that one.

  8. Susan Pola Staples

    I, too, loved Ladyhawke. Love story, and the oh so snarky sidekick. Mouse needs a sequel. Maybe the Alan Gordon ‘Fool’s Guild’ series.

  9. CalmDown

    Same here, loved this movie. Loved the hawk and the horse and the sword, but most of all, loved that double crossbow. Thought that was the neatest thing ever! And it worked, it wasn’t some mockup, I watched a “the making of” and it all worked and I loved it. Just as others have commented, I realized it was fantasy so I didn’t worry about the historical accuracy. There was an outfit I liked that the Bishop’s… Well, in the credits, she’s named as the Bishop’s Woman, but anyway, I always liked that outfit, not for anything close to accuracy, I just liked it. Then I found out that was the costume designer, Nana Crecchi, in that role.

  10. Broughps

    I’m with the “love it” crowd. And RH was hot back in the day. Don’t think I even paid any attention to the costumes back then.

  11. Barb Donaghey

    It’s one of my guilty pleasure movies. I didn’t realize it was supposed to be France, I always looked on it as a fantasy. The costumes just reinforced that to me.

  12. Sara L.

    Love this movie, except for that abominable soundtrack! I often wish someone would re-score it, since the music is so distracting. And I agree with others, Rutger Hauer was hot, at least to teen-me. And I still sometimes chant “Left side, left side, left side,” as I cross a wooden bridge.

  13. Julia

    I loved it with all my 80’s heart at the time. The thing I remember most vividly was the insanely sexy sound of all that leather creaking when Rutger Hauer moved around. It was probably added in, but it was the sound of leashed power to me. Hawt!

  14. Jennifer Hudsos

    It was meant to be a full on fantasy, but the producers changed their minds.