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Happy Birthday Highlander

30 Years ago, a sinister movie was unleashed on our screens. The film was about an immortal Scottish swordsman who had to fight other immortals to win the fabled “Prize”.

A very strange premise which could have been even more grittier and darker if the producers would have shot the original screenplay from screenwriter Gregory Widen who wanted to include more graphic deaths with a darker story. Widen wrote the film as a class assignment while he was studying at UCLA.Not only the premise was weird but the casting choices accentuated the bizarreness of the movie with a French actor (Christopher Lambert) playing a Scottish Highlander and a Scottish actor (Sean Connery) playing a Spaniard. The film story showed the shortcoming of being immortal. You watch everyone you love eventually grow old and die while you stay young forever. But the film can create the feeling of a timeless hero that has known loss and pain.

All of those things should have killed every dream of success and still the film became hit. Even though it failed at the boxoffice, it gained a lot of traction on home video so much so that the film spawned five Highlander movies, two television series, an animated series, an animated movie, an animated flash-movie series, ten original novels, nineteen comic book issues.

The British group Queen wrote several songs for the soundtrack of the film specifically to match the mood of the scenes. And the film was directed by renowned music video director Russell Mulcahy, famous for his fast cuts and tracking shots.

A remake has been on the table for some years now with talks of some serious actors like Tom Cruise, Ryan Reynolds or Tom Hardy for the lead roles but those talks never materialised.

 

 

Stanley Berenboom

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