Legends of the Fall
Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond
Second time around on this movie; I think I liked it better this time.
A story of family, loss, guilt (Pitt is unable to prevent his younger brother from dying in WW!) and how circumstances change everything.
Julia Ormond comes to the Montana ranch of a father (Hopkins) and his three sons (Pitt, Quinn and Henry Thomas). She is to marry the youngest (Thomas) but he goes off to war before they are wed. With Thomas gone, both Pitt and Quinn are attracted to the woman, both for different reasons.
Hard to really sum up the book in a short review like this; there is so much going on that is not said.
Beautifully photographed (outside of Calgery, CA, just east of the Rockies). It’s worth a watch for that alone.
I watched Legends of the Fall – for a second time – yesterday, and right afterwards, I read the Jim Harrison novella upon which the movie was based.
How to compare…
The movie is a little over two hours long; the book is only about 80 pages. Most of what’s in the movie is in the book, but often in very different ways. For example, there is an ambush scene near the end of the movie, and one of the ambushers’ – a ranch hand – part is in the book, but not as part of this particular ambush. In the movie, he does what – in the book – had taken place at least a decade ago for wildly different reasons.
And Susannah – played by Julia Ormond in the movie – comes out to Montana from Boston to marry the youngest of three sons in a family in the movie version. In the book, she comes out to marry the middle son (Brad Pitt). And they are actually married; in the movie, after the death of the youngest son (they never married), Ormond becomes romantically involved with Pitt, but they never marry.
I don’t know why I first picked up the book – it was before the movie came out. Just one of those things – I got it for $1 at a local thrift store (The Brown Elephant) when I was living in Chicago. That was over 20 years ago.
When the movie finished yesterday, I just figured it was a good time to kill an hour and finally read the book (actually, it’s one of three short pieces in the book of the same name).
Overall, I think I liked the movie better than the book, and that’s unusual. The book was somewhat disjointed, and – for all its brevity – went on at times, such as about the route taken by a schooner the main character (Tristan) was on. And the movie has lush cinematography (it won its only Oscar for this), and it focuses on an area of the country that I find incredibly beautiful: The eastern edge of the Rockies up near the US/Canadian border (it was supposed to be northern Montana; actually filmed just west of Calgary). We went to Glacier National Park a few years ago; I want to go back!
But both the movie and book were satisfying, in somewhat different ways.