Sunday, 24 January 2016



FILM 1462: LABYRINTH

TRIVIA: The various things that Jareth does with the crystal balls (rolling them around his arms and in his hands and so forth) are not camera tricks or any other kind of special effect. They are actually done by choreographer Michael Moschen, who is an accomplished juggler. Moschen was actually crouched behind Bowie with his arm(s) replacing Bowie's. Unlike a typical Muppet performance, however, he had no video screen to view his performance. In other words, his manipulations were performed completely blind.

The owl in the title sequence is computer generated - the first attempt at a photo-realistic CGI animal character in a feature film.

The full costume for Hoggle was lost for some time. It turns out that it was lost on an airplane and later bought from the airline by 'The Unclaimed Baggage Center', a store in Scottsboro Alabama. It is now on display in their museum.

In the scene where Toby is seated on Jareth's lap, the baby has a fixed and hypnotized look off-camera as Jareth murmurs evilly into his ear. In fact, Toby screamed so much during the many takes of this scene, that something had to be done to keep him quiet. Fortunately, a crew member had a glove-puppet Sooty. For the duration of Jareth's speech, David Bowie had the Sooty puppet on one hand (out of shot) gently wiggling to distract Toby. The child was entranced, hence the hypnotic stare, and the perfect silence.

The "Dance Magic" scene consisted of over 48 puppets, 52 puppeteers, and 8 people in goblin costumes (as revealed by Brian Henson in the "Inside the Labyrinth" special).

The sources of the characters can be seen in Sarah's bedroom at the beginning of the movie. She has a stuffed animal that looks like Sir Didymus on her dresser, a doll that looks like Ludo on the shelves next to her door (along with the book "Where the Wild Things Are" as the camera pans across her desk), a Firey doll on a shelves next to her bed, bookends with with Goblins reminiscent of Hoggle on her dresser, and figurine of Jareth on the right hand side of her desk. After you see the Hoggle bookend, there is a scrapbook shown. It shows newspaper clippings of Sarah's famous actress mom with another man, David Bowie. In addition, the dress that she wears in the ballroom scene can also been seen adorning the miniature doll in her music box, and a wooden maze game on her dresser next to her books is reminiscent of the hedge section of the Labyrinth. There is also a small painting on her wall that depicts a contraption much like the one operated by the "Cleaners" that Sarah and Hoggle had to escape from. And there is a copy of the famous picture by M.C. Esher which is used in the room where the final confrontation with Jareth occurs.

Final feature film directed by Jim Henson.

In the DVD version, there are hidden faces in seven scenes. In general, they resemble the head that Jareth leans against before giving Hoggle the peach (David Bowie's actual face at that time). The faces can be found: Upper right corner of the [stone] maze, just after the worm shakes its head and says "If she'd have kept on going down that way..." To the right of the screen, after the rung under Hoggle breaks, as he watches it fall. Upper left corner of the hedge maze, as Hoggle is muttering "Get through the labyrinth, get through the labyrinth, one thing's for sure... " Lower right corner of the wall bordering the Bog of Eternal Stench, just after the ledge breaks under Sarah and Hoggle for the first time. During the wide shot of the hedge maze in the middle left on the stony floor just after the hat says, "It's so stimulating being your hat." In the forest as Sir Didymus says "We should reach the castle well before day."

David Bowie did the voice (gurgling) for the baby in the song "Magic Dance".

Sarah's dog "Merlin" is also used for Sir Didymus' mount "Ambrosius". In Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain, Merlin is called "Merlin Ambrosius".

Michael Jackson was strongly considered to play Jareth. Jim Henson preferred Sting, until his kids convinced him that David Bowie would have more lasting appeal.

After solving the problem of the guards who lie or tell the truth, Sarah falls into an oubliette, which Hoggle describes: "It's a place where you put people...to forget about 'em!" Oubliettes were a type of dungeon where the only entry was through an opening high in the ceiling. To leave an oubliette was practically impossible without external assistance. The word "oubliette" comes from the French word "oublier' meaning 'to forget". The basic premise was that an oubliette was a dungeon for prisoners that the captor(s) wished to forget. Prisoners were often left to starve to death in an oubliette.

Hoggle consisted of 1 actor inside the suit: actress Shari Weiser, along with 4 puppeteers led by Brian Henson controlling 18 motors inside the face rig. Manipulating a mechanical mitt on his right hand, Henson controlled Hoggle's jaw movements and provided the voice. Another puppeteer provided further lip movements with another mitt. The third member of the team used a fingertip joystick lever to control Hoggle's eyes and eyelids. The fourth used a similar mechanism to animate the eyebrows and a foot pedal to control the skin around Hoggle's eyes. The puppeteers had to rehearse together for weeks in order to anticipate each other's movements.

Director Trademark: Jim Henson:  [milk bottles]  During the Goblin Battle scene, while Sarah and the gang opens the door to the Goblin Castle, you can see milk bottles near the door.



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