Friday, March 18, 2011

The Baron Munchausen

I recently went to see 1988's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen on the big screen. If you've ever seen this movie you know how intricate and amazing it looks down to the last insignificant detail, you HAVE to see it on a big screen to process how beautiful it is. Directed by Terry Gilliam, the movie was notorious for production problems and went horribly over deadline and budget, and to make matters worse the studio that owned the film (Columbia Pictures) under went a regime change and the new owners buried the film when it was finally released, giving it little promotion, and not even booking it in smaller markets.

Which is probably why you've never heard of it.

John Neville is excellent as the Baron.

Regardless, it's worth picking up, it's got a bit of a old world Tall Tale feel to it. The filmakers didn't dumb down the story for all audiences, and that's much appreciated as neither the story nor the characters have to suffer any sort of "Disney-fication". But despite the violence, small amounts of nudity, and the main characters sociopathic tendency's it still remains fairly kid friendly. In fact they probably won't even notice.

Uma Thurman plays the Goddess Venus who appears in her birthday suit and is then dressed by Nymphs. Would you believe you see her nipple only after she's dressed.

It might surprise you to know Baron Munchhausen was a real person, Karl Fredrick Heironymous a German nobelman who served in the Russian Military. When he returned home he spun wild tales about his adventures, many of which had a basis in popular folk tales of the time period. There's a Grimm Fairy Tale called "The Six Who Went Far" that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Munchhausen tale.

The stories of the Baron were eventually compiled several years after his death including an english version by Rudolf Raspe which spun many of the more outrageous stories that made Munchausen so enduring. Though Heironymous himself would have disapproved of many of the more ridiculous ones.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen that! It's not my favorite Terry Gilliam movie (that's probably "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") but I enjoyed it.