This middling tale of an evil family features brilliant locations and Hollywood’s most unheralded star couple, Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross.
An American architect is summoned to England and finds out the person hiring her knows more about her malevolent family past than she does. Let’s dig into 1978’s THE LEGACY, directed by Richard Marquand!
As I See It
I won’t ever complain about watching Sam Elliott in a film. Not even Frogs. The guy just has it. He’s cool. He’s sexy. He’s commanding. I can take a glass of that in any feature. Unfortunately for his talents, the old Bonneville was only cruising at the speed limit in this British horror.
Reportedly, writer Jimmy Sangster (known for Hammer films) was hoping to do something “anti-Hammer” with this installment of fright.
I would say he was successful. Nothing about this film feels like Hammer to me besides some accents and locations. There just isn’t enough to chew on.
Maggie (Ross) never seems to be averse to learning of the dark past of her lineage (Nazis, witches, and cretins, oh my!). The tension that pushes the story forward is Pete (Elliott) and Maggie’s desire to “Get the hell out of here!” — which never seems to be something they NEED to do or are trying very hard at.
All that makes for a less-than-terrifying film that features a few somewhat gory effects and an impressive full burn.
The most charming part of the film, besides Elliott, is Roger Daltrey’s performance. Yes, that Roger Daltrey of The Who fame. Supposedly, he traded the usage of filming at his estate for a role in the flick, and he’s snarky enough to choke an elephant (much like he chokes on a chicken bone in his final scene).
Sam Elliott (Pete) will always be the too-cool Wade from the original (they’re remaking it with Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor) Road House, but he entered the forever cool lexicon by slinging some “hombre”s in the Coen Brother’s The Big Lebowski as The Stranger.
Katharine Ross (Maggie) starred alongside Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, played Dr. Thurman in Donnie Darko, and starred again alongside her husband Sam Elliott in The Hero (2017) along with Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon, Ali Wong, and Krysten Ritter.
Roger Daltrey (Clive) is, of course, the singer of the legendary rock band The Who.
Of Gratuitous Nature
Sam Elliott’s bare ass.
Are Elliott and Ross the perfect Hollywood couple? Their endurance would seem to suggest so. Ross had almost a handful of marriages before she and Elliott reconnected (after meeting on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), but they’ve been together ever since.
There is not a more pure example of a red-blooded American than Sam Elliott, and we get a naked rear-end shower scene out of him here. But it’s his adorable freckled wife that captures my heart as she explores her cursed lineage.
Ripe for a Remake
There is no doubt in most plebeians’ minds that the rich and wealthy have made their money off the blood and suffering of the impoverished and unleveraged. It’s not a stretch to imagine that trust fund benefactors have been passed down something more nefarious than ill-earned wealth.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
Shout Factory released a Blu-Ray with a new scan and a couple of new interviews.