The Importance of Dragonslayer

This quote was originally part of a response to a visitor who was not as impressed as he once was with Dragonslayer, which just came out on DVD. Or rather it was rushed out, since nothing was done to correct the effects of age on the master reel. Nonetheless, it is a good thing for it to come out on DVD.

Yes, Dragonslayer has not aged well. But there is a reason (bear with me: It's a little lengthy) why I rather not forget it.

Dragonslayer is Ms. Clarke's first firm; the film by which I first discovered her wondrous existence; and the only film by which she is best known. The indie films The Kid Brother, A Cure for Serpents and Cost of Living are unknown outside the art theatre circuit. Penn and Teller… has never risen above cult status. And these are about the only films where Ms. Clarke has more than bit parts.

Also, Ms. Clarke is a stage actress, and her best works are in the theatre. But theatre performances are not preserved except in the memories of the audience, which fade with time; and on paper as critical reviews and memoirs, which are not the same as actually seeing her perform. And it's worse if you've never seen a play where Ms. Clarke had a role, which is the case with me.

But I can see her perform at any time and as often as I like in her films. And, it is film that's the most likely medium to be preserved for the future. That is why I'm happy that Dragonslayer is now on DVD…even if it shows off director Matthew Robbins as an amateur…even if it made Peter MacNichol fear for his career after it flopped at the box office. I am happy because Caitlin Clarke is there.


Copyright © 2007 by Andy West>. Last updated 18 April 2013.