Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/Germany, 1999. Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, American Zoetrope, Karol Film Productions. Screen story by Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker, Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, based on the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Produced by Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder. Music by Danny Elfman. Production Design by Rick Heinrichs. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon, Joel Negron.
Deliciously gothic fun from Tim Burton that rivals any of the neo-realized classic horror-story films (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) made up until this point. Johnny Depp is wonderful as America’s first forensics expert Ichabod Crane, sent up from New York City to the tiny hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate mysterious beheadings. Christina Ricci is the love interest who helps Crane figure out the mystery of what is going on; everyone seems to think it involves witchcraft, but Crane is convinced that it’s murder, plain and simple. Ricci does very well with the material, and looks quite ravishing, but it’s obvious that she’s much too interesting for this role, while Miranda Richardson is much better showcased as Ricci’s duplicitous stepmother. The art direction is the most beautifully done work of the year, and Colleen Atwood’s costume designs are probably her best work to date.
Academy Award: Best Art Direction
Nominations: Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design