Found-Again Friday: the 1980 Goldblum The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

If I’d only known this was available on YouTube, I’d have done this one for Halloween; still, better late than never…

Watch it here!

Why Found-Again? …which might as well be the motto for this particular movie. The last time I saw this, I was a nerdy 12-year-old with a massive crush on The Fly-era Jeff Goldblum. I have a tendency to “collect” movies when an actor comes to my attention, and so I spent my tween years watching (among others)  Into The Night more than any other person who didn’t have family involved in the film. At one point, I could watch Silverado and count down from 10 (Goldblum’s character gets stabbed) to 0 (Goldblum’s character finishes dying … er, spoiler alert?) with consistent accuracy.

If dorkiness ever becomes the most desired trait in a leader, I promise to rule you all with justice and mercy.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was the only time Goldblum was freely and consistently available on network television at the time, and so it held a special place in my warped little heart. Watching it again, I can see why: he looks good.

The Premise: If we all cast our minds back far enough, we can maybe remember a time when this story was about a schoolmaster, a love triangle, and a headless guy who occasionally chased people in the autumn. This version sticks pretty close, with rival Brom Bones (Dick Butkus—you read that right) and love interest Katrina (Meg Foster) joined by a pretty widow who has her sights set on Brom, a community full of believers in ghosts, a previous schoolmaster who may or may not be (un)dead, and an owl who lives in the schoolhouse for no discernible reason*.

Did I mention it’s not even set around Halloween?

By the standards of 1980, this might have been considered a fairly crazy adaptation of the Irving story; in the intervening years, of course,  Tim Burton and Len Wiseman have taken the story out, gotten it loaded on absinthe, and tied tinsel around its naughty bits, so to 2014 eyes this seems like traditional fare.

The Verdict: It’s cheesy and silly, of course, but rather sweet—sort of Jane Austen with ghosts and Dick Butkus and just a touch of Farmer Boy from the Little House books.

Might go well with: mulled cider, Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and the SNL Jeopardy! skit with David Duchovny as Jeff Goldblum, because all the mannerisms are already there in this movie.


*The owl is supposed to be a reincarnated Native American, which is still no reason to hang around a school full of kids who can’t conjugate worth a damn.

Next time: I continue picking at Highlander, possibly with musical interludes.



J. A.

It reads. It writes. It watches. It researches. It overdoes many of those things!

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