Out of the field of fantasy films from the 1980s, Labyrinth, which hit theaters this day in 1986, seems to hold a certain fondness amongst movie fans. Interestingly, and totally anecdotally, it seems to me that a majority of the film’s fans are women. Is it the fact that Labyrinth is one of those rare movies that featured a heroic fenale lead? Was it the tight cut of David Bowie’s pants that left an impression? (Pun only partially intended.) Maybe a little of column A and a little of column B. But if there is an element of menacing sexuality emanating from Bowie, it is undercut and made safe by the cute and fuzzier fantasy elements. I leave it for a future Women’s Studies major to write a thesis paper on this.
But what I do find interesting is that Labyrinth holds the bittersweet distinction of being Jennifer Connelly’s first lead role in a feature film while it is director Jim Henson’s final film before his tragic death a few years later. But here is a moment featuring the two of them, both not knowing what the future holds for them. Connelly is auditioning for the role of Sarah for the film, and the scene she is playing is Sarah’s initial meeting with the gnome Hoggle. If you’re familiar with the film, you’ll notice that the scene as played here has dialogue that isn’t in the final film, so I would imagine that there was a rewrite of the film along the way or that the lines got cut in the editing room. You can hear Henson towards the end of the video giving Connelly some feedback.