The Company Of Wolves

Starring Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Sarah Patterson and Brian Glover
Written  by Angela Carter and Neil Jordan
Directed by Neil Jordan
UK 1985
95 mins

Our last movie was Boogie Nights - Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling LA tale featuring a multitude of characters and stories. Tonight's film also features a group of stories told from a variety of viewpoints - this time framed within a dream structure.

The Company Of Wolves is based on a short story by Angela Carter - one of the most prolific and unique talents in post war literature. Often described as a magical realist, Carter's writing is rich, exuberant and difficult to classify. Essentially a feminist but with a sceptical and irreverent bent she was particularly fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy. The Bloody Chamber - her anthology of short stories based on such narratives as Beauty And The Beast, Bluebeard and Puss In Boots is a modern classic and has become a set text in schools.

Taken from this collection The Company Of Wolves re-interprets the tale of Red Riding Hood adding Carter's own sexual twist to the vivid cruelty of the original. In the present day a young girl called Rosaleen dreams that she is living with her parents in a fairytale forest. When she sets out to visit her grandmother - marvellously played by veteran actress Angela Lansbury - a strange sequence of events plays out...

The film's director Neil Jordan has had a mixed career which includes some highly original and distinctive pictures like Mona Lisa and perhaps most famously The Crying Game. He co-wrote the script for the Company Of Wolves with Carter and succeeds in creating an eerie and unsettling dream world.

Working in the days before CGI and with a limited budget production designer Anton Furst gives the film a mysterious beauty while the physical special effects by Chris Tucker remain quite astonishing.