FILMS… Memories of Max Von Sydow


Returning to remind you of a Max Von Sydow role, as head of a dream cast…


Max Von Sydow passed away earlier this year, leaving this Inception inspirational movie in his memorable film legacy.


Dreamscape (1984) – Official Trailer (HD) , ScreamFactoryTV


It’s been a while since I added to this page, so I feel it’s about time to tribute just a few of those famous names who’ve sadly passed away this year. Max Von Sydow, was just one of many names on this list. Von Sydow a name that I’ve seen in the credits of many Realweegiemidget favourite movies including Awakenings (1990) to Shutter Island (2010).

Often Von Sydow was seen in a more sinister role, I recently watched him in Dreamscape (1984), an early film in Dennis Quaid’s filmography. And like his turn in Voyage of the Damned and The Exorcist (1973), Von Sydow appears as a good man. Dreamscape tells of young Alex Gardner (Quaid) who uses his psychic talents to win at gambling and get the ladies. Think Bill Murray in Ghostbusters without the Bill Murray appeal, but with those Dennis Quaid charms instead.

Years previously, Alex took part in a study on this psychic talent but he disappeared without a trace during this experiment. Later, Alex is called on by his one-time mentor, Dr Paul Novotny (Max Von Sydow). Novotny offers him a job for the US government that Alex feels he can’t refuse. Novotny asks Alex to use his psychic talents to infiltrate his client’s dreams and nightmares. This he tells him is a new technique to help patients with phobias or confront their irrational fears.

In this treatment, Novotny is aided by scientist Dr Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw). Alex falls for Jane at first sight. However, this programme has been infiltrated by the evil government worker Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer). Blair wants to use this for his own ends and use it to plant his own political agenda in the US President (Eddie Albert).

The film Dreamscape is hard to categorise, in just one genre, however, Roger Ebert sums it up perfectly HERE as

“Dreamscape” is three different movies, all fighting to get inside one another. It’s a political conspiracy thriller, a science fiction adventure, and sort of a love story.

The film has the familiar premise of a person entering another’s dreams to plant thoughts. It is one that is compellingly gripping and here this premise is used both for good and for bad. But for the most part, it’s potential as a treatment quite inventively used here. This plot used with some retro special effects in the dream and nightmare scenes easily elevates it into an underrated 80s movie.

The film is not to be missed due to the trio of actors heading the bill. The film has two Realweegiemidget favourites and one actor in an early role. These the wonderful Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer that a very young, Dennis Quaid. It also has David Patrick Kelly playing a creepy psychic who Blair uses in his evil plans.

Alex’s on-screen love interest, Jane was played by Kate Capshaw. Who somehow seems wrong casting. Personally, I would have cast Meg Ryan in this role. Ryan has much more chemistry with Quaid in their joint 80s movies, see Innerspace (1987). Capshaw really irritated me in her Indiana Jones love interest role almost as much as Anne Hathaway did as a love interest in Interstellar (2014).

The film is kinda reminiscent of Inception, but with considerably less hot young things teaming up to infiltrate your mind. But instead, you have two silver foxes of actors providing solid support to Quaid.  With their good guy vs bad guy roles, it’s a case of Von Sydow vs Plummer. This pair together have a fantastic screen appeal as they both ham their way through this movie.

Bizarrely I learnt that the two were in competition at the Oscars in 2012 in the Best Supporting Actor Oscars and also both were voices in the game Skyrim. Admittedly, I probably would have given this film a wide curve if it hadn’t been for Plummer and Von Sydow’s appearances. But they bring this movie gravitas, presence and that je ne sais quoi (sorry for that Del Boy lapse) which they do so well and admittedly would have done no matter how bad the movie.

However much I love Plummer in many a role, it’s Von Sydow who wins overall in starring in more of my favourite movies. I’d also recommend to look out for this actor in Shutter Island, Escape to Victory / Victory (1981),  Awakenings and Voyage of the Damned.  But it is a close race.

Von Sydow turned up in many a movie, TV show or video game up until just recently. As the majority report, Von Sydow has appeared in over 160 appearances in a wide range of genres. Other Von Sydow roles that the majority report as being von Sydow treasures include Emperor Ming in a Flash Gordon ( 1980), Blofeld in Never Say Never Again (1983) and as Brewmeister Smith in a Strange Brew (1983) of roles…



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