Now that you've seen it, I really don't have to talk about the plot. It's a pretty basic one anyway. Get back to the castle in time to break the curse and end all that "hawk by day, wolf by night" nonsense that's keeping the lonely couple apart. And while there are a lot of twists and turns along the way, you probably knew how it would turn out in the end. Highlight the hidden text below if you want to find out what happens. Spoiler alert:
They live happily ever after.
The real beauty of the film, besides Michelle Pfeiffer of course, was the cinematography - the setting and scenes of giant castles and quaint medieval towns. Much of it was filmed in Italy, using the castles and picturesque towns of Rocca Calascio, Castell'Arquato, and Torrechiara.
|Rocca Calascio, © Aurelio Candido|
Rocca Calascio is a mountaintop fortress (lit. Rock, in Italian), in L'Aquila Province, Abruzzo, Italy. At 4,790 feet above sea level, it's the highest fortress in the Apennine Mountains, and overlooks the Plain of Campo Imperatore in the Navelli Valley below.
|Rocca Calascio, © Federi|
It was built as a watchtower to accommodate a military garrison sometime around the 10th century, and was expanded over a period of time, especially in the 14th and 16th centuries. It was never challenged in siege or battle, but was badly damaged in a powerful earthquake in the year 1461. The movie distinctly shows how impenetrable it most likely was, with its high walls and inaccessible surrounding terrain.
|Castell'Arquato, © Andrea Lodi|
Rocca Viscontea di Castell'Arquato is a castle by the tiny town of Castell'Arquato in the hilly Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy.
|Castell'Arquato, © Sergio & Babriella Trentanni|
It's one of the best preserved castles in Italy, with picturesque views overlooking the town and surrounding countryside. Much of the town dates back to the 13th century, allowing a distinct look into the history of the region.
|Torrechiara, © Hellis Reverberi|
Built in the mid-15th century, Torrechiara was the main castle "Aquila" featured in the movie, and is located in the province of Parma in Northern Italy. Sitting high above the Parma river valley, it has remained almost unchanged since it was first built, a bold and formidable castle, a truly great setting for the final showdown with the Bishop of Aquila.
|Torrechiara, © Luigi Alighieri|
All in all, the movie is highly entertaining. In part because of the actors and the plot, but also because of the magnificent scenery throughout. It feels more like a fairy tale, an old story told around the campfire of some medieval band of merry adventurers. So next time you watch it, take in the scenery and the footage of the beautiful Italian castles and towns. Pay attention to the architecture and grand panoramic shots. After all, you already know how it's going to end.