The Company of Wolves
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips
The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more

FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries contain spoilers. Spoiler tags have not been used, in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Company of Wolves can be found here.

Yes. The narrative organisation of the film is fairly straightforward when broken down into its constituent parts, although it does employ multiple narrative levels and several different narrators and narratees.

The film begins with the outer framing story (known in narratological terminology as the intradiegetic or diegetic narrative level). The main element of the intradiegetic narrative concerns Rosaleen's (Sarah Patterson) dream. We return to the intradiegetic level several times during the course of the film, seeing Rosaleen reacting to whatever the content of her dream happens to be at that particular moment.

Within the frame, the primary narrative (known as the hypodiegetic or metadiegetic narrative level) is Rosaleen's dream, wherein she imagines herself living in an 18th century rural community with her mother (Tusse Silberg) and father (David Warner), and spending time with her Granny (Angela Lansbury). The dream begins with the death of Rosaleen's sister Alice (Georgia Slowe), who is killed by wolves. Subsequently, the bulk of the narrative involves Rosaleen's experiences in the village and a series of digressionary stories which are told by various characters within the environment of this milieu.

The first story (known as the hypo-hypodiegetic narrative level), which is told by Granny to Rosaleen, is the story of the newly married couple (Stephen Rea and Kathryn Pogson), which ends when the wolf is decapitated.

The second story, again told by Granny to Rosaleen, is the story of the Devil (Terence Stamp) meeting the young boy (Vincent McClaren) in the forest, and giving him a potion which turns him into a wolf. At the end of this story, we return to the intradiegetic narrative, and we see that the divisions between the dream world and the real world are apparently beginning to break down, as Rosaleen sees the young boy from the story within her dream appear in her real mirror.

The third story, this time told by Rosaleen to her mother, whilst her father is out hunting the wolf, is the story of the witch (Dawn Archibald) interrupting the wedding party. This story ends with the wolves serenading the witch every night.

The final story, told by Rosaleen to the Huntsman (Micha Bergese) after he has turned into a wolf, is the story of the she-wolf who comes up through the well and turns into a young woman (Danielle Dax) after being shot. This story ends with the woman returning to the well.

Upon the end of the she-wolf story, we return to the hypodiegetic narrative level. At this point, we learn that Rosaleen herself has now become a wolf. She flees from the hunting party and joins up with a large group of other wolves. As they run, they seem to enter a dilapidated version of Rosaleen's real house, heading for her bedroom. They congregate outside her door, at which point, the dream ends, and Rosaleen wakes up, returning us to the intradiegetic narrative level. However the boundaries between the real world and the dream world (the intradiegetic narrative and the hypodiegetic narrative) have now been broken down entirely, as Rosaleen hears the wolves from her dream scrapping at her real door. The film ends with a wolf jumping in through Rosaleen's real window, followed by the sounds of Rosaleen screaming as her playthings crash to the floor.

There are four scenes in the film which feature prominent shots of frogs. The first is early in the title sequence as the dog is running through the forest to meet the car; the second is as the earth is being thrown into Alice's grave; the third is seen as Granny and Rosaleen walk through the forest for the first time; the fourth occurs just prior to Rosaleen's encounter with the huntsman, where she finds a frog sitting on a stone.

The Company of Wolves is, first and foremost, a folkloric fairy tale, and taking this into consideration, frogs have a great deal of folkloric associations. For example, perhaps the prominence of frogs functions as a foil to contrast the nature of the werewolf. This refers to story of 'The Frog Prince', wherein a prince is turned into a frog by a witch and can only be turned back into a man by a kiss from his true love. A major component of this story is shapeshifting, as the frog turns into a Prince at the end of the story, when the heroin kisses it. Obviously, shapeshifting is also central to any story involving lycanthropy, but it is presented in The Company of Wolves as different from its presentation as found in 'The Frog Prince'. There, the shape shifting is a positive thing - the frog turns into a man, and he and his love live happily ever after. However, in The Company of Wolves, most of the characters regard the transformation of a person into a wolf as a hideous and terrifying event. As such, the prominence of frogs could simply be an allusion to the 'The Frog Prince', and by extension, frogs serve as a contrast to the central subject of the story; ie wolves.

It is worth noting however, that in the original version of 'The Frog Prince', the frog only turns back into a prince after the heroine has thrown it against the wall in disgust. This alludes to the less attractive folkloric connotations of frogs, which are often presented as evil creatures who associate with demons and devils. This may come from the fact that in the Middle Ages, frogs were often depicted as witches familiars. For example, although it isn't from the Middle Ages, one of the evil witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth carries a toad called Paddock. It was generally believed that witches used frogs in their worship of the Devil, often by mangling its body. As such, the frog was often seen specifically as a symbol of the Devil. This kind of belief is supported by the Bible, where frogs also have negative connotations. In Exodus 8:6 and Psalms 78:45 and 105:20 for example, the Second Plague visited onto Egypt is a torrential downpour of frogs ("Their land swarmed with frogs. Even in the chambers of their kings"). Similarly in Revelations 16:13, the Beast sends evil spirits from his mouth out into the world, which are compared with frogs ("And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs"). Taking all this into account, it can be seen that in folkloric terms, frogs were widely seen as having (negative) supernatural associations. As such, their appearance in the film could perhaps simply be a part of the fairy tale milieu (such as the presence of the snake for example), and carry no specific symbolism at all, beyond a general reference to folkloric mysticism.

In the end, however no solid answer is provided by the film one way or the other, and, as with many elements of the movie, each viewer must decide on the significance of the frogs, or lack thereof, for themselves.

He is the devil. When sitting in the churchyard with Rosaleen, Granny explains that if a priest's bastard is born on Christmas day, feet first and with eyebrows which meet in the middle, he is destined to meet the devil in the woods and become a werewolf. Which is exactly what happens to the young man in the story; he meets the Devil, who gives him a potion, which turns him into a wolf (although we only witness the beginning of the transformation process). According to the 'Behind-the-Scenes Dossier' booklet included with initial batches of the special edition DVD, "the devil rides through the forest in a silver car seeking out those who have been cast out from society. He provides them with the salve needed to turn from human into wolf, making them his fierce creatures of the night." This 'salve' possibly includes aconitum; a plant more commonly referred to as wolfsbane. The name comes from the medieval belief that aconitum, if eaten, smelled or worn, would turn the person who ate, smelt or wore it into a werewolf. This belief stemmed from the fact that aconitum was a common ingredient in witches' potions at the time.

However, there is perhaps more to the scene than simply the Devil turning a young boy into a wolf. It has often been argued by fans that each of the four stories told in the dream have a significance in and of themselves beyond their immediate narrative, and that they refer to a larger societal sphere. In relation to this particular story, it has been suggested that the story is a metaphor for how young men often want to rush puberty, they want hair to grow on their chests quickly, ie they are keen to become men. However, in the story, the young boy, in his desire to become a man prior to his time, is tricked by the Devil, who gives him a potion which instead of turning him into a man, turns him into a wolf. This aspect of the story, the fact that the young boy becomes a wolf, could refer to the fear that some men do experience during puberty. The transformation into a wolf represents the boy's discovery of his adult masculinity, and, in terror, he rejects it. However, he is trapped by it, unable to escape (as represented by the vines which weave around his legs), and in the end is forced to accept what it is he is becoming.

The primary theory as to the significance of the shawl which Granny gives to Rosaleen is that it is a symbol for her femininity and her developing sexuality. For example, according to the 'Behind-the-Scenes Dossier' booklet, the shawl "stands for the onset of menstruation, and the transition from girl to woman." In his essay 'The Dreaming and the Dreamt: A Lexicon of Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves', James Rose argues that the shawl


is primarily to keep Rosaleen warm but it also functions to conceal her developing body from the gaze of the village boys. Rosaleen makes her understanding of this duality clear in her dialogue. Upon receiving the shawl from Granny she says "soft as snow - red as blood". With this function made apparent by Rosaleen it is possible that the shawl itself is symbolic of the adolescent girl. She is on the cusp of puberty, a girl who is pure; a virgin who is experiencing, for the first time, sexual attraction, desires and fantasies. The shawl's colour is emotive of desire and of passion and, as will be identified later, menstrual blood. By the narrative's conclusion, the symbolic value of the red shawl makes explicit Rosaleen's final transformation. Just as the wolves have shed their human skin to reveal their true selves, Rosaleen is encouraged to reveal herself by shedding her shawl. Trapped inside Granny's cottage with The Huntsman, he tells her to take off her shawl and throw it into the fire. By doing so Rosaleen destroys the physical protection the shawl offered and as a result reveals her physical self - her clothed pubescent body - to the gaze of the Huntsman (quoted here).
In tandem with representing menstruation, protection and sexuality, the shawl could also represent childhood innocence. Rosaleen initially finds the shawl comforting, but later in the film, when the Huntsman tells her to throw it into the fire, she willingly does so. This scene could be read as Rosaleen's shedding of her childhood naivety and her embracing of adult sexuality, the realisation and acceptance of her 'new' body.

The bible verse quoted in the film during the church service is Isaiah 11:6-8 ("And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den"). This is a description of the harmony and lack of discord and enmity which will be found in Christ's kingdom. However, aside from the mention of wolves, and the thematically pertinent allusion to different species of animal mixing together, the passage seems to have no major symbolic significance.

When Rosaleen is out in the forest with the young village boy (Shane Johnstone), she runs away from him and climbs a tree. At the top of the tree is a stork's nest. The bird flies away, and Rosaleen looks into the nest, wherein she finds a group of eggs, a hand mirror and some lipstick. After putting on the lipstick, the eggs crack open to reveal their contents to be tiny baby statuettes. Rosaleen takes one, and upon returning to the village, she shows it to her mother, at which point the statuette sheds a single tear.

This scene has provoked a great deal of speculation amongst fans as to its meaning. On his DVD commentary track, director Neil Jordan makes the following point early in the film:


The one thing Angela [Carter] and I did not want [the film] to be was logical in a linear way, which might have caused problems for some people, but we wanted surreal elements in it, and we wanted elements that kind of came from nowhere, because the story is structured around a young girl's dream, and I wanted elements that were as unexpected as things that happen in a dream, a strange reality, they didn't need to actually be symbolic of anything. There are some deeply illogical things and images in the movie that are just there."
With this in mind, in relation to the nest scene, Jordan comments, "It's totally surreal. You can't explain it, you can't even say these elements are symbolic."

Nevertheless, as is the nature with much of this film, symbolic readings have indeed been hypothesised. For example, the 'Behind-the-Scenes Dossier' booklet says the scene "can be seen as the awakening of sexuality, and the power to give birth not only to a child, but to her own adult self." Along similar lines, James Rose suggests that

The symbolic value of these eggs obviously lies within the notion of birth and so makes the nest in which the eggs rest a surrogate womb. As Rosaleen watches the eggs hatch an analogy is made between what she is witnessing and the bodily changes she is undergoing. The eggs can be seen to represent Rosaleen's awareness for her capacity to give birth to not only to children but also to her adult self. Combined, these symbolic values imply the onset of her sexual awakening. These values are consolidated by the presence of the mirror and lipstick, both connotations of the adult that Rosaleen will eventually grow into (quoted here).
Other interpretations offered by fans tend to run along the same lines. Most arguments suggest that the meaning of the scene is that Rosaleen (in both the real world and the dream world) has reached puberty and can now have children, ie, her female sexuality has matured. This is reinforced when she brings one of the statues home to her mother, and there is a moment of silent acknowledgement between them, as if they both understand something which is unspoken, ie Rosaleen can now fulfill her 'function' as a woman; she can give birth.

Eggs are a symbol of fertility and rebirth in many cultures and religions (including Christianity), and as such, if the eggs are a symbol of fertility, it means that when Rosaleen finds the nest she is actually encountering a representation of her own maturing sexuality. It is perhaps significant that this encounter occurs immediately after what we suppose to be her first kiss with a boy, and immediately prior to the first appearance of the wolf in the film. The first kiss is merely the first step towards sexual maturity; all other steps will build on that kiss, until Rosaleen reaches the point where she is ready to experience animal sexuality (as represented by the wolf; see below for more on this theory). With this in mind then, a purely symbolic reading of the sequence is that the kiss leads to the wolf, and the end result are the eggs. The lipstick works in tandem with this, as it too seems to represent her new found maturity, and taken together with the mirror, they represent the vanity that comes with sexual development.

None of this however answers the question of why the statue cries. The reasons for the tear remain vague at best. Some fans have suggested the statue is crying because it never got a chance to become a real baby (due to Rosaleen's menstruation, the egg was 'killed'). Others suggest it is an allusion to the sadness of sexual maturity, and the inability to reclaim childhood innocence and wonder ever again. Whatever the case about the tear however (which remains one of the most ambiguous aspects of the film), the general consensus is that the statues themselves are part of the overall symbolic tapestry of Rosaleen's sexual maturation.

As mentioned above, it has been suggested that each of the four stories told within the dream have their own intrinsic meaning, and this story (the 3rd of 4) is no different. A standard interpretation of the scene is that it is illustrative of class struggle in the 18th century. The land-owning gentry commonly used and abused their workers and their workers' families due to their absolute domination of the social hierarchy. This was not seen as somehow nefarious or evil, but was a commonly accepted aspect of society. For example, in Ireland, a landlord in Longford named Richard Lovell Edgeworth gained great notoriety and infamy amongst his fellow landlords because he didn't mistreat or abuse or take advantage of his workers. Other landlords in the area thought this was abnormal behaviour, and many of them suspected him of being in league with the Irish peasants in their efforts to overthrow English rule, simply because he treated his workers well. This is a good example of how ingrained and acceptable such behaviour and abuse was.

Taking all of this into consideration, the scene could allude to this type of abuse, and the desperate action of the abused to exact some kind of revenge. The witch turns the gentry into their 'true' form; they act like wild animals, so she punishes them by literally turning them into wild animals. This is especially apparent in relation to the elderly woman who is seen greedily stuffing her mouth with food every time the camera cuts to her. Also important is the fact that the witch only turns the gentry into wolves, not the servants or musicians. Indeed, at the end of the transformation, the servants seem to approve of what the witch has done, perhaps agreeing that she has made the gentry appear on the outside how they truly are on the inside (which of course, is an important concept throughout the movie). As such, the scene represents the punishment exacted by a peasant on a member of an elitist class who has impregnated and abandoned her, and that punishment is to turn that class into wild animals, as that is how they present themselves anyway.

When the Huntsman decapitates Granny near the end of the film, her head is propelled across the room and crashes into the wall, whereupon it shatters and is seen to be made of porcelain. There are a number of theories as to the meaning behind this incident. Some fans suggest that it is simply a part of the dream environment, where every day normal things take on surreal characteristics (as Jordan himself says in his commentary; quoted above). Another theory is that the porcelain head is an element of Granny's determined and on-going efforts to preserve Rosaleen's innocence. However, as Rosaleen discovers (as will be explained below), shedding childhood innocence and becoming a sexually active young woman is not altogether a bad thing. As well as trying to protect Rosaleen's innocence, Granny is also deeply misandric, seemingly bearing a grudge for all men irrespective of their situation in life. Taking these two things into account, when Granny dies and Rosaleen chooses to discard her shawl (discussed above), it represents her discarding of the moralistic protection which Granny provided, thus enabling her to discover her maturity as she sees fit. As such, Granny's head is the last vestige of Rosaleen's innocence, and her head is made of porcelain as so too are many dolls' heads; that is to say, taking the doll as a symbol for childhood, when Granny dies, we see that she herself was the equivalent of a comforting child's toy. A third theory is that the porcelain head represents the easily shattered nature of Granny's questionable advice to Rosaleen. Additionally, because the head is empty, it is shown not only to be fragile, but also to have no real substance; ie Granny's beliefs are inherently useless and empty.

As with the other three stories told within the dream, the fourth story, commonly referred to as the 'Wolf-Alice story' ('Wolf-Alice' is the name of another short story by Angela Carter), also has hypothesised significance. A common reading of the story is that it represents the attempts of a woman to return to her childhood, but she quickly discovers that that is impossible. If we accept that Rosaleen's transformation into a wolf represents her sexual maturation and acceptance of adulthood (see below), it implies that when we first meet the she-wolf, it too has, at one time, also accepted her own sexuality and embraced adulthood. However, for some reason, the wolf is now attempting to return to its former childhood innocence. The she-wolf comes from the adult world ("the world below") and attempts to re-enter the world of her childhood ("the world above"). However, she quickly discovers that her childhood world no longer has a place for her (represented by the fact that she is shot). Ultimately, although she does find kindness in the form of the priest (Graham Crowden) in her childhood world, she realises that she can never return there, and so she goes back to her adult life, back to "the world below". This represents that fact that maturation cannot be reversed; once adulthood and adult sexuality are accepted, they become a part of you forever.

At the end of the dream narrative, when the hunting party arrive at Granny's cottage, they find two wolves; the huntsman and a wolf wearing the chain given to Rosaleen by her mother. Rosaleen's father tries to shoot the second wolf, but his wife prevents him, as she recognises that the wolf is in fact Rosaleen herself.

As with much of the symbolism of the film, several different theories have been posited as to the meaning of Rosaleen's transformation. Firstly, whilst looking at Angela Carter's original collection of short stories (in which Rosaleen's transformation into a wolf is also a major part) the 'Behind-the-Scenes Dossier' states that Carter


wanted to retell fairy tales such as 'Red Riding Hood', 'Beauty and the Beast', and 'Bluebeard' in a fashion that would make them relevant to modern women, to write about female characters that were empowered by their own sexuality, and to encourage her readers to embrace their desires in order to develop a healthy and individual adult identity...unhappy with the way that conventional fairy tales seemed to warn against sexuality and encourage girls to follow a conventional path towards marriage and restraint, Carter sought to reclaim the themes of danger and deviance that existed in earlier versions of the tales. At the heart of her stories is the animal nature of human sexuality and the inevitable corruption of childhood as individuals discover their desires. However, this corruption isn't necessarily evil, and a person's ability to form a healthy and meaningful adult identity depends on being able to embrace the sexual side of his or her personality, the animal within.
Although this quotation doesn't specifically refer to either the film or Rosaleen's transformation, it does summarise the main theory as to the significance of that transformation - that Rosaleen is accepting her adult sexuality, and is ready to mature and leave childhood behind.

Neil Jordan himself comments that

It's a film about storytelling, the central character being the grandmother. It's about the use of stories, and in the case of fairy tales, the main use is to teach young girls not to have sex with men, isn't it? The Company of Wolves is about how society teaches young women to look at themselves, and what to be afraid of. It's about a girl learning that the world of sensuality and the unknown is not to be feared, that it's worth getting your teeth into ('In the Company of Neil Jordan: Teaching Little Girls Not to be Afraid of Wolves', Interview between Neil Jordan and Michael Dare, first published LA Weekly, April 19, 1985. The complete article can be found here).
As such, a standard interpretation of Rosaleen's transformation is that she has become an adult woman quite willingly (this process began with the discovery of the eggs, which suggested that she was now ready to reproduce; and continued with her discarding of the shawl, which was seen to represent childhood comfort). As such, the transformation is a representation of Rosaleen's final sexual awakening. Ready to have children, and free of childhood security, she now takes the final plunge and embraces the "sexual side of her personality, the animal within." The huntsman has chosen Rosaleen as his mate (it is perhaps significant in this sense that wolves mate for life), and although initially scared and apprehensive, Rosaleen ultimately accepts that she too has animal desires, and she flees with her new found partner into the wild. They now both share the same animalistic urges, she is just like him, willing to become a "wolf", and embrace and explore her newly discovered sexuality.

This is presented in both film and book as essentially a good thing, a happy ending for Rosaleen. Additionally, it also has important implications in relation to the role played by men and women in sexual union. As mentioned above, Carter was very concerned with the pseudo-misogynistic elements of many fairy tales, which urged young girls to conform and to avoid sexuality. With this in mind, it is significant that the Huntsman sets out to seduce Rosaleen, but by the end of the film, she has basically seduced him. Rosaleen develops her own sexual aggression and, as her mother said earlier in the film, she proves the theory that if there is a beast in man, it meets its match in woman. Her interaction with the Huntsman at the end of the film is a literalisation of this concept - the wolf which was the Huntsman meets a similar wolf in Rosaleen. At the end of the dream, the wolf is no longer a symbol for the animalistic ways of man, but has now become a symbol for the animalistic ways of women as well. Rosaleen has grown up, and has accepted her sexuality, and at the end of the dream, she leaves to explore that sexuality with her new mate.

As Carole Zucker comments of the film, "It is manifestly an anxiety dream of a young woman searching, in psychoanalytic terms, for the integrity of her psyche, questing for identity, independence and sexual fulfilment" ('Sweetest Tongue has Sharpest Tooth: The Dangers of Dreaming in Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves', Literature Film Quarterly, 28:1, Spring 2000).

At the end of the film, the wolves from Rosaleen's dream apparently enter into the real world, congregating outside her door and waking her up. As she lies in bed, terrified, a wolf crashes through her window, and the film ends with the sounds of Rosaleen screaming.

This unusual ending has prompted more debate amongst fans and critics than perhaps the rest of the film put together. According to the 'Behind-the-Scenes Dossier', the end is a depiction of the final "end of innocence, demonstrated by the wolves that crash through the sleeping girl's window, knocking her toys and her childhood to the floor." We have seen Rosaleen accept adulthood in her dream, and now she is being forced to accept it in real life as well, and it is terrifying to her. As such, a basic interpretation of the scene is that it continues the metaphor established in the dream - the wolves stand for adult sexuality, the difference is that in the cold light of day, that sexuality is more intimidating than it was in an idealised form in the dream.

However, there is more to support this suggestion than merely the fact that in the dream Rosaleen turned into a wolf. Much of the film seems to posit a parallel between female puberty and lycanthropy. For example, when a girl enters puberty, she grows hair in unusual places (just like lycanthropes) and she goes through a monthly cycle (just like the moon; which is also important for lycanthropes), which can often make her bad tempered and aggressive (just like lycanthropes). At the beginning of the film, Alice tells her parents that Rosaleen is in bed complaining of "tummy ache"; could this tummy ache be the cramps of her first menstruation? If this is so, then Rosaleen is presented as having little choice in the matter; adulthood is taking over whether she likes it or not, and this is represented by the violent entry of the wolf into her bedroom. It is not a gentle and consensual acceptance as it was in the dream; it is sudden and terrifying, and Rosaleen is trapped, unable to escape from it (represented by the fact that there are wolves outside her door and wolves coming in through her window; she has nowhere to run). Significantly, as the first wolf bursts through the window, there are numerous slow motion shots of Rosaleen's childhood toys being destroyed, suggesting that her childhood is over and adulthood is about to 'consume' her (i.e. the advancing adulthood represented by the wolf is destroying her childhood, represented by her toys). Just like in the dream, Rosaleen is set to become a wolf; ie, she is set to become a sexual adult. Indeed, this seems to be confirmed by the fact that, if you look very closely when Rosaleen is screaming, you can see that her maxillary canines (her upper canines) have become slightly elongated, thus suggesting that her transformation into a wolf is beginning. Just as we saw in the dream, Rosaleen is becoming an adult.

However, in the dream, this transformation was presented as a positive thing, but in real life it seems to terrify her. Does this suggest that she still fears adulthood despite her acceptance of it in the dream world? In the dream, she is presented as willingly choosing to join the Huntsman, but in the real world, the appearance of the wolves terrify her. Why is this? Interestingly Neil Jordan comments on this very question on his DVD commentary. As the wolf bursts through the window, Jordan says, "Now if we're being entirely logical, she should look at this creature the same way she looked at the huntsman, with that same curiosity." In the dream, Rosaleen is fascinated by the sexuality of the Huntsman, and, by implication, her own developing animal sexuality, but in reality, when presented with something similar, she shirks away from it and resists it. Most fans read this simply as representing the fact that it is one thing to dream or imagine something, but it is entirely different to actually experience that something for real. In the real world, Rosaleen is wearing lipstick and her sister's dress. Clearly she is fascinated with adulthood, and as such, she dreams of her acceptance of the sexual nature of such adulthood. When she wakes up however, she realises that what she was dreaming about is really happening to her (hence the breakdown of the divisions between the dream world and the real world), and whilst in the dream she was given a choice as to whether or not to accept it, in reality, no such choice is possible; it is an onslaught she (and all children) are powerless to resist.

As with the she-wolf story, the violent entry of the wolves into her room, the shattering of her childhood toys, her screams, and her growing canines represent that fact that her childhood is over, and can never be returned to; the 'corruption' of adulthood is absolute. Her childhood innocence (represented by the shattered toys) is sacrificed so as to make way for her adult sexuality and maturity (represented by the wolves). With all of this in mind then, her screams seem simply to be her realisation that the choice she made in the dream is not a choice at all in reality, but is something she cannot avoid, and as such, is scared by it. Whatever the case about her scream however, the general consensus amongst fans of the film is that the entry of the wolf into her room is a continuation of the metaphor established in the dream - wolves represent adulthood and sexual maturity, and Rosaleen is about to begin experiencing both.

As the end credits begin to role, a female voiceover (there is debate amongst fans as to whether or not the voice is that of Sarah Patterson) quotes some lines of poetry: "Little girls, this seems to say/Never stop upon your way,/Never trust a stranger friend,/No-one knows how it will end,/As you're pretty, so be wise,/Wolves may lurk in every guise./Now, as then, 'tis simple truth:/ Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth."

This is a quotation from 'Le petit chaperon rouge', an early version of the Red Riding Hood story by Charles Perrault, translated into English by S.R. Littlewood in 1912. In Perrault's version of the fairy tale, there is no kindly woodsman who arrives in time to save Granny and Red Riding Hood by killing the wolf. Instead the story ends with the wolf eating both of them and getting away unpunished. The quoted poem serves as the moral of the story, and it functions as a warning, telling young girls to be cautious around men who seem suave and seductive, as such men could 'eat' them as the wolf did Riding Hood. Of course, in the film, this is the same message as espoused by Granny, a message that is shown to be essentially meaningless.

The R1 US DVD, released by Hen's Tooth Video in 2002 contains a stills gallery and two theatrical trailers.

The R2 UK Special Edition DVD, released by Granada Ventures in 2005 contains the following special features:

A feature length audio commentary with director/screenwriter Neil Jordan, moderated by DVD producer Robert Ross.

Original theatrical trailer

Stills gallery

The initial batch of Special Edition DVDs also contained a 20-page 'Behind-the-Scenes-Dossier' with stills from the film, behind-the-scenes photographs, artwork, trivia, biographical information and production notes. However, this booklet was not included in subsequent pressings of the DVD, and most copies of the film now in circulation do not have the booklet.

Yes it is, both the standard UK edition, released in 2007, and the US edition, released in 2009, contain only the audio commentary from the DVD. The theatrical trailer and stills gallery have not been ported over. There is also a Steelbook edition available in the UK, released in 2012, which does feature all the special features from the DVD, plus a DVD copy of the film.

Page last updated by Bertaut, 2 months ago
Top Contributors: Bertaut, CaffeineFever, bj_kuehl

r73731


Related Links

Plot summary Parents Guide Trivia
Quotes Goofs Crazy credits
Movie connections User reviews Main details