For some reason, the 1980 TV movie adaptation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” feels like the kind of movie that would be shown in public school classrooms on days when there was a substitute in the class; however, no one should ever use this movie as a substitute for reading the short story, because this version seems to be taking a few liberties with Washington Irving’s tale.
Ichabod Crane comes to town to teach in the one-room schoolhouse, but runs afoul of local thug Brom Bones by hitting on Katrina Van Tassel. There’s a love quadrangle here, though, because young widow Thelma is actually in love with Brom, although her father wants her to marry Ichabod. But weren’t there some ghosts in this story? Schoolmaster Crane is a skeptic in this version, until he meets the headless horseman. Also, there’s a former schoolmaster hanging around who may be a ghost, or maybe he’s just crazy. Will the viewer be as scared as Ichabod Crane?
The answer to that is a resounding no, but this Sunn Classics-produced NBC movie is a lot of fun, if only because Ichabod Crane is played by Jeff Goldblum, who seems to make almost everything better. Meg Foster is on hand with her lovely, creepy eyes as well. Although this one is for fanpersons and TV movie junkies only, I can’t say that I don’t recommend it. Bring your three-cornered hat and your sense of humor.