This dialogue-free Cliffhanger teaser — an arty-looking music video to the strains of Mozart’s Requiem “Dies Irae” — is without question one of the greatest and most inspiring film trailers ever cut by a mainstream Hollywood studio. The reason is that it made a mediocre and needlessly brutal action movie look classy and cool. Most trailers try to reach the lowest-common-denominator dolts. This one went for the PBS wine-and-cheese crowd, selling the choreography, Alex Thomson‘s awesome photography and the splendor of northern Italy’s Dolomite mountains.
I was totally sold on Cliffhanger after seeing it. And then, of course, I saw the film.
Was the Cliffhanger teaser-trailer included in IFC.com’s “50 Greatest Trailers Ever Made” article, which went up yesterday? Of course not. Does this omission call the legitimacy of the article into question? Yes, it does somewhat. Especially since it salutes this Zabriskie Point trailer, which has one of the most comically awful ad-copy narrations ever heard.