Heaven's Gate (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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I first saw the butchered, approximately 2+ hours version in the theaters several years ago and had to agree that it was pretty bad: incoherent, of course... badly edited...in both sight and sound. At the time it reminded me of those badly made European productions in which every actor is speaking a different language and after the fact, the film is dubbed into Italian or French. The film was literally a mess.
In its glorious 3-½-hours+ state, though, "HG" is a pleasure to behold. It is a grand saga dealing with greed, the loss of innocence and how money corrupts...to name a few issues it tackles. It's scope is on the grand scale of such films as Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard," Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" and Bernardo Bertolucci's "1900." What makes these films special, thoughtful and important though is that they all tell their stories from the personal perspective of individuals: and "Heaven's Gate" does this as well...in the person of Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson).
The film is gorgeous to behold (Vilmos Zsigmond was the photographer) but one big scene bears mentioning: the scene shot in the huge dance hall (actually called Heaven's Gate) in which the entire town is in attendance, everyone roller-skating to fiddle music, several cameras swirling around with the crowd...so involving, so dynamic as to take your breath away.Read more ›
Consider the grandeur of the film, which begins with Averill 's attendance of a graduation speech given my Joseph Cotton, Harvard Dean. It took me several viewings to notice that his speech presents the central theme of the movie (idealism and the taming of the lawless West, because Cimino purposely distracts the viewer with cuts to the antics of John Hurst who makes fun of the seriousness of the speech. This is followed by a scene of the graduation dance comprised of scores of extras in nineteenth-century suits and gowns waltzing in Harvard Yard (actually Oxford), which ends with a riotous free for all as the men beat each other as they scramble for the ladies bouquets atop a tree in the year. The theme of beauty vs. violence, which also underlies the movie.
And there is much spectacle to come: poor immigrants perched atop empty train cars as the locomotive steam engulfs them as it trails backward.
Then there is the greatest set piece in the movie, the roller skating rink where the immigrants circle while a Cajun band plays, ending with a solo waltz for James
Averill and Ella Watson, the town Madam played by the young and gorgeous Isabelle Huppert.Read more ›
Thank God for home video! While heavily censored TV prints of HEAVEN'S GATE still run 149 minutes, the uncut 219 minute roadshow version (which importantly never got a theatrical run for the general public) is available on letterboxed videocassette and DVD.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is excellent! I recommend reading the booklet to help before viewing. This is a film that is disjointed without some preparation ( the story skips ahead 20 years!). Read morePublished 15 days ago by J. Perman Roberts
I found the description somewhat misleading because I expected the soundtrack to be separated by itself. I was disappointed when I found out it was only in the movie itself. Read morePublished 16 days ago by e-tech
Panned (bad reviews) when it came out, but has become almost a cult classic. The skate scene is unbelievable. The whole thing is mesmerizing. The cast is unbelievable. Read morePublished 25 days ago by DeaB
PROBLEM STREAMING WITHIN BANDWIDTH CONSTRAINTS
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF OTHERS HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM.
Waste of 3.5 hours! There was maybe an hour of action. And it was really depressing all the way through. And the scenes where everyone was speaking - was it Russian? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cindy Westcott
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