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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've always thought this was one of the best movies ever to have been produced in Hollywood. This bluray edition is superb; a restoration supervised by Michael Cimino... Read morePublished 7 days ago by K. Cole
Visually spectacular, sets are excellent ... some great acting from the entire cast, although female lead was miscast as a western frontier prostitute. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
I hesitate to mention it, but I will: in 1994 I drove to Montana specifically to see where Heaven's Gate was filmed. I talked to the owner of one filming location. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Eternal... Build suspense, beautifully filmed, excellent acting -- a really fine film, but, yeah, eternally long.Published 2 months ago by Martha Ann Kennedy
This movie digresses more than Mort Sahl. My suggestion for successful viewing of Heaven's Gate? Give up on the storyline; just enjoy it for the incredible cinematography and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ed Kaz
I waited until last week to go to a store and pay full price because I wanted to get the latest version of the Criterion Collection of Heaven's Gate, which had two DVD discs with... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bruce P. Barten
Excellent film. History depicted well. Kristofferson shines.Published 4 months ago by Dr. Lon S. Aucker
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yes, please, the restored blu-ray criterion edition...not sure how much extra footage is out there - Cimeno reportedly put a screwdriver through some celluloid he had stored in his garage - but whatever we can get would flesh out the story and also make it even more gorgeous....truly, a great... Read More
Aug 19, 2011 by J. Harlow | See all 3 posts
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