Heaven's Gate (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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
This is a difficult movie to review, some parts of it are spectacular, and others are pretty poor.
The visual images created are stunning , the cinematography is... Read more
It's flawed but it has elements which are very clever and worthy of imitation.Published 11 days ago by Ellen T Kelleher
incredibly boring dance scenes, music nonsense, etc. Had to sit thru 1 1/2 hours of hogwash before real story started. By that time i was so bored I shut it off. Read morePublished 11 days ago by S. D. Becker
This film is undeserved of the bad publicity that ran it into the ground. I watched this after hearing of Cimino's passing, knowing nothing of this movie except it's horrible... Read morePublished 12 days ago by tonydidyouknow
This is a great movie. It is really sad that it has such a bad history. The movie could have easily been hailed as a triumph and one of the great all time movies. Read morePublished 15 days ago by mars198
This is a beautiful movie to watch and appreciate. It is not surprising that it was a commercial failure. Read morePublished 22 days ago by S. L. Starr
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