Review: Heavens Gate (1980): Minute by Minute

1 Jul

Simon continues his lauded celluloid odyssey through a Micheal Cimino’s maligned celluloid odyssey, Heaven’s Gate.

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The caption fades in. It reads “Harvard College Cambridge, Massachusetts 1870”. Judging from the wear on the tree in the left third of frame, I would have said 1871, but there’s no time for pedantry, because the man is running at alarming speed. Alas, no signs of hedges, nor of a hedge plot to set fire to aunties. There is instead the distant sound of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I thought the man may have been running to warn the band that the American Civil was over and the film was to be a story about a group of rogue Harvard students who, refusing to believe the war has ended, build a replica Abraham Lincoln out of cobble stones and surplus twine. But it quickly becomes apparent that the man is Kris Kristofferson and he’s running to join a parade. A friend calls Kristofferson “James”, revealing that Kris must be playing some sort of character who goes by this name. At any rate, James seems rather happy to be joining the parade. And who wouldn’t be? There are top hats as far as the eye can see! James takes in the merriment as the band marches through a suspiciously Oxford looking Harvard and John Hurt says something inaudible – probably about wagons. James also wears gloves.



One Response to “Review: Heavens Gate (1980): Minute by Minute”

  1. Ronan Macewan July 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    That was a pretty eventful minute. Quite a foreboding atmosphere…yet joyful.

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