Heaven’s Gate (1980): Minute by minute: part 7

23 Jul

Simon continues his lauded celluloid odyssey through a Micheal Cimino’s maligned celluloid odyssey, Heaven’s Gate. His minute spent with this film is most likely taking on an increasingly spiritual significance in his life.

7 of 229

At last! After the drama of the opening credits and intensity of the band, Heaven’s Gate reveals a lighter side.

Believe it or not, it comes in the guise of John Hurt and some off-the-wall hijinx. If you play this minute backwards through a violet filter you soon realise that Hurt’s clowning is a clever distraction. While Hurt hilariously puts his top hat onto a head that is not his, numbers and phrases appear that signpost it’s only another four minutes to go until the famous eleventh minute of Heaven’s Gate – sixty seconds that Michael Cimino himself claimed was “the greatest minute ever captured on celluloid”. What will that minute portray? The beach? Stress balls? At this stage only the wisest of mystics would hazard a guess through fear of getting it wrong and being shunned by their oracle friends, consequently resulting in being unwelcome at soothsayer dinner parties. But let us remove the violet filter and get back to the John Hurt comedy showcase.

The focus of the comedy is his interruptions of a valedictory speech. It makes you want to cast him as the zany sidekick in a film about a straight-laced man who finds himself mistaken for a blackjack champion, in trouble with the mob, and forced to play cards to save his life and the comparatively more attractive woman he loves. It’d be called “Double Down” and would go straight to video – literally. It would not be put on DVD, but rather some outdated media such as VHS or Beta.

A gnu

A gnu

Anyway, I will leave you with the phrase that closes the minute, “it is not great wealth alone that builds the library”. Mmm, put on some violet tinted glasses, say it backwards and mull on that.

Read the previous 6 minutes by clicking on this sideways smiling face 🙂


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