Occasional observations on music history and people who have made it.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Revisiting "Heaven's Gate"
In 1980 we were checking into a Best Western in Kalispell, MT when the cast from Heaven's Gate got off the bus and wandered through the lobby. I guess that's the reason I have always had a soft spot for Michael Cimino's magnificent flop. I watched it again recently just to see if it deserved the firestorm of bad reviews it got. While it was not that bad, it is still a series of episodes (some of them beautiful and some of them powerful with some great performances) in search of a story. While I can't really recommend watching it (unless you treat it like a miniseries and watch it in segments), it was fun to see Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges and Sam Watterston when they were young. And you can see the stylistic influences on many western films since then, especially the HBO series Deadwood. Nobody did gritty or dusty (or gun battles) as well as Cimino except Sam Peckinpah.
Despite some impossibly muddy soundtrack problems (at times it seemed like the horses were miked instead of the actors), the music is quite good, especially the kid who played the fiddle while roller skating. My reward for sitting through the movie was this gem from the credits:
The Heaven's Gate Band included T Bone Burnett