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Days of Heaven (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Richard Gere works in a Chicago steel mill at the turn of the century, but must flee the city after accidentally killing a man. Heading for the wheat fields of Texas, he packs up his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and his younger sister (Linda Manz). Instead of a better life, they head straight into tragedy when a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) falls for Adams. Believing him to be dying and expecting to inherit a fortune, she agrees to marry him. Their plans change when Shepard fails to die and Gere takes matters into his own hands. Aesthetically flawless, this film about a romantic love triangle is diminished by the small scope of video. Originally shown in 70mm, it is an eye-catching period piece that won its cinematographer, Néstor Almendros, a 1978 Oscar. Texture and color are the unbilled characters in this tragic tale, and are just as important as the players. The story, sadly, fades somewhat when compared to the glory of the visuals. --Rochelle O'Gorman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The film surrounds a love triangle between a little girl's brother (Richard Gere), his lover (Brooke Adams) and her terminally ill farmer husband (played by Sam Shepard, who she married for the purpose of inheriting his money after his inevitable death). But this story isn't being told from the perspective of those three adults, but from the perspective of that little girl (played by Linda Manz, who hauntingly provides a voice-over of stunning power) who is, at the time, naive and unaware of the deeper regions of each adult's psyche. She is retelling a part of her life and coming to terms with it.
Many of the emotions and strong story points of the love triangle are, with dialogue, rather succinct. But what expresses the emotion is not their speech, but the landscape and nature itself. For instance, there is an intense moment of furious anger, and the oncoming danger is represented by a swarm of disgusting locusts, while the anger is presented as a thriving, uncontrollable power by an equally uncontained fire sprawling across the Texan prairie.Read more ›
"Days of Heaven" is set in the year 1916. America is becoming more and more industrialized as time goes on. In one Chicago steelmill, Bill (Richard Gere) attacks a foreman and is forced to go on the run. He takes along his girlfriend, Abby (Brooke Adams) and his younger sister Linda (Linda Manz) with him to Texas. The three of them find employment as laborers with a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) with Bill passing off Abby as his sister. Eventually, the farmer and Abby marry after Bill tells her he discovered that the farmer is ill and will soon die. Once the farmer passes away, Bill and Abby will be able to live off his wealth and leave behind their nomadic lifestyle. However, the farmer manages to hold onto his health and tragedy strikes when he eventually discovers the true relationship between Bill and Abby.
All of the praise "Days of Heaven" has received over its visual splendor is well deserved. Malick has always had an eye for filming nature in all its beauty and the way he employs the sky, the streams, the wheat fields, and the animals of the prairies in his narrative essentially establishes nature itself as a character in the film. The musical score of Ennio Morricone is equally compelling and perfectly captures the varying moods the characters go through.Read more ›
The central message here is that the overwhelming beauty of life offers a vision of a heaven on earth, a reality which many people trade away for an unseen, apocalyptic and perhaps nonexistant mythology. The happiest characters here are not those obesessed with material gain but rather those who find happiness with the fruits of their honest labors, whatever riches they may or may not bring. The characters who insist on something they have not earned start a chain reaction of events that eventually decide their fate. Bill trades Abby's love for the hopes of inheriting the farm. The Farmer, in his jealousy, foolishly sacrifices his life and Abby's love in defense of something already that is already secure.
Folks, this is the Gospel according to Terrence Malick. This is a story Jesus might have told if Edison had just been a bit quicker with the motion picture camera. It is my favorite movie of all time because, in its scenic spendor and spare and simple plotline, this modern parable is a continuing reminder to me that in the world in which I live we are all in this together.
Most recent customer reviews
Used but as new. A movie which has developed an enthusiastic following for its photography. Its Oscar for just that was well-deserved. Read morePublished 5 months ago by gwhunter
How fitting it is that the best movie Richard Gere has ever done, and will ever do, is the one where he probably talks the least. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by M. Burns
This film should really be given the attention it deserves but it appears that this copy is the best we'll get for some time to come. Read morePublished on April 19 2004
No care was taken into the transfer to DVD. It looks like a 2nd generation copy to me. A shame that no attention was paid this beautiful film. Read morePublished on March 15 2004 by Amazon Customer
Although that might sound interesting to all of you Malick and wheat lovers out there, it is not. Yes, there are about 10 or 11 shots in the movie that are beautiful. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004
I keep going back to it. Christ said, "Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Wow, does 'Days of Heaven' ever drive that one home. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by steve geertsen
Many who have read quite a number of John Steinbeck's books (preferably Of Mice and Men)can notice the influence toawrds Malick's metaphysical love story. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by Jeremy
In 1916, Industrial change takes on, man moved by the will to undo their poverty became the hand that moved the machine in exchange for money, their employers became more richer... Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2003 by Adrian Duran Sanchez