August 25, 2013

"Heaven's Gate"

I finally got around to watching a small fraction of Michael Cimino's famous flop of 1980, the epic Western Heaven's Gate. It's being critically re-evaluated following a Criterion DVD release last year. 

It appears to have been before it's time, as it's now being celebrated for exposing how rich white capitalists hated immigrants. You may have been under the impression that American capitalists favored mass immigration as a source of cheap labor, while the opposition to immigration came from labor, Progressive reformers, and the like, but that just shows you know a suspicious amount about history. What are you? An anti-ignorite?

"Heaven's Gate" is very long, but there are some staggering scenes in it. For example, check out the shot of the waltz after the 1870 Harvard graduation from 0:17 to 0:43 in the above clip. This tops even Cimino's endless Russian wedding celebration in the first 45 minutes of his 1978 Oscar-winning fever dream The Deer Hunter.

Granted, this waltz scene is goofy. This is a cowboy shoot-em-up movie, not a musical or a huge budget Student Prince operetta. And why is a middle-aged Kris Kristofferson finally graduating from college? Is his fraternity buddy played by Roddy McDowell, or is he that guy with the Alien in his chest? And in either case, isn't McDowell/Hurt a little old for Harvard? Is that Harvard, or is Harvard not picturesque enough for Cimino, so he filmed it at Oxford? And why after a couple of minutes of dancing does the film seem to jump backwards an hour in time to the newly graduated boys playing ring-around-the-rosey and brawling? 

Presumably, it's just all the Scarface-sized piles of cocaine consumed on the set, but who knows?

Then the movie jumps forward a couple of decades to the famous Johnson County War between big and small cattle ranchers. 

You may be surprised, however, to learn that Wyoming in 1892 was completely covered in Huddled Masses. Kristofferson, now the Marshall of Johnson County, is the only passenger inside the train carriage, while hundreds of impoverished immigrants cling to the roof, like it's the night train to Calcutta. Then, the immigrants trudge in a vast sea of humanity across the barren High Plains toward the looming Rockies. Why have so many chosen such a dry, cold destination? Perhaps they are going to Butte to work in the mines? No, they are just going out into the picturesque emptiness to farm or ranch or rustle cattle or do whatever it is that people who aren't music publishers and costume designers like normal folks (i.e., Cimino's parents) do.

Vincent Canby's famously destructive review in the New York Times' began:
''HEAVEN'S GATE,'' Michael Cimino's gigantic new western and his first film since the Oscar-winning ''The Deer Hunter,'' is apparently based on a historical incident that occured in Johnson County, Wyo. in 1890: with the tacit approval of the state government, the county's wealthy cattle barons banded together in a systematic attempt to murder more than 100 German, Bulgarian, Russian and Ukrainian settlers who were encroaching on their lands. If one can say nothing else on behalf of ''Heaven's Gate'' (and I certainly can't), it's probably the first western to celebrate the role played by central and eastern Europeans in the settlement of the American West.

Was Canby surprised about his ignorance of the giant role of immigrants in Wyoming history because nobody much cares about Slavs? Or was it because Cimino just made up the whole immigrant angle?

You can't really blame Canby for not knowing anything more than Cimino did about the history. They didn't have Wikipedia back then. Today, however, you can look up "Heaven's Gate" in Wikipedia and read:
Apart from being set in Wyoming and the fact that many of the characters have the names of key figures in the Johnson County War, the plot and the characters themselves have almost no relation to the actual historical people and events.[12] While there were certainly small numbers of settlers arriving in northern Wyoming, there were not hordes of poor European immigrants streaming en masse,[13] let alone killing rich men's cattle out of hunger.  

For example, the names of some of the small ranchers and their allies in the Johnson County War who were attacked by the big ranchers include Tom Waggoner, Nate Champion, Ellen Watson, Jim Averell, John A. Tisdale, Orley “Ranger” Jones, and Willis Van Devanter. The Johnson County War, as more accurately depicted in Open Range with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner as small timers shooting it out with the big money boys, was actually Old Americans v. Old Americans.

But we've got the Internet now, so the critics who are revisiting Heaven's Gate at their leisure are  .... as well-informed about the immigration aspect as Canby working against deadline was in 1980. For example, NPR reported last December:
With that conflict established, the movie slowly, slowly, slowly builds to the actual historical event known as the Johnson County War between mercenary killers and immigrants. And it must be said that this showdown actually feels more timely now — in this era of Occupy Wall Street and fierce battles over immigration — than it did at the very beginning of the Reagan era, when the film's gutbucket Marxism ran against the prevailing cultural mood.

Oh, well.

Speaking of World War T, for recent photographs of Cimino and accompanying rumors, see here.

97 comments:

TGGP said...

On the bright side, that NPR story has a comment in response that I would have suspected to be the result of someone reading this very post if the timestamp weren't for nine months ago.

pat said...

While you are in a reconsideration mood you might want to reconsider Peter Berg's directorial competence. You were awfully hard on him last week.

I caught "The Rundown" last night on Netflix. It's the very model of a light hearted action adventure with quite spectacular camera work.

There is a white man oppressing the natives angle but it's not too distasteful. It's hard to fashion an action plot without some evil white guy.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

That doesn't look like Harvard. Harvard doesn't have gothic architecture like that. Harvard is mainly Georgian architecture, plain red brick buildings and the like.

FredR said...

It's interesting that the novel that began the whole Western genre, The Virginian, takes place in the same setting, although there the titular hero made a living lynching cattle rustlers for the 'big money boys'. There's no immigrant angle in that book either.

Henry Canaday said...

Architecture is not Harvard’s long suit, and reality is not Cimino’s. He made a movie after “Heaven’s Gate” about Chinese criminal gangs in New York. Totally forgettable, except that there were several scenes of astounding beauty. And after all the hoopla, the only thing memorable about “The Deer Hunter” was that: 1) it was not agitprop Left; and 2) some of the scenes in rural Pennsylvania were unbelievably beautiful.

Anonymous said...

"Is that Harvard, or is Harvard not picturesque enough for Cimino, so he filmed it at Oxford?"

DEER HUNTER's scenery is hilarious. A bunch of guys in Pittsburgh for a weekend hunting trip, and this is surely into the Appalachians. But it was not grandiose enough for Cimino, so he used the Rockies in Washington state. It looks great but for anyone who knows anything about American geography, it's hilarious.

Reminds me of Dwight MacDonald's review of THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Stevens visited the Holy Land but didn't find it grandiose enough for the 'greatest story', so he shot some of the footage in the Grand Canyon. So, sermon on the mount became sermon on the mountain.
Funniest movie review of all time.

Anonymous said...

I remember from reading a Teddy Roosevelt biography that TR had a ranch somewhere in the Dakotas he hung out in for a while. It was mainly real cattle ranchers out West - big timers and small time cowboys - and rich East Coasters like TR who set up ranches as a hobby. It wasn't a magnet for immigrants or many people in general, for obvious reasons.

Steve Sailer said...

Right, the Pennsylvanian deer hunters pile into their car after the wedding celebration, drive all night, and in the morning arrive at spectacular North Cascades National Park northeast of Seattle.

Anonymous said...

I think HEAVEN'S GATE is to DEER HUNTER what INTOLERANCE was to BIRTH OF A NATION.

BIRTH was a great success for Griffith but also stirred up a lot of controversy, so he tried to show another side of him with the epic-ly ambitious INTOLERANCE, which was a total flop.

DEER HUNTER was a big success but then there was a huge backlash and it was condemned as 'racist' and 'jingoistic'.
Its success gave Cimino the chance to make a film as big or bigger than INTOLERANCE but the criticism of DEER HUNTER may have made him make something more like a 'leftist' movie.

But both films are utter crap as far as truth is concerned. As John Simon wrote in his review of DEER HUNTER, just what the hell is the Viet Cong doing playing Russian Roulette with US POWS by the riverside patrolled by US copters? It seems like the only thing the Viet Congs care about is gambling for money and watches. In fact, the reason why the Viet Cong were such fierce fighters was because they believed in a 'spiritual' cause, whereas the corrupt South Vietnamese regulars felt like paid mercenaries of the Americans.

And just how did the Walken character survive so long playing the freaking Russian Roulette? And how cheesy that he dies just when he says it's gonna be his last pull of the trigger.

But DEER HUNTER still works on the level of veteran's drama, and some of the after-war scenes of Deniro are really affecting. It also has the only Streep performance I like and can stand. She is so very convincing as a slavic daughter of a working class family in an industrial town. It's so beautifully-poignantly performed that it hurts.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that Cimino figured out how to do one type of scene--the Russian wedding scene from the Deer Hunter--and kept repeating it. It's a great scene, but it's not a substitute for a story, and repetition reduces its power.

It's been a while since I've seen Heaven's Gate, but as I recall he had at least three scenes like that--the Harvard graduation, the hardware store scene, and some sort of immigrant dance/party, plus maybe the climactic battle. When he didn't know what to do he'd throw in one of these hugely expensive cast-of-dozens set pieces, and he didn't know what to do much of the time.

Anonymous said...

People probably envision Harvard as having the "collegiate gothic" look but it's actually a bunch of dreary brick buildings, something you'd imagine Puritans setting up.

Larry, San Francisco said...

John Sayles at around the same time made a great movie called Matewan about the West Virginia coal war in the 1920's. It did have the requisite sympathetic immigrant group but was mainly about the old townspeople. Leftwing of course, but well worth watching.

Anonymous said...

i always find it funny that no matter what the time period the film is supposed to be, there are always give-aways about when it was made.

Also< i can't imagine harvard grads doing this on the lawn in what 1879?

Anonymous said...

According to Wiki, Cimino's made nothing but bombs since The Deer Hunter.

He seems visually very talented though, but relatively weak as a writer/director. Perhaps he would've been a very good cinematographer.

Anonymous said...

Italians and Italian-Americans love scale and go for the operatic touch.

I read the actual town of Corleone was rather drab, so Coppola used another town that looked more picaresque and grandiose.

Pauline Kael said of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, the reason why the immigrant kids were milling about the streets was because the spaces were so crammed in the buildings, but Fat Moe's restaurant is gigantic. (And actual western saloons were rather smallish but they are as big as football stadiums in Leone's westerns.)
And the lockers were cleared every few days in the train station but Leone brushed aside such facts as mere realism. Who cares about reality when you got the inspired vision? I guess it's like Roman Catholic Church pushed any kind of relic or 'miracle' as real. The beauty of myth is more important that what really might have been.

Though John Ford westerns(indeed just about any western) were hardly real or true to source(every Jesse James or Wyatt Earp movie is 99% BS), there was at least the admittance and lamentation that 'when legend becomes fact, print the legend'. But Italian/Americans seem to celebrate than mourn this fact. When the legend becomes opera, just sing!

Anonymous said...

"John Sayles at around the same time made a great movie called Matewan about the West Virginia coal war in the 1920's."

Well-made but one of those do-goody movies that, while pretending to be Art and serious look at history, turns everything into cops and robbers where the communist is noble and capitalists are eeeeeeevil.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, it's just all the Scarface-sized piles of cocaine consumed on the set, but who knows?


Judging from the review, sounds as if all the creative workers on this film were all on drugs. If Vincent Canby wasn't too impressed at the time....wow. And according to wiki, Cimino hasn't made a box office success since the Deer Hunter. It's been all flops. Much like William Friedkin's career after the Exorcist. Got lucky on a couple projects, and all flops the rest of the way.

This type of meandering style of direction, bordering on incomprehensibleness if not messed up in the head, kind of reminds one of Oliver Stone and also Milos Foreman to a lesser extent.

On and on and on and on with no coherent point in sight. Apparently some filmmakers wet dreams are more worth funding than others.

Anonymous said...

Cimino had something of a comeback with YEAR OF THE DRAGON, a trashy Chinatown gangster movie that I thought was lots of fun back in the 80s. Haven't seen it for a long time. Mickey Rourke was cool.
But again, he was attacked in some quarters for 'racism' and blah blah.
Politically, it is a very confused movie, drudging out all the old stereotypes while also blowing them full of holes.
John Lone is very good in it.

Maybe Cimino was reacting to the fact that the Italian part of NY was then being pushed aside by the arrival of lots of Chinese. And it must be said, 'too many Chinese' did ruin much of the charm around the Italian parts of town.

Anonymous said...

FredR said...
It's interesting that the novel that began the whole Western genre, The Virginian, takes place in the same setting, although there the titular hero made a living lynching cattle rustlers for the 'big money boys'. There's no immigrant angle in that book either.


That's because historically speaking, the only visible major immigrant groups on a fairly large scale to the old west were: Irish and Chinese. Both were employed to help build the railroads. Aside from that, you dont find massive hoardes of Italians, Slavs, Russians, or out of the way countries that just so much had to immigrate to Wyoming, Kansas, and Colorado.

Most of the immigrants came via the Atlantic which means that they would "stop off" so to speak, in NYC first. Since many Russians and other Eastern Europeans were Jewish, they would've stayed in NYC

Anonymous said...

For recent photographs of Cimino and accompanying rumors, see here.

He used to look like Jon Lovitz, now he looks like a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

2) some of the scenes in rural Pennsylvania were unbelievably beautiful.

Yeah, Northeast Washington state never looked better. Fact: very little of the film was made in Pgh area. Why didnt he just set the film outside Seattle? Few would've really cared.

anony-mouse said...

'That doesn't lo0ok like Harvard'.

My understanding is that for authenticity's sake Cimono had his crew go to Oxford England to shoot the Harvard scenes.

Of course no one in the actual Johnson County Wars went to Harvard, including the character Kristofferson plays, who BTW, was killed before the Wars in question broke out.

Anonymous said...

"With that conflict established, the movie slowly, slowly, slowly builds to the actual historical event known as the Johnson County War between mercenary killers and immigrants"

The PC gulag doesn't need physical camps. The mass media build the camp walls electronically through distorting information.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Mel Gibson's PATRIOT and BRAVEHEART have anything to do with reality either. All these movies are to be seen as entertainment.

MISSISSIPPI BURNING displeased some liberals cuz it showed the FBI in a positive light when it, then under Hoover, was no ally of the Civil Rights Movement. And Pat Buchanan wrote a column attacking the film as simplistic, with saintly blacks on one side and eeeeeeevil whites on the other.

Anyway, I did get around to seeing HEAVEN'S GATE on VHS in the 90s and found it very impressive pictorially but a meandering mess dramatically. Also, as much as I like Kris Kristofferson, a movie that size needed a stronger central character to pull it together. Kris is just too laid back. In Peckinpah's CONVOY, he's says, "I'm not leading, I'm just out in front." He has the same attitude in HEAVEN'S GATE: I'm not the center, I just happen to be in the center. He has such lack of centrifugal force that the film never comes together.

Even so, I thought the critical reception at the time was hysterically hostile. (And compared to the kind of superhero kiddie crap movies made today, it looks downright heroic.) I wouldn't call it a noble failure cuz Cimino was too much of a self-absorbed prick, too destructive and selfish. But it is a stunning work at times. Robin Wood called it the greatest western of all time. No way, but it does have something of greatness.

I recall watching Ebert and Siskel totally trash the film when it came out and they were the big guys on TV and so I thought it was utterly worthless, but when I came upon a Robin Wood piece much later, I got interested in the film, and it is a magnificent failure. The bad things are horrible and stupid but there are marvels not found in any other film. I just wished Cimino had worked as art director and someone else had directed everything else.
Malick's DAYS OF HEAVEN has some of the same problems, with the images and beauty threatening to engulf the rather thinly drawn characters, but dramatically at least it didn't chew off more than it could swallow, and it is mercifully less than 2 hrs whereas HEAVEN'S GATE, like 1900, goes on for freaking forever. (Tree of life, otoh, is almost entirely worthless with almost nothing to redeem it, which certainly isn't the case with HEAVEN's GATE).

HG tries to be everything--10 commandments, seven samurai, duel in the sun, giant, once upon a time in the west, godfather, 1900, Gance's Napoleon, Doctor Zhivago, Gone with the Wind, the anti-western, New Hollywood gritty realism, the Emigrants, the New Land--and suffers from indigestion.

A truly successful film of its kind is BIG TRAIL by Raoul Walsh, an epic saga of the Western experience. But that was a huge bomb too. Kobayashi's HUMAN CONDITION is a gigantic epic movie too but works better than HEAVEN'S GATE because of its dogged sense of moral conscience against the backdrop of cruel history.

In contrast, HEAVEN'S GATE nullifies its own moral point by putting all those poor immigrants in the middle of nowhere and then going off on its own to take in all the gorgeous scenery and side stories about romance and stuff. Thus, it seems as though the immigrants aren't so much suffering from 'racist' oppression of rich wasps as dying of exposure and neglect after Cimino(playing Moses) dragged them to a wilderness and left them with no food while he ran off with all the supplies to go sightseeing with the elite members of the crew.

Hey, where's the director? Why did he leave us stranded like this in the middle of who knows what?

Anonymous said...

It's funny how often we hear liberal critics complain that films like BIRTH OF A NATION are not truthful to history and the films of the Nazi era, especially those of Veit Harlan and Leni Riefenstahl, are evil for their lies.

But they never complain about all the historical or biographical distortions in films that push an anti-white or anti-conservative line. If anything, they laud it and sing along, as if history is just one big musical.

Greengrocer's' apostrophe said...

It's time its time has come.

Anonymous said...

Apparently it's "soaking up acclaim" now.

Why is it being rehabilitated now? Do you really think it's just the immigration angle?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Gate_%28film%29#2012.E2.80.9313_re-release_and_acclaim

"In the fall of 2012, the film was re-released to acclaim (described as "soaking up acclaim") as a 216-minute "director's cut" at the 69th Venice Film Festival[27][28][29] on August 30 in the presence of Cimino, followed one month later by screening at the New York Film Festival,[10] and then at the Festival Lumière in France. Venice Festival director Alberto Barbera described the film as an "absolute masterpiece" that had disappeared, and whose 1980 cutting was characterized as a "massacre" by nervous producers and had been "one of the greatest injustices of cinematic history" that had destroyed careers (Cimino and Kristofferson) following "annihilat[ing]" critical reviews.[10]

In March 2013, the new director's cut was again featured back in New York City in a week-long run screening at the Film Forum. A major article by NY Times critic Manohla Dargis opined that the film's "second coming...brightens a murky, legendary work of art" in a restoration that also "reveals the contradictions of a great flop."[15]"

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a movie made around the same time that was like a sci-fi Western about a future US with a polygamous cowboy king type guy, I think played by Robert Duvall or something? I get that movie confused with this one all the time.

Anonymous said...

Funny how after this mishmash of history came Warren Beatty's REDS in '81. A massive, MASSIVE box office flop that for years wasn't even released on VHS.

But, Warren got the Director's Oscar. Such a "courageous" performance to play a US Commie Party founder who went to early USSR.

Mr. Anon said...

"Speaking of World War T, for recent photographs of Cimino and accompanying rumors, see here."

Wow, that's weird. Cimino went from looking like Jon Lovitz to looking like Johnny Depp in "Willy Wonka".

Has any director ever allowed his own meglomania to hose up his career as much as Cimino did? I can't think of any who came close - not even Francis Ford Coppula or Orson Welles.

I had once read that Cimino wanted to use live ammunition in some of the scenes in "Heaven's Gate".

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much like William Friedkin's career after the Exorcist. Got lucky on a couple projects, and all flops the rest of the way."

"Sorceror" (1977) would have done better if it hadn't been scheduled to be released a month or so after "Star Wars". It probably would have still been a financial flop though, given how much it cost. I believe that "To Live and Die in L.A." (1986) was a passable success. Not a huge hit, but not a flop. And it was a good movie. Your point is generally apt though. Pity. I always thought that Friedkin had real talent.

"This type of meandering style of direction, bordering on incomprehensibleness if not messed up in the head, kind of reminds one of Oliver Stone and also Milos Foreman to a lesser extent."

At least Stone's movies are seldom boring.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

But, Warren got the Director's Oscar. Such a "courageous" performance to play a US Commie Party founder who went to early USSR."

The interlude scenes in "Reds" with all those withered old commies talking about the old days, when they were young and gay and assisting the Red Terror, always sickens me. However, I always laugh at the scene at the end where Reed dies of medical neglect in a communist hospital. Now that's funny.

Anonymous said...

Other than the photography its a big fucking mess. Only phonies pretend to like it.

Start with the casting. Kris Kris as a western leading man? He could never act worth a damn. Jeff Bridges? Isabelle who?

agnostic said...

Slavic cattle rustlers... perhaps accompanied by a caravan of Chinese riding on top of camels?

Harry Baldwin said...

From the NPR review: And it must be said that this showdown actually feels more timely now — in this era of Occupy Wall Street and fierce battles over immigration — than it did at the very beginning of the Reagan era, when the film's gutbucket Marxism ran against the prevailing cultural mood.

Those of us who remember NPR from that period can testify that gutbucket Marxism never ran against its prevailing cultural mood.

In the photos at the link provided, Cimino really does look like a plastic surgery fiasco. Joan Rivers must hold the record for someone valiantly holding back the hands of time, and I have to admit she doesn't look as bad as you would expect. (Admittedly I don't have HD TV.)

Anonymous said...

I always thought that Friedkin had real talent.


He did at the start. He's got his French Connection Oscar. But a few yrs back, when he's yelling at his then wife Sheri Lansing (who helped get him a directing job when few would anymore) that's biting the hand that feeds you. Remember the old tinseltown line: "you're only as good as your last picture". And if all you have lately are flops, well then....



At least Stone's movies are seldom boring.

And his films dont gross much either. Certainly not compared with Spielberg and Cameron. Everyone in history class was dragged to JFK, we were all told to write letters to our congressmen to re-open the Warren Investigation into JFK's death.

Liberal lefty professors. And that was cause they all wet their pants over a movie!

OMG...11.22.63! ANOTHER 50yr anniversary! The 60s don't ever end do they?

Next yr it's Beatlemania. And all about the alleged African American connection, civil rights, Vietnam.

Can't the 60s, just like, FADE AWAY....into history?
Please?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for 2014, anniversary of Civil rights act.

2015- anniversary of Voting rights act. Immigration act, Watts riots
2016 - Miranda and NOW founded
2017 - Six day War; Detroit Riot
2018 - Assassination of RFK and MLK.\
2019 - Woodstock!!!

Anonymous said...

Kris Kris as a western leading man?

I rather liked him in Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, though he wasn't quite a leading man there.

That movie had every character actor in Hollywood: Chill Wills, Harry Dean Stanton, Slim Pickens, Luke Askew.... Like Heaven's Gate, it wasn't received well at first, and critical opinion improved later, but I think it's objectively a much better movie.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for 2014, anniversary of Civil rights act.


Also Beatlemania, and start of Vietnam.




2017 - Six day War; Detroit Riot

Also: Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the albums of the decade and completely white music.

67 twas also summer of love

Also Super Bowl I was played NFL v AFL


2018 - Assassination of RFK and MLK.

Also, TET Offensive


2019 - Woodstock!!!

Also: Neil Armstrong, the month before
And the Mets winning the WS

Amazin'!!!

Dr Van Nostrand said...

It's been all flops. Much like William Friedkin's career after the Exorcist. Got lucky on a couple projects, and all flops the rest of the way."

People like Cimino,Friedkin,Ridley Scott,Soderbergh dont really have any unique vision of looking at the world and are really directors for hire.Such types have to be very very careful about the projects they choose otherwise they fall by the wayside.Ridley Scott was smart enough to concentrate on his talents.Apart from Mel Gibson,very few can bring the ancient world to life like Ridley Scott.Hence the success of Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven(let us leave its grad school leftie view of the Crusades aside for a moment).Though not so much 1492 Conquest of Paradise-though I loved that as well.
And when under the tutelage of his more talented kid brother and a benevolent producer as well as rich source material he can create a Blade Runner,Black Hawk Down or Hannibal.

Friedkin could never get his hands on decent source material after The Exorcist or French Connection hence his career still languishes.

The real reason for the success of the Exorcist is really novelist and screenwriter William Peter Blatty. This is proven in his much superior (and more Catholic) Legion(Exorcist III ),also directed by Blatty,which again takes place in his beloved Georgetown.His frustration with the effect on 60s in this august institution is depicted in the conversation between Father Dyer and a young student
"Everything is relative Father"
Father Dyer:"I suggest you change your name to Rajneesh"

Similarly Coppola's success with the Godfather had a lot to do with producer Robert Evans(Chinatown) and Mario Puzo

Cimino actually does have these grand visions and elaborate set pieces ala Michael Mann and Brian De Palma but unlike them doesnt really know what to do with them.As his immigrant stories arent nearly as well thought out as Sergio Leone's Jewish thugs in Once Upon a Time in America as another commenter pointed out.

Interestingly there was one scene alluding to the nobility of Jews in general who object to such a life and how Italians look up to their gangsters unlike the Jews. It was a conversation between Deborah's driver and Noodles(DeNiro) before their "date".
The driver was played by Jewish producer Arnon Milchan who most likely may have insisted on that qualifier of a scene
However it was cut out even for the 4 hour version.
There is 6 hour mini series version of the movie in Italian which probably has that line intact along with many other scenes of course

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

I can't wait for 2014, anniversary of Civil rights act."

100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. That's the really important event: the beginning of the end of western civilization.

Mr. Anon said...

""At least Stone's movies are seldom boring.""

"And his films dont gross much either. Certainly not compared with Spielberg and Cameron. "

I've never understood this fascination the public has with how much money a movie makes. I don't care how much a film grosses - I don't have a percentage in it. I don't care if the producers end up living in a Salvation Army flop-house and peddling pencils on a street corner. As a viewer, I just want it to be good.

"Everyone in history class was dragged to JFK, we were all told to write letters to our congressmen to re-open the Warren Investigation into JFK's death."

Liberal lefty professors. And that was cause they all wet their pants over a movie!"

My condolences. I went to school before the entire education establishment became utterly shameless in their leftism. I thought that JFK was a good movie - a taut, exciting thriller. As history, of course, it was just complete bulls**t, but it was an entertaining thriller.

Anonymous said...

One question I have to ask is why did an Italian like Michael Cimino (Heaven's Gate, Deer Hunter), had to always hide behind Slavs when working out his own issues against WASPs. Why couldn't he use Italian-Americans as his 'heroic victoms'.
There has to be an explanation for this. My own feeling is that Italian-Americans simply aren't sympathetic enough, for any number of reasons.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


One question I have to ask is why did an Italian like Michael Cimino (Heaven's Gate, Deer Hunter), had to always hide behind Slavs when working out his own issues against WASPs. Why couldn't he use Italian-Americans as his 'heroic victoms'."

Slavs make better victims because they had more passive and reactive role in history than the Italians.
Indeed the word "slave" is derived from Slav as they were prime source of human raw material for the Byzantine,Austro Hungarians,Arabs,Ottomans and what have you.
This dynamic to some degree in still in effect today with all the Russian female prostitutes and many Russian former security men working in the Middle East,Central Europe and Turkey.All countries associated with those former empires.

Part of this is due to the geographical circumstances but a lot of it is metaphysical- Western Catholic dynamism v Eastern Orthodox mysticism

It is why Catholics were at the forefront at fighting communism but the Russian Orthodox church was AWOL.

The Russian Orthodox church always played footsie with foreigners from the Mongols,Romanovs(of Bourbon French origin) to the Jewish Bolsheviks.

The most assertive of "Russians" were usually Georgians,Jews or the restive Caucasian folk.

Russian culture while filled with heart and grandeur, is more tragic and melancholic.
Hence all the heavy drinking.




Dr Van Nostrand said...


People probably envision Harvard as having the "collegiate gothic" look but it's actually a bunch of dreary brick buildings, something you'd imagine Puritans setting up."

Well it was set up by Congregationalists who frowned upon such elaborate design,along with christmas and Christmas trees,Easter,crucifixes,idols,veneration of Mary,saints and relics and lord knows what else as being pseudo pagan.

Let us be honest and call the Puritans what they were- American Taliban/Wahhabis.
But to be fair to them, they did enjoy their drink.They had all sorts of weird conctions including a cocktail with beer,eggs and apples!!
This most likely owes to the European preference for beer instead of water as water was often unsafe to drink.
And also contrary to popular imagination, they didnt wear those dreary black clothing with belt buckle hat 24/7.That was reserved for the Sabbath.
The rest of the week ,their clothing was apparently quite garish.
Plymouth Rock: A land for a people for a people with taste

Anonymous said...

One question I have to ask is why did an Italian like Michael Cimino (Heaven's Gate, Deer Hunter), had to always hide behind Slavs when working out his own issues against WASPs. Why couldn't he use Italian-Americans as his 'heroic victoms'.
There has to be an explanation for this. My own feeling is that Italian-Americans simply aren't sympathetic enough, for any number of reasons.


I think it was simply due to plausibility. Slavs did go further west than the eastern seaboard, though mainly to Midwestern cities like Chicago to work in the meatpacking plants. And Germans and Scandinavians were known to have immigrated to the Midwest and further west. So it was somewhat plausible that some of them might end up in Wyoming. Italians had settled in mainly New York and New Jersey and most people knew this.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to see that a discussion of Cimino has gone this far with no mention of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Buddy/Crime plot leisurely takes Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges through lot of beautiful Montana scenery.

Worth watching for George Kennedy's reaction, while sitting crammed into a little three wheel ice cream buggy, to the obnoxious kid

ST said...

Yes, it was filmed in Oxford. The interior at the start is that of the Sheldonian Theatre, where Oxford graduation ceremonies are actually held. The dance itself is in the quadrangle of Mansfield College. The tree was specially planted (and removed afterwards) so the graduates could ring around it in the scene.

Anonymous said...

"Friedkin could never get his hands on decent source material after The Exorcist or French Connection hence his career still languishes."

TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA is his greatest work.

"The real reason for the success of the Exorcist is really novelist and screenwriter William Peter Blatty. This is proven in his much superior (and more Catholic) Legion(Exorcist III ),also directed by Blatty,which again takes place in his beloved Georgetown."

EXORCIST was a trashy/sleazy idea. Friedkin made it work.
III has some scary scenes but as a piece of filmmaking it is far inferioro he first.

Though blasted by all--except Kael and Kehr--, Boorman's II is worth a look.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/exorcist-ii-the-heretic/Film?oid=1072925

http://www.movie-film-review.com/devfilm.asp?rtype=2&id=4118

----------

Schrader vs Harlin:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/movies/02exor.html?_r=0

Anonymous said...

"I'm disappointed to see that a discussion of Cimino has gone this far with no mention of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot."

His best film.

Anonymous said...

Whites(mostly gentiles) are the victims than Indians.
Immigrants are like the 'sodbusters' in SHANE.

Saviors are wasps too though.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ6i6zJ7lqs

Book is terrific. Film is botched. For some reason, no Italian actors.

Rosenb liked it though.

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=11262

Anonymous said...

Not a Prince fan but his book on 80s cinema is terrific. His take on HG is right on the mark.

Anonymous said...

Baumer on HG and stuff.

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=7482

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdcRiPLp4oU

Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate

James O'Meara said...

Cimino's Year of the Dragon is pretty race-realist, which is why it was savaged by critics. When I first moved to NYC the ex-Yale conservatives I meet had me over for a viewing, followed by blasting Laibach out the windows onto 3rd Ave. I believe the failure of YotD was the reason Delaurentis made Michael Mann change Red Dragon to Manhunter.

Anonymous said...

Kristofferson was 44 in 1980, which made him a rather aged Harvard grad. Also what's the deal with the top hats - in the waltz every single man wears a top hat except the star. I also always struck by how the hair and makeup (and even the costumes) worn in period movies reflects the time that they were filmed more than the time that is being depicted.

K

David said...

>OMG...11.22.63! ANOTHER 50yr anniversary! The 60s don't ever end do they? [...] Can't the 60s, just like, FADE AWAY....into history?<

I am nearly 50 years old. All my life, they have pursued me: images of Jackie O, Einstein sticking his tongue out, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, and young Elvis.

This dry rot is still all around us. Evidently, it is endlessly fascinating and iconic to a large group of people.

Well, it's 2013, boomers! For heaven's sake, wake up!

Was the period 1920-1960 completely dominated by music and images from 1910-1920?

The '60s will fade away only when the last boomer, aged 125 probably, cashes his last Social Security check and expires, muttering something about his generation.

southcentralpa said...

Sorry, don't have time for 45 comments, but it was not shot at Harvard, but in and around the Radcliffe Camera on the campus of the University of Oxford.

The Year of the Dragon was not bad at all ...

Anonymous said...

Having visited Boston and the Harvard campus in the 1990's, that's not it. My guess would be Oxford or Cambridge. Who knew wealthy Northeastern WASPs were so raucous and fun loving in the Victorian era? Of course no one who defends the film will notice that incongruity, as well as poor immigrant Slavs in Wyoming either.

Claude K.P. Greenlee said...

I love it that you called "The Deer Hunter" a fever dream. I remember seeing it on first release, and, while I enjoyed much of it, it seemed incoherent, and there were too many set-piece scenarios that looked suspiciously like Social Realism tableaux.

Cimino reminds me of David Milch or David Lynch. They are enormously talented, but their character flaws and Asperger-style minds make them highly unpredictable when it comes to coherent story telling.

Milch had a big hit with Deadwood. It was beautifully cast, and the concept was great, but all that cussin' and flowery W.C. Fields conman-speak just didn't ring true to me. Just as with Leftist lies, fantasies and false assumptions, to enjoy Deadwood you have to essentially know nothing at all, and accept the "fever dream" at face value.

Of course then Milch came up with "John from Cincinnati." I was riveted by the sheer insanity of that show. Again there were beautiful scenes and the concept was compelling, but it was literally insane. And like a typical fever dream, the "plot" had no place to go. It simply became exhausting and silly. The ending was as silly as the "Jump the Shark" era on "Happy Days."

Ha ha. I am a well-known member of the "Breaking Bad" talk forum which has its own problem with insanity, but when I mentioned that I had watched the entire season of "John from Cincinnati" I received a veritable flood of hilarious abuse.

I made it infinitely worse (and much more hilarious) by telling my tormenters that if they didn't get it, then they would never know transcendent excellence if it moved in to live with them. I love those talk forums. You should check them out Steve. There are some brilliant, brilliant posters on there.

Anonymous said...

I think it was simply due to plausibility. Slavs did go further west than the eastern seaboard, though mainly to Midwestern cities like Chicago to work in the meatpacking plants. And Germans and Scandinavians were known to have immigrated to the Midwest and further west. So it was somewhat plausible that some of them might end up in Wyoming.


Germans and Scands did NOT immigrate en masse to the old western territories. That's why its such BS history. Yes, Germans "further west" like Anaheim. But they used the Oregon Trail and other well established trail overland routes. All we have to do is check via ansestry.com and others to see the names of people buried in former old western territories (now states) to see the ethnic makeup.

Bottom line: heaven's gate = bs historical account, isnt even close. It's about as realistic as Field of Dreams.

Anonymous said...

Germans and Scands did NOT immigrate en masse to the old western territories. That's why its such BS history. Yes, Germans "further west" like Anaheim. But they used the Oregon Trail and other well established trail overland routes. All we have to do is check via ansestry.com and others to see the names of people buried in former old western territories (now states) to see the ethnic makeup.

Right, but the point is that it was more plausible than portraying Italians there, since the movie going public had by then already heavily associated Italians with major East Coast cities, due to all the mafia movies and movies set in NYC they had already seen.

jeyi said...

Harvard? Oxford? No difference, they're both in Cambridge, right?

Cimino's Deer Hunter was a truly egregious POS. De Niro's NCO character not only was allowed by the Army, evidently, to wear a beard, but he was also dressed in a Korean-war era (?) khaki long-sleeve uniform.

No problem, I especially liked the part also, when these salt-of-the-earth Slovenian orthodox steelworkers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or some such place, headed out for a spot of weekend deer hunting, somehow they seemed to have made it all the way to Montana or the Canadian Rockies, where one them nailed an American Elk. Way to go, guys!

But at least we got some accurate insight into the famous Vietnamese obsession over Russian roulette, and Christopher Walken found his natural casting role, again and again and again and again, as a zombie. And yet again.

Anonymous said...

Right, but the point is that it was more plausible than portraying Italians there, since the movie going public had by then already heavily associated Italians with major East Coast cities, due to all the mafia movies and movies set in NYC they had already seen.


Here's a revelation: In an historical picture, how about accurately portray and depict the actual groups that would have lived in the settings that is being depicted?

Example: For the most part, the Johnson County War was fought by Wasps, pure and simple. Look at George Stevens' classic western Shane, set in Colorado, a state over from Wyoming. For the most part, the homesteaders and the Cattlemen are wasps. There is a Swedish-American family among the homesteaders, but that was ONE family, not several dozen.

Since it appears that he really didnt have an idea of the Old West being from the city, it seems as if Cimino should have watched some of the older hollywood westerns and taken his hints from there, especially regarding how to make a setting piece such as this.

Which film today is considered the masterpiece: Shane, or this....POS?

What difference in the end does it really make, so long as the storyline works and the picture makes back (hopefully a little more) its original production costs at the box office?

Funny, if we wrote a paper in school claiming various ethnicities that lived in various places when for most part they did not, we would most likely get an F grade.

Anonymous said...

I got it. I think so anyway.

Perhaps what Cimino was doing, perhaps he faintly recalled a novel written by Willa Cather called My Antonia, in which some Russian immigrants resided in the midwest somewhere.

Therefore, he may have reasoned, if it's good enough for Cather since she lived back in that time, then that's good enough for me to base this entire premise on regarding entire swaths of ethnicities residing in some western territories back in the day.

And I thought Dances With Wolves was ridiculous attempt at historical accuracy...actually still do.

ironrailsironweights said...

I think it was simply due to plausibility. Slavs did go further west than the eastern seaboard, though mainly to Midwestern cities like Chicago to work in the meatpacking plants. And Germans and Scandinavians were known to have immigrated to the Midwest and further west.

Butte, Montana has a large Slavic population even today.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Butte, Montana has a large Slavic population even today.




Yeah, they do...TODAY. 120yrs later. Also, remember, Slavs weren't coming here enmasse until about the 1890a anyway and they'd first have to pass thru Ellis Island and also hit up other Eastern Seaboard cities.


They simply weren't enough of them to sign up and fight in the Johnson County War, which is what this film was about.



Anonymous said...

They simply weren't enough of them to sign up and fight in the Johnson County War, which is what this film was about.

Actually, technically the movie wasn't about the Johnson County War. It was "loosely based", "inspired", etc. by it. The movie is technically about "a fictional dispute between land barons and European immigrants in Wyoming in the 1890s" as Wiki puts it.

That's the thing about movies. It's all just fiction. So even if they are misleading the public, there's always plausible deniability.

Anonymous said...


That's the thing about movies. It's all just fiction. So even if they are misleading the public, there's always plausible deniability.



Nope, just outright lying or bsing beyond a general truth-stretch.

Because there is such a thing on these types of period films called 'research assistant" and "technical advisors" that would normally would sit in on these meetings and sometimes on the set during shooting and might say "hey, you know guys, that actually didn't happen in history. You technically can't do that."

Anonymous said...

Butte was unusually cosmopolitan for a western mountain town. This because of the fantastic concentration of mineral ores, esp. copper ore.

Men from the mining districts in Europe would jump off the ship to catch a train bound for "The Richest Hill On Earth."

A fair number of European and Asian immigrants, in particular Irish, Italian, and Chinese, came to Montana in the 19th C. to work on the railroad or in gold camps.

A scad of Scandinvian and German immigrants homesteaded the Hi-Line in the early 20th C. in order to make the prairie bloom with grain for a few years...until the drought returned.

I don't believe that immigrants formed more than a minor portion of Montana cattlemen and their supporting cast back in the day. I suspect the great majority were primaily of Anglo-American stock with minor outcrossings - the pioneer wash.

Of course a movie doesn't need to be completely true to be worth watching. If the falsity is integral to the storyline, that is a bigger problem.

Neil Templeton

Anonymous said...

Butte was unusually cosmopolitan for a western mountain town. This because of the fantastic concentration of mineral ores, esp. copper ore


Please. It was a way station, the whole territory. Today it's fly over country. Note: Wyomings still one of the US smallest populated states.

Johnson County War = native Wasps. Purely put. All we have to do is look via records of territorial and state residents and burial sites to determine the populace at large during that time.

Yes, Chinese and Irish were used to build the Railroads. But Slavs? Come on. They hardly existed in US at all during that time. Certainly those that were here (those who were not Jewish, by the way) would still be largely confined to Eastern Seaboard cities.

Example: Pittsburgh has a fairly large Slavic and Eastern European population, many emigrated from around that time. Well, Pgh to Wyoming's a pretty far ride. But Pgh is more plausible to place a film like this in.

Thought: Maybe the success of the Deer Hunter allegedly taking place in Pgh area, Cimino liked the idea of Slavs and decided to use them (so to speak) as a plot device in his next film, which happened to be Heaven's Gate.

Didnt work, cause it simply isn't plausible, much less unlikely that that many eastern Europeans were living in a territory/state such as Wyoming.

Pittsburgh and other eastern seaboard cities, yes. Perhaps Chicago. Yes.


Wyoming? Simply not plausible.

Be like claiming that Julius Ceasar was actually born in Germanica.

Ridiculous

Mr. Anon said...

"Open Range" was a pretty good movie. Costner is well suited to westerns. And interestingly, the chief villain was an Irishman, which one does not see to often in westerns. It breaks the general rule in American movies that foreign villains are always sneering Englishman.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon said...
"Open Range" was a pretty good movie. Costner is well suited to westerns. And interestingly, the chief villain was an Irishman, which one does not see to often in westerns. It breaks the general rule in American movies that foreign villains are always sneering Englishman.


What are you talking about? Hello, John Ford anybody?

The Irish were here since the potato famine in '45-'46. Before the Civil War started they were already in SF. Between the '65-90 area (traditional old west era) they severed in the US cavalry and were out on the frontier in many numbers. They also were cattlemen, cowboys, ranchers, homesteaders etc. and of course helped to build the Union Pacific.

The Irish, now THAT makes sense. Cimino should've studied John Ford's westerns to learn how to make 'em and it would've worked just fine.

Anonymous said...

Germans and Scands did NOT immigrate en masse to the old western territories.

There were a lot of Germans in Kansas, and a bunch of '48er refugees in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Because there is such a thing on these types of period films called 'research assistant" and "technical advisors" that would normally would sit in on these meetings and sometimes on the set during shooting and might say "hey, you know guys, that actually didn't happen in history. You technically can't do that."

It's not a documentary of the Johnson County War. It's fiction. Like Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

There were a lot of Germans in Kansas, and a bunch of '48er refugees in Texas.

Germans to some degree yes. Slavs? In texas and Kansas? Absolutely not.




It's not a documentary of the Johnson County War. It's fiction. Like Star Wars.


No, it's realistic fiction. It has to have a ring of truth, a strong ring. Things that are plausible. Maybe that's why it bombed big time. A lack of plausibility. Again, there weren't any Slavs in the Johnson County War.

He'd have been better off channelling John Ford on something like this.

You'd expect this kind of stuff (making up history for no apparent reason whatsoever) from Tarrentino nowadays. Maybe that's where Quinty gets it from.

Anonymous said...

Germans to some degree yes. Slavs? In texas and Kansas? Absolutely not.

There were some Czechs that settled in Texas, though they have been German Czechs.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? Hello, John Ford anybody?"

I meant that one does not often see an Irishman portrayed as a villain in American movies.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Yes, Chinese and Irish were used to build the Railroads. But Slavs? Come on. They hardly existed in US at all during that time. Certainly those that were here (those who were not Jewish, by the way) would still be largely confined to Eastern Seaboard cities."

Not just the Eastern Seaboard. There were a considerable number of Czechs who settled in the midwest. During Antonin Dvorak's stay in America, he spent the summer of 1893 in Spillville, Iowa - where Czech was widely spoken. But I agree, I don't think there were too many slavs out west.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

O LIVE AND DIE IN LA is his greatest work."

Ill take your word for it.Ive heard good things about it
Cruising with Pacino is apparently the last unPC movie about gays made.
He seems to be a traditionalist sort.

EXORCIST was a trashy/sleazy idea. Friedkin made it work. "

You must be joking.William Peter Blatty was pretty vocal about his objections on Friedkin sensationalizing his novel. Vomitting Pea soup,spinning heads,exaggerated demonic make up,masturbating with a crucifix....these are all things that Friedkin couldve left out but didnt but indeed highlighted them.
Whatever depth and gravitas that was in the movie was due to Blatty not Friedkin
III has some scary scenes but as a piece of filmmaking it is far inferioro he first."
I would say that III is far superior film ,particularly horror film as it is more subdued,foreboding and cerebral type of horror.
It has some magnificient set pieces and scares that IMO are superior tp the original's.
And if it appears a tad butchered with the tacked on exorcism scene at the end, you can blame the studio bosses for insisting on it.


Though blasted by all--except Kael and Kehr--, Boorman's II is worth a look."

I love John Boorman and I loved the look of II and appreciated what Boorman was trying to do but the fact of the matter is it didnt translate well.
Everything was wrong-bizarre incoherent plot, cheezy plot devices(the dream machine), Linda Blair's non descript performance,Richard Burtons drunken ramblings.
Somehow Exorcist and Africa just doesnt mix . Boorman tried and failed and so did Schrader and Renny Harlin.



http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/exorcist-ii-the-heretic/Film?oid=1072925

http://www.movie-film-review.com/devfilm.asp?rtype=2&id=4118

----------

Schrader vs Harlin:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/movies/02exor.html?_r=0

Anonymous said...

"Cruising with Pacino is apparently the last unPC movie about gays made."

LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN

C.R.A.Z.Y

MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE

PRICK UP YOUR EARS

TALENTED MR. RIPLEY

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

NO WAY OUT

Anonymous said...

"I would say that III is far superior film ,particularly horror film as it is more subdued,foreboding and cerebral type of horror."

LOL. You must be possessed.

The power of Vishnu compels you!
The power of Vishnu compels you!
The power of Vishnu compels you!

Anonymous said...

"I love John Boorman and I loved the look of II and appreciated what Boorman was trying to do but the fact of the matter is it didnt translate well."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa7tTNA7t0Q

One big problem with the II.

How could anyone tell if a black person is possessed by the devil?
Blacks seem naturally crazy to begin with. Devil possessing a Negro would be redundant.

Anonymous said...

Cimino probably threw in some Slavs to make HG seem instantly Tolstoyan, like it's WAR AND PEACE or something. This annoyed me about DEER HUNTER as well. Its trope-ic use of Russianness seemed essentially to make the film Dostoyevskian, Pasternakian, and Sholokhovian, something of a stretch.



Anonymous said...

Ice Station Zebra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du7ls7v2uYQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuq9Oy6fqp4

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this has been mentioned, but I suspect that Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky based the opening scene of The Werckmeister Harmonies on this. It might well be a pretty loose inspiration, but that was my first thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d5X2t_s9g8

Anonymous said...

I actually saw HG in the theater. It was played at a second run theater. The owner believed that if a film is so infamous, people will pay to see how bad it was. When he played Dune, he had a full house.
My impression was that HG was a Ballywood movie. It had all the elements of a Ballywood movie. Great scenery and photography, a big musical number, and stories that make little or no sense.
I always wondered what Ballywood movies, or movies, inspired HG.

Dahinda said...

The one immigrant group that is well known for the fact that their community in the U.S. is centered in the west are the Basque, or Bascos. This is certainly true in the states bordering Wyoming, like Nevada and Idaho.

Anonymous said...

"Cruising with Pacino is apparently the last unPC movie about gays made."

JFK of course. Tommy Lee Jones.

Anonymous said...

Can't the 60s, just like, FADE AWAY....into history?
Not until the baby boomer do

Henry Hill said...

Films with Irish villains: L.A. Confidential - albeit with a conspicuously Anglo-Saxon name - and (rather less notably) Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Anonymous said...

"Slavs make better victims because they had more passive and reactive role in history than the Italians."

Maybe it's like WWII. Nazi Wasps vs Mother Russia(in America).

Oddly enough, because the Slavic way of life seems more traditional whereas Wasps seem to be dynamic businessmen types, the Slavictims seem to stand for Old World traditionalism and not only immigrant radicalism. Tradicalism?
In this sense, there is something of WITNESS that came out later.

Cimino seems to be cynical of city life. In THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT, big city hoods rampage through the bucolic parts of rural America.
In THE SICILIAN, rural Robin Hoods do battle with rich city dwellers.
In DEER HUNTER, small town community and rural Vietnam are tore asunder by a war directed by people in power centers.
In YEAR OF THE DRAGON, corrupt big city Chinese gangsters have no respect for tradition and wreak havoc with bloody urban gang wars.

Orlando said...




From US Census:
The states with the largest Czech American populations (in thousands):
Texas 156, Illinois 124, Wisconsin 97, Minnesota 85, Nebraska 83
The states with top percentages of CA
Nebraska 5,5%, S. Dakota 2.3%, N. Dakota 2.2%, Wisconsin 2.1%, Iowa 2.1%, Minnesota 2.1%, Illinois 1.2%, Montana 1.0%, Wyoming 1.0%

Orlando said...



From US Census:
The states with the largest Czech American populations (in thousands):
Texas 156, Illinois 124, Wisconsin 97, Minnesota 85, Nebraska 83
The states with top percentages of CA
Nebraska 5,5%, S. Dakota 2.3%, N. Dakota 2.2%, Wisconsin 2.1%, Iowa 2.1%, Minnesota 2.1%, Illinois 1.2%, Montana 1.0%, Wyoming 1.0%

Anonymous said...

From US Census:
The states with the largest Czech American populations (in thousands):
Texas 156, Illinois 124, Wisconsin 97, Minnesota 85, Nebraska 83
The states with top percentages of CA
Nebraska 5,5%, S. Dakota 2.3%, N. Dakota 2.2%, Wisconsin 2.1%, Iowa 2.1%, Minnesota 2.1%, Illinois 1.2%, Montana 1.0%, Wyoming 1.0%




Yes, that's NOW, right NOW. Not during Johnson County war when film was set.

Also, keep in mind: 1. Many Chech-USers would've been classified traditionally as "german" americans since large swaths of Bohemia was part of Germany in 19th century (much like Poland was as well). So that kind of muddies it a bit.

Also, since some of those states (WI; IA; MN: IL;) have had large concentrations of German Americans is safe to say that these Chech numbers are even smaller since they originally would've been classified as German Americans under historical Ellis Island immigration laws.

Chechsolvakia didn't exist until 1919. Bohemia = part of Germany or what HISTORICALLY was considered part of Germany for centuries.

So the numbers would've been even smaller 100 some yrs ago for Chechs living out on the ol' pray-ree.

Orlando said...

Czechs (Bohemians and Moravians) were not part of Germany after the Thirty Years War. Those two areas belonged to Austrian and later Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by Habsburgs who together with its Spanish branch (most notably Charles V.)owned practically 2/3 of American continent in 16th century with Czech speaking Jesuits participating. Protestant order of Moravian Brothers were among the first settlers of territory that became USA being forced to flee the country during the Thity Years War. The Czech were leaving A.-H. in large numbers since the mid 19th century largely out of political discontent. Besides Texas, they were settling in Chicago and from there fanned out to neihbouring territories. The truth is that the biggest numbers were arriving in around 1900 (some 10 000 a year). Czech speaking immigrants were often assigned Austrian country of origin. Most Germans from Bohemia were classified as German, so it is the other way around.