Euphoria #15

My old cyber-mucker Benjamin “Lucan” Halligan unhesitatingly chose this extract from Michael Cimino’s film maudit HEAVEN’S GATE as his moment of Cinema Euphoria.

But I’m not sure exactly what it is in the scene that affects him so — he hasn’t spelled it out for me. Let’s not worry about it, and just enjoy Miss Huppert and Mr. Walken (who has a winning way with a hat) and sleepy Mr. Kristofferson and Cimino’s slow, methodical pacing and elliptical style, which so upset the suits at United Artists (along with his going MASSIVELY over budget, admittedly).

My favourite story in Stephen Bach’s exasperated account of the film’s making, Final Cut, is the one about how Cimino’s perfectionism would obey its own perverse rules. When ace producer Denis O’Dell’s first name was misspelled with two Ns in the film’s credits, Cimino refused to have the title re-done. I’m inclined to agree with MC here: Dennis should have two Ns, damnit!

O’Dell, who worked alongside John Lennon on HOW I WON THE WAR, is also name-checked on the song You Know My Name (Look Up The Number), a Goon Show style comedy song which is the B side of the last ever Beatles single. He is referred to on it as “Denis O’Bell.”

Better luck next time, Dennis!

7 Responses to “Euphoria #15”

  1. has christopher walken ever looked handsomer than he does here? handsome walken is more unsettling than regular walken

    ps, i think denis ought to be pronounced as either “d’nee” or “deenis”

  2. It’s the hat. People look smarter in hats.
    I glimpsed Walken once at Nice Airport. His hair was perfect!

  3. barry sonnenfeld decided not to use wide-angle lenses on miller’s crossing when the coen brothers told him it would be “a handsome film about men in hats”

  4. Roger Deakins has been trying to wean them off the wide angle lens for years. They actually used a long lens at the start of Fargo.
    Sonnenfeld’s theory is that wide angle lenses are funny and long lenses aren’t.
    When Billy Crystal was making City Slickers 2 he put in a panic call to Sonnenfeld. “The director’s using a long lens! It’s not going to be funny, is it?”
    Sonnenfeld: “No, it’s not.”
    But, having said all that, Sonnenfeld’s Wild, Wild West and Men in Black II are among the least funny films ever made in North America.

  5. yes, both films are wildly feeble. i think sonnenfeld’s love of wide-angle lenses also has to do with him being a bit of an attention seeker and, since he can’t run around with a camera going “look at me!”, he runs around with a camera going “look at what i’m looking at!”

  6. You’d think he’d have been cured of his wide-angle obsession after he shot a hardcore porn film early in his career and got drenched in faeces after an anal scene “went wrong”.
    Sorry to give you that image, but there it is.
    He does seem like kind of a showy character. The one thing I respect about him is his desire to keep his films short. If they can’t be good, at least they’re not LONG.

  7. maybe his films have to be short because they are so wide

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