If you’ve never caught Terrence Malick’s 1978 film Days of Heaven in one of its many revivals at Film Forum, today is your lucky day. The Criterion Collection—that arbiter of taste, that curator of all that’s good in film (well, not all…they haven’t done Old School yet)—has just released a new, re-mastered DVD edition of Mr. Malick’s second film.
Days of Heaven—which features a young Richard Gere (who looks just about the same as he does now), a stunning Brooke Adams and a smokin’ hot (though when isn’t he?) Sam Shepard, all of whom get caught in a weird love triangle/power play—is one of the most visually stunning movies ever put to print. The story is set in 1910, in the Texas panhandle, where a young couple, Bill and Abby (Mr. Gere and Ms. Adams) have fled with Bill’s little sister after he killed a fellow steelworker in Chicago. Mr. Shepard is the farmer who gives them work and who inevitably falls in love with Abby, whom he thinks is Billy’s sister, not his lover. The dialogue is spare, and the actual human characters at times seem like excuses for Mr. Malick to show off the true star of so many of his films: nature. There is a choreographed scene involving locusts-hundreds of them-and a soundtrack whose highlight is the sound of crackling, burning wheat. And did I mention, Sam Shepard? Jeesh.
Other DVDs out this week: