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Tragedy in twilight
on 5 April 2003
Filmed mostly in twilight, in the pink flush and phosphorescent blue of sunrise or sunset, Days of Heaven is one of the most visually beautiful films ever made. Its beauty contrasts with the harshness of life during the Depression years and with the almost documentary-like observations of the travelling community in America.
The story is a tragic Hardyesque one, with a love triangle, reminiscent of the story of Abraham and Sarah, when Abraham lies to Pharaoh about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife. Pharaoh complains to Abraham that he will bring evil to his house...and that's precisely what happens to landowner, Sam Shepard.
Ennio Morricone's score is drawn from Saint Saens' The Aquarium, adding to the beauty of the film but also the sense of inevitability.
Sam Shepard and Brooke Adams are excellent (thank goodness they are not the pretty people of tinseltown!) Richard Gere is at his best ever, not quite in the habit yet of detaching himself from the emotion of the story.
Not many people know this film when I tell them it's one of my all time favourites. I've waited for it since seeing it many years ago - at last I have it for myself!