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Days of Heaven (1978) Poster

Trivia

Comedian Redd Foxx received special mention in the closing credits, for the use of one of his jokes in this exchange between Bill (Richard Gere) and Linda (Linda Manz): "I saved your life today." "How?" "I killed a shit-eating dog."
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Shot almost entirely at "magic hour," the hours between day and night early in the morning and late in the evening. Terrence Malick wanted to have a white sky and no sight of the sun. This was the first film to utilize a new Eastman ultra light-sensitive stock negative which enabled clarified images to be shot in the magic hour; at dawn, at dusk and into the night.
The shot of locusts ascending to the sky was shot in reverse with the helicopter crew throwing peanut shells down, and actors walking backwards.
Cinematographer Néstor Almendros was going blind during production. Before each shot, he would have his assistant take a picture with a Polaroid camera and then would view it under a high-powered magnifying glass.
In an interview conducted for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film in 2007, Richard Gere speaks of a shot in the film during the wheat fire where a "monstrous" antiquated tractor is driven through the flames. According to Gere, director Terrence Malick was the driver.
Terrence Malick spent two whole years editing this film.
After filming for a short time, Terrence Malick threw out the script altogether and filmed for a close to a year allowing the actors to "find the story" for the film as they went along.
Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman turned down the role of Bill.
After a year of editing, Terrence Malick called Sam Shepard to Los Angeles to shoot inserts. Close-ups of the actor shot under a freeway overpass were cut into the final film.
The film's title is a reference to Deuteronomy 11:21 - "That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them as the days of heaven upon the earth."
First use of the Panaglide, Panavision's version of Garrett Brown's Steadicam.
Even though Richard Gere's first notable role was in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), he actually made this first, but the film took two years to edit and wasn't released until 1978.
John Travolta auditioned for and won the lead role of Bill, but ABC-TV wouldn't let him out of his contract for his series Welcome Back, Kotter (1975), and the part was eventually given to Richard Gere.
The screenplay is loosely based on the Milady back story featured in "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas. In the Dumas novel, Milady was originally born Anne de Bueil and became a thief with her lover, a priest who had renounced his orders. On the run, they pretend to be brother and sister and hide in a village. She ends up seducing and marrying for her own interests the local nobleman. In most of the adaptations of the novel, the back story is missing, but the Italian adaption Milady and the Musketeers (1952) focuses on the very same events depicted in 'Days of Heaven (1978)', naturally with very different character motivations.
This is Christian Bale's, who often works with Terrence Malick, all-time favorite film.
Blown up to 70mm for re-release, these prints were accidentally lost when a Paramount in-house memo requesting that surplus copies of Days of Thunder (1990) be destroyed was misinterpreted.
Cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who got an "additional photography" credit in the film, complained to Roger Ebert that more than half of the footage was shot by him.
Despite the film's commercial failure, Charlie Bluhdorn, who ran Paramount's parent company Gulf+Western, loved it so much that he offered Terrence Malick $1 million for his next project, whatever it was.
The plot also appears closely related to the Henry James novel "The Wings of the Dove", with genders reversed.
Exteriors for the film were shot in Alberta, Canada. Jack Fisk constructed the outdoor sets from plywood, including the farmer's house.
The visual motif of the far-off farmhouse surrounded by wheat fields is reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth's 1948 painting "Christina's World" as well as Edward Hopper's painting "House by the Railroad". It is also reminiscent of Reata, the ranch home of the Benedict Family in Giant (1956).
After finishing the film, Terrence Malick began to develop a project for Paramount entitled "Q". Riddled with production troubles, Malick would abandon this project after a brief span of second unit location shooting. He would not make another film until The Thin Red Line (1998), twenty years later. Ideas that began with the abandoned "Q" movie would later be re-worked into The Tree of Life (2011) and Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016).
Because of the delays, the film went over-budget and, to cover the extra expenses, producer Bert Schneider had to mortgage his home.
The music behind the titles is "Aquarium," from Camille Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals."
Linda Manz, an unknown at the time, won the role over Tatum O'Neal.
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When Lynda sits in the farmer's house reading a book that has illustrations of animals, including a tiger, water buffalo, and a snake, the book is an illustrated edition of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Books".
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With its Oscar win for Best Cinematography, this is, as of 2016, the only film directed by Terrence Malick to win an Academy Award.
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Ranked at #49 on BBC Magazine's "The 100 greatest American films".
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The film features a brief scene of dogs hunting the prairie. The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) shown is Jocko von Stolzhafen, twice GSP National Champion (Field) and perhaps the best GSP of his era. A year or so later Jocko vanished while running at a training camp, presumably stolen.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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According to 'Carrie Fisher', she was interviewed for a role and even read with 'John Travolta'; when he couldn't do the film and Fisher read opposite 'Richard Gere', the chemistry she had with Travolta wasn't there, which she suspects is why she wasn't cast.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The image of Bill falling face-first into water was filmed in a large aquarium in Sissy Spacek's living room.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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