Michael Cimino’s 1980 Western Heaven’s Gate, a film that was unfairly tarnished and quickly recut into a less-coherent version after it opened in the U.S., featured a memorable score that was arranged by David Mansfield, who also performed most of it and appears on-screen as a fiddler on roller skates. Mansfield recently visited the Criterion Collection office to be interviewed for the new DVD and Blu-ray release of Heaven’s Gate. He brought his violin with him, and he performed an impromptu rendition of the “Heaven’s Gate Waltz.” You can watch his performance (which wasn’t included in the new DVD/Blu-ray release) below.
Synopsis courtesy of the Criterion Collection:
“A breathtaking depiction of the promise and perils of America’s western expansion, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who relocates to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by cattle barons to kill the area’s European settlers for their land. The resulting battle is based on the bloody real-life Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, Heaven’s Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot take on western movie lore. This release presents the full director’s cut, letting viewers today see Cimino’s potent original vision.”