A film of great courage
and overwhelming
emotional power

"I like the trees, you know? I like the way
that the trees are on mountains, all the different...
the way the trees are. " (Nick ~ Nikanor Chevotarevich)

 

 

One of several 1978 films dealing with the Vietnam War (including Hal Ashby's Oscar-winning Coming Home), Michael Cimino's epic second feature The Deer Hunter was both renowned for its tough portrayal of the war's effect on American working class steel workers and notorious for its ahistorical use of Russian roulette in the Vietnam sequences. Structured in five sections contrasting home and war, the film opens in Clairton, PA, as Mike (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken), and Stan (John Cazale, in his last film) celebrate the wedding of their friend Steve (John Savage) and go on a final deer hunt before the men leave for Vietnam. Mike treats hunting as a test of skill, lecturing Stan about the value of "one shot" deer slaying and brushing off Nick's urgings to appreciate nature's beauty. As Mike ruminates post-hunt, the film cuts to the horror of Vietnam, where the men are captured by Vietcong soldiers who force Mike and Nick to play Russian roulette for the V.C.'s amusement. Mike turns the game to his advantage so they can escape captivity, but the men are permanently scarred by the episode. Steve loses his legs; Nick vanishes in the Saigon Russian roulette parlors. Mike returns alone to Clairton a changed man, as he rejects the killing of the deer hunt and finds solace with Nick's old girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep). Disgusted by the antics of his male cohorts at home, Mike decides to bring Steve back from a veterans' hospital, and he returns to Saigon to find Nick. As Saigon falls, Mike discovers how far gone Nick is; the survivors gather in Clairton for a funeral breakfast, singing an impromptu rendition of "God Bless America." ~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide

Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" is a three-hour movie in three major movements. It is a progression from a wedding to a funeral. It is the story of a group of friends. It is the record of how the war in Vietnam entered several lives and altered them terribly forever. It is not an anti-war film. It is not a pro-war film. It is one of the most emotionally shattering films ever made. It begins with men at work, in the furnace of the steel mills in a town somewhere in Pennsylvania. The klaxon sounds, the shift is over, the men go down the road to a saloon for a beer. They sing "I Love You Bay-bee" along with the jukebox. It is still morning on the last day of their lives that will belong to them before Vietnam.
 


 

In der kleinen, dreckigen Industriestadt Clairton, irgendwo in Pennsylvania, feiern die Freunde Michael (Robert DeNiro), Nick (Christopher Walken), Stan (John Cazale), Linda (Meryl Streep), Axel (Chuck Aspegren) und weitere Freunde aus der Umgebung die Hochzeit von Steven (John Savage) und seiner Angela (Rutanya Alda). Doch ihre Gedanken kreisen um das wichtigste Thema in Amerika dieser Tage: dem Krieg in Vietnam.
In nur zwei Tagen müssen Michael, Nick und der frischgebackene Ehemann einer schwangeren Frau, Steven, ihren Kriegsdienst leisten. Doch vorher wollen sie noch feiern und ein (vorerst?) letztes Mal auf die Jagd gehen, ihren letzten Tag in Freiheit genießen...
Im Dschungel Vietnams erwartet die Jungs die Hölle! Ist der Kampf schon erbarmungslos hart und grausam, müssen sie - von den Vietkongs gefangen genommen - ein sadistisches Spiel mitspielen: Russisches Roulette! (PS: Steven und Nick sind Söhne russischer Amerika-Einwanderer, und auch die Hochzeit zu Beginn ist eine russisch-orthodoxe Zeremonie!)
Mike weiss nur eine Lösung, wie sie ihre Aufseher möglicherweise überrumpeln können: Er lässt statt einer gleich drei (!) Patronen in die sechs Kammern des Revolvers füllen, als er gegen seinen eigenen Freund Nick antreten muss. Und tatsächlich: Die ersten beiden Kammern - eine für ihn und eine für Nick - waren leer. Und mit den folgenden Patronen erlegt er zwei der Vietkongs mit einem gezielten Kopfschuss. Nachdem auch die anderen Aufseher überrumpelt werden können, gelingt Mike, Nick und Steven - der dieses schreckliche Erlebnis nicht verkraften kann - die Flucht.
Durchs Wasser treibend, werden die Freunde von einem US-Helikopter aufgefunden - doch allein Nick kann gerettet und in ein Hospital gebracht werden; Steven und Mike müssen sich alleine durchschlagen...
Nach Tagen (oder sind es Wochen?) treffen sich Mike und Nick in einem vietnamesischen Dorf wieder. In einer dreckigen Baracke wird um sehr viel Geld gespielt - ein tödliches Spiel, dass die Freunde bestens kennen: Russisches Roulette!
Und wieder werden sie voneinander getrennt: Mike kehrt schliesslich nach Hause zurück, während Nick in Vietnam zurückbleibt.
In Clairton will man Mike gebührend feiern. Dem ´Kriegshelden´ ist jedoch nicht nach feiern zumute. Von Nick hat niemand mehr etwas gehört. Als Mike von Angela erfährt, wo sich Steven aufhält - er vegetiert als Krüppel in einem Kriegsveteranen-Lazarett regelrecht vor sich hin -, will er ihn wieder nach Hause zurückholen. Stevie, der regelmäßig viel Geld aus Vietnam zugeschickt bekommt, ist auch die erste Spur zu Nick, der dort Russisches Roulette spielt...(
www.dvd-center.de)

Der Film erzählt die Geschichte einer Freundschaft von sechs jungenMännern, Söhnen slawischer Einwanderer aus Europa, die in einer Industriestadtin Pennsylvania leben und arbeiten. Es ist das Jahr 1968. Als drei von ihnen ihre Einberufung nach Vietnam bekommen, bedeutet das nicht nur Trennung, sondern vor allem auch den ersten entscheidenden Einschnitt in der Entwicklung: den Übergang von der Unbekümmertheit und Romantik der Jugend in das ernstere, härtere Erwachsensein, von dem solidarischen Schutz der Familien in ein neues Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl in einem. Land, das für sie zur Heimat werden soll. Die Erfahrung
des Krieges und der Gefangenschaft bei den Vietcong verändert die drei Freunde. Sie kehren am Ende in ihre Heimatstadt zurück: einer als Toter, der andere ohne Beine im Rollstuhl, der dritte ohne schwere physische Verletzungen, aber auch er mit tiefen, hart vernarbten seelischen Verwundungen. Robert De Niro spielt ihn, den sensiblen, nach aussen harten, durchsetzungsfähigen und rationalen Anführer der Freundesgruppe, mit großer Präsenz und Präzision. Michael Ciminos Drei-Stunden- Film ist kein Vietnam-Film im bisher gewohnten Stil, er politisiert das Thema nicht, sondern erzählt vielmehr die Chronik bitterster menschlicher Erfahrungen. (Aus der Presseaussendung)

"Almost twenty five years ago, The Deer Hunter was released to worldwide acclaim. It was 1978, a year rife with Vietnam-themed films, yet The Deer Hunter managed to capture five Oscars®, including Best Picture. Though the movie had its detractors (who complained it was self-indulgent, too long, and as subtle as a brick), many found its exploration of the effects of the war on a group of small town friends a cathartic experience.

At the time, critical analysis of The Deer Hunter focused almost universally on the film's war themes and metaphors, particularly its controversial Russian roulette scenes. Released a scant few years following the fall of Saigon, the tenor of the times almost demanded the film's examination as a treatise on the devastating human effects of war. The passage of time offers a healing distance from the polarizing events of the era, and now viewed anew across the comfort of a quarter century, The Deer Hunter presents itself less as a three-act opus on the sins of war and more as a quietly devastating look at the strength and pain of friendship.

Time has not rendered the scenes of war and incarceration any less harrowing, but has thrown a subtle yet impactful light on the gritty underlying friendship between the six steel town Pennsylvanians, a bond forged in boyhood and strengthened through years of camaraderie. It is through Michael, the unequivocal leader of the group, (played by Robert DeNiro) that the film plumbs the depths of friendship and the sacrifices people will make. Through day-to-day pettiness and watershed events, we see Michael's devotion to two things - his comrades and his approach to deer hunting - and his struggle to be as faithful and true to the former as he is to his one shot hunting coda.

Three stay at home while three go off to war, the latter to be reunited under the cruelest of circumstances when Michael, Nick, and Stevie (Christopher Walken and John Savage) are taken prisoner. The physical and psychological horror endured by the trio as they are forced to face each other in sadistic rounds of Russian roulette is made all the more shattering by Michael's strength and his barely controlled determination to will his friends out of the nightmare. Yet even after he reaches the safety of home the ties to his comrades are unyielding. Michael can barely bring himself to face Nick's girl Linda (Meryl Streep), whom he has painfully adored from afar, let alone consider usurping his friend's place in her bed. Nick is his conscience and it is only after he has met his obligations to his friends that he can consider reclaiming his own life.

From the very beginning director Michael Cimino intended The Deer Hunter to be viewed as a tale of friendship. He once said, "The war is really incidental to the development of the characters and their story. It's part of their lives and just that, nothing more." The distance of 25 years allows the viewer to see more clearly what audiences of the time still sensitive to the bruise of Vietnam backlash might have missed. Of course the indelible performances make it that much easier; no amount of time can change the strength of Cimino's up-and-coming ensemble cast or leave a doubt as to why the film earned Christopher Walkenan Oscar®, did so much to advance the career of Meryl Streep, or cement DeNiro's reputation as one of the finest actors on the planet. Time, the great equalizer, has blown the dust off the The Deer Hunter and exposed its heart."(www.amtc.com)


                                                                
 
50 Greatest Movie Deaths

Total Film Magazine (in the UK), in their July 2004 issue, provided an article on the 50 Greatest Movie Deaths throughout cinematic history. Their results below, based on a non-scientific poll taken from interviews with film critics, listed the 50 most highly-rated death scenes. The Deer Hunter is listed Nr.17: The Russian roulette scene in a gambling den in Saigon when Nick (Christopher Walken) blows his brains out.-Link  

Links

www.nytimes.com   www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/bestpictures/deer-re.html
Michael Cimino and The Deer Hunter

   Trailer 1    Trailer2   
deutscher Trailer   Playlist/Soundtrack   Russian Roulette
 

         




Der Ronnie-Moment #1: während der Hochzeitsfeier ausgelassene Tänze mit der Braut
und der versammelten Gemeinde.....
 

"If Christopher Walken were not such an experienced actor, he might well qualify as Rookie of the Year. Until he wont the New York Film Critics Awards last week for best supporting actor, he had been a fairly unfamiliar fact to movie audiences, even though he had won numerous awards for his work on the stage.
But in ''The Deer Hunter,'' Mr. Walken does his first real movie star turn, bringing virtuoso technique and glamour to a character who is, in effect, the film's romantic hero. His performance is so utterly persuasive that his own parents, after watching the film and its brutal finale, rushed off to a telephone to make sure their son was still in one piece.

Perched nervously in an armchair in his agent's apartment recently, Mr. Walken talked about ''The Deer Hunter'' with fondness and a touch of amazement. But he sounded surprisingly modest about his own accomplishments in the film.

''On the stage I know what I'm doing,'' he said, ''but in films I have to depend on the kindness of strangers.'' Kindest of them all was Michael Cimino, the director, who astonished the actor by casting him in the film's second leading role.

''I walked in and he asked me who I'd like to play,'' Mr. Walken recalled. ''I named about four of them, but I figured if I was lucky I might get to play Stan, the one that John Cazale played. I never expected him to cast me as Nick. It was just too good a part.'' Mr. Cimino has since been even kinder, casting Mr. Walken with Kris Kristofferson in the director's next film, ''Johnson County War.'' Ordinarily, Mr. Walken's manner combines an element of urbanity with unexpected street toughness. But this time he is going to ride a horse and shoot people.

However much physical exertion Mr. Cimino's next film demands of its actors, it is not likely to be as strenuous as his Vietnam war epic, ''The Deer Hunter.'' That five-month shooting schedule culminated in a grueling stay in Thailand, where a terrifying torture sequence was staged. Mr. Walken and other actors, playing American prisoners of war, were confined in special cages that had been built on the River Kwai, not far from the famous bridge. As Mr. Walken recalls: 'The circumstances were genuine: We were up to here in water, it was hot, and we'd been doing it a long time. We'd been tied up. There were mosquitoes. There were rats.''

Then the director and Robert DeNiro, who stars in the film, came up with the idea of having one of the Thai actors repeatedly slap Mr. Walken's and Mr. DeNiro's faces, trying to force them to play a round of Russian roulette. Mr. Walken had not known exactly how he was going to summon up the necessary note of horror for the scene - ''that was one of many big moments I had in the film, where I walked onto the set thinking, 'I wish I knew what I was doing,''' he recalled. ''But when somebody belts you 50 times, you don't have to fake a reaction. You don't have trouble shaking.''

The P.O.W. scene was only one of many in which Mr. Walken says Mr. DeNiro helped him a great deal. ''He's the most generous actor I've ever worked with,'' he explained. In the scene where I'm in the gaming room for the first time, for instance, and I pick up the gun and hold it to my head, he showed me how to do that. It's a very good moment for me, and I have to admit it's stolen.''

But Mr. Walken put his respect for Mr. DeNiro to good use. ''My admiration for him is one of the things that shows in the film, but it had some bearing on the characters. They're supposed to have been friends for 20 years, there's a powerful feeling between them. I think my feelings about his work help create an impression of warmth, of friendship.'' Some viewers of ''The Deer Hunter'' maintain that the friendship has homosexual overtones, but Mr. Walken says that as far as he knows neither he nor the other principals had any such thing in mind.

Mr. Walken's performance, at first genial and then terrifyingly blank, is very much at odds with the coolly impassive characters he has played in other films. In ''Annie Hall,'' he was memorably stony as Annie's very strange brother, and in ''Next Stop, Greenwich Village'' his unresponsiveness to the other characters amounted to a kind of cruelty.

''Sometimes people will look at that and say, 'What an economical actor.' But if I was to be frank about it, it was probably because I was nervous about being in movies.''

He hopes that that will change, and that his composure on screen will equal his confidence on the stage. Mr. Walken grew up in Astoria, Queens, where his father was a baker; his mother encouraged him and his two brothers to act.

While his brothers concentrated on television work, he went into musicals, first appearing in ''Best Foot Forward'' with another talented neophyte, Liza Minnelli. He landed a lot of chorus work after that, but it was not until he won a leading role in ''The Lion in Winter'' that he was offered serious roles. ''The Lion in Winter'' called for him to wear tights, and he wore them so effectively that a chance to play Romeo came his way. ''I was terrible,'' he notes. All told, he has about 60 plays to his credit, most notably ''Sweet Bird of Youth'' opposite Irene Worth.

Mr. Walken, who appears to be in his late 20's, is 35 years old. ''People always tell me to say I'm younger - better to have 'em think you're 30, that you haven't been around so long, that you're not so old and work out.'' In fact, he looks younger and healthier in ''The Deer Hunter'' than he has in his previous films, which also include ''The Anderson Tapes'' and ''Roseland.'' As he explains it: ‘‘Since I did those films, my life has changed to some extent. I don't drink as much as I used to, I take better care of myself. I tried running for a while, too, but I couldn't take it. I figured I'd wind up having a great heart and dying of boredom.''

Mr. Walken, who lives in Manhattan with his wife, does not maintain that stage acting is intrinsically more worthwhile than screen acting. He would like to continue to do both. ''I love to make movies - now that I've started to make 'em, I want to make a lot. I like the whole atmosphere. And also, I admire some of those actors so much, I want to learn how to do it.'' Until now, movie roles have been hard for him to come by, and even now he is asked to audition for film directors. In the theater, his work is sufficiently well known and admired to preclude that.

With filmmakers, though, ''what they mostly do is say: 'Come sit. Speak, so we can hear you speak. Move your face.' That's O.K. with me. I don't mind doing it. I still want to get jobs. But I'm looking forward to the day when I don't have to pretend I'm enjoying myself.'' (NYT, 1978)
 

       REVIEW | 'THE DEER HUNTER' Blue-Collar Epic, By VINCENT CANBY

Michael's Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" is a big, awkward, crazily ambitious, sometimes breathtaking motion picture that comes as close to being a popular epic as any movie about this country since "The Godfather." Though he has written a number of screenplays, Mr. Cimino has only directed one other movie (the 1974 box-office hit, "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot"), which makes his present achievement even more impressive. Maybe he just didn't know enough to stop. Instead, he's tried to create a film that is nothing less than an appraisal of American life in the second half of the 20th century.

I don't mean to make "The Deer Hunter" sound like "War and Peace" or even "Gone With the Wind." Its view is limited and its narrative at times sketchy. It's about three young men who have been raised together in a Pennsylvania steel town, work together in its mill, drink, bowl and raise hell together, and then, for no better reason than that the war is there, they go off to fight in Vietnam.

"The Deer Hunter," which opens today at the Coronet, is an update on the national dream, long after World War II when America's self-confidence peaked, after the Marshall Plan, after Korea, dealing with people who've grown up in the television age and matured in the decade of assassinations and disbelief.

The three friends, all of Russian extraction, are Mike (Robert DeNiro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steve (John Savage). Mike is the one who calls the tune for his friends. To the extent that any one of them has an interior life, it is Mike, a man who makes a big thing about hunting, about bringing down a deer with one shot. More than one shot apparently isn't fair. As codes go this one is not great, but it is his own.
 

Nick goes along with Mike, sometimes suspecting that Mike is eccentric, but respecting his eccentricities. Steve is the conventional one, whose marriage (a Russian Orthodox ceremony, followed by a huge, hysterical reception) occupies most of the film's first hour and sets out in rich detail what I take to be one of the movie's principal concerns--what happens to Americans when their rituals have become only quaint reminders of the past rather than life-ordering rules of the present.

Mr. Cimino has described his treatment of the three friends' war experiences as surreal, which is another way of saying that a lot of recent history is ellipsized or shaped to fit the needs of the film. What is not surreal is the brutality of the war and its brutalizing effects, scenes that haunt "The Deer Hunter" and give point to the film even as it slips into the wildest sort of melodrama, which Mr. Cimino plays out against the background of the collapse of Saigon and the American withdrawal from Southeast Asia. It's Armageddon with helicopters.

Most particular and most savage is the film's use of Russian roulette as a metaphor for war's waste. It's introduced when the three friends, prisoners of war of the North Vietnamese, are forced by their captors to play Russian roulette with one another. The game crops up again in Saigon where, according to this film, it was played in back-street arenas rather like cockfighting pits, for high-dollar stakes. These sequences are as explicitly bloody as anything you're likely to see in a commercial film. They are so rough, in fact, that they raise the question of whether such vivid portrayals don't become dehumanizing themselves.

More terrifying than the violence--certainly more provocative and moving--is the way each of the soldiers reacts to his war experiences. Not once does anyone question the war or his participation in it. This passivity may be the real horror at the center of American life, and more significant than any number of hope-filled tales about raised political consciousnesses. What are these veterans left with? Feelings of contained befuddlement, a desire to make do and, perhaps, a more profound appreciation for love, friendship and community. The big answers elude them, as do the big questions.

Deric Washburn's screenplay, which takes its time in the way of a big novel, provides fine roles for Mr. DeNiro, Mr. Walken and Mr. Savage, each of whom does some of his best work to date. Meryl Streep, who has long been recognized for her fine performances on the New York stage, gives a smashing film performance as the young woman, who, by tacit agreement among the friends, becomes Nick's girl but who stays around long enough to assert herself. In the splendid supporting cast are George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren, Shirley Stoler and Rutanya Alda. The late John Cazale makes his last film appearance a memorable one as the kind of barroom neurotic who might at any moment go seriously off his rocker.

The film has been stunningly photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond, who provides visually a continuity that is sometimes lacking in the rest of the movie. "The Deer Hunter" is both deeply troubling and troublesome (for the manner in which Mr. Cimino manipulates the narrative), but its feelings for time, place and blue-collar people are genuine, and its vision is that of an original, major new film maker.

With Robert DeNiro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza and Chuck Aspegren.

Directed by Michael Cimino; screenplay by Deric Washburn; story by Michael Cimino, Deric Washburn, Louis Garfinkle, and Quinn K. Redeker; director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond; production consultant, Joann Carelli; art directors, Ron Hobs and Kim Swados; editor, Peter Zinner; music by Stanley Myers; produced by Barry Spikings, Michael Deeley, Michael Cimino, and John Peverall; released by Universal Studios (NYT, 1978)
 

Der Ronnie-Moment #2: Dancing and singing Can't take my eyes off of you... beim Billard
(pictures from the DVD Kinowelt StudioKanal, PAL, R2)


 

  

   

   

   

   

  

   

   

   

  

   

   

   

   

      



Christopher Walken’s show-stealing portrayal of Nick Chevotarevich in “The Deer Hunter”

In “The Deer Hunter” Nikonar Chevotarevich’s overall character arc is more a downward spiral from a fun-loving, cheerful man to insanity. Nick goes through three distinctive arcs within this greater arc. The first one is before they leave for war. Nick is an easygoing, fun loving, introspective and somewhat quiet man who values friendship, community and love. In each scene before the war, he is fighting for three things; friendship, love and a good time. This is apparent in the marriage scene, the reception scene and the hunting scene.
The next major arc Nick goes through is during the war. Now he is fighting to stay alive, to stay sane and to keep his friends alive. The most apparent of these is his fight to stay alive, as seen in every step he takes. His fight for sanity is subtler but apparent, especially in the first Russian roulette scene. It is seen in his facial expressions as Mike is consoling a distraught Steven. Then you can see Nick’s barely contained relief and tears as he wins the first round of Russian roulette. As the scene progresses, you can see Nick’s fight to remain sane in his haunting, scene-stealing facial expressions. His fight to keep his friends alive is apparent through the argument he has with Mike over Steven’s fate.
 

      

right pic: Michael Cimino mit Walken und deNiro am Set (click to enlarge)


 
   Did you hear about the happy
      Roman? He was glad
he ate her.
More bullets Stan  
   ...where the bullets are flying ..his throat Forget him?  
   Maniac, control freak... I like the trees  Don't leave me over there..  

 I like to starve myself, keeps the fear up.            Videos on Youtube
 



The last major arc is in the third part of the film; when Mike returns to Saigon to find an emotionally ruined Nick. After all he has gone through, paired with his belief that his friends are dead, Nick feels dead inside. Now he is fighting to feel alive, using the exhilaration playing Russian roulette brings to do so. This is seen through Walken’s facial expressions.

According to producer Deeley, director Cimino had Walken and De Niro improvise in one take, saying “You put the gun to your head, Chris, you shoot, you fall over and Bobby cradles your head”. Everything else in that show-stealing scene was up to the actors. The physical truth of Walken beautifully portrayed Nick’s descent into insanity. Here, Nick doesn’t say much but Walken’s facial expressions and robotic movements say everything. He blankly stares at Michael with dead eyes, not even recognizing his best friend. Then, subtle changes in Walken’s expression and his open mouthed, vaguely amused stare show a small shift in Nick’s mind, giving a slight sense of hope. As Nick struggles to speak, his face shifts, memories return, bringing horrors with them and his eyes look pained. As Nick laughs, you are flooded with hope, but soon you realize that Nick was waiting for the happy memories to come back, to be the last things he thinks of before blowing his brains out, so the horrors don’t have a chance to return. Because of this, Nick’s death is rather peaceful, because you realize that Nick would never have been able to escape what happened and at least his last thoughts were good ones. All this is done without words, it is communicated through the physical truth of the actor. Link


Publicity and set stills/click to enlarge

           

             

            

 
          

              

           
 


The scoring of the sequence to Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, sourced off the barroom jukebox, is likely to be the best example of such a scene an audience is ever likely to get, building on the bump and swing of the song's rhythm to hear the guys singing along, tripping over the words as they sip beer and dancing around the pool table whilst trying to set up shots.

"We got in the helicopter (Chris and J. Savage), the camera was handheld, and John Savage was behind me and the door was wide open and there was no safety belts of anything. The helicopter took off and went right up, I think a thousand feet up as high as the Empire State Building. I was looking out this door and I said, "John, grab my belt, hang on to me, do not let go whatever happens"- I couldn`t believe I was sitting there, next to this open door without even a rope around me or anything. And the camera was rolling..I thought if the helicopter tilted sideaways, I`d be gone.." (CW)

Über die Rolle des Nick sagt Christopher Walken: "Ich habe mich in diese Rolle sehr stark hineingelebt und bin äußerlich, aber auch vor allem innerlich dem Nick immer ähnlicher geworden. Ich glaube fest daran, dass es Augenblicke gibt, in denen der Schauspieler mit der Figur, die er spielt, identisch wird. Bei "Die durch die Hölle gehen' hatte jeder von uns so eine Rolle, die auch mit jedem persönlich irgendetwas zu tun hatte. Die Arbeit mit Bobby De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage und George Dzundza, mit Meryl Streep, Shirley Stoler und Rutanya Alda und mit Chuck Aspegren, der ein echter Stahlarbeiter ist, gehört für mich zu den überwältigenden und lohnenden Erfahrungen in meiner Karriere. "
 

             

             

           

          
  

 

‘The Deer Hunter’ still powerful 35 years later

In “The Deer Hunter,” Michael Cimino delivers a precise depiction of a nearly iconic blue-collar milieu, the American steel industry that languishes today at the core of our so-called “rust belt.” His portrayal of working-class male “buddiness,” especially the act of volunteering en masse for military service, seems, at least historically, right on target.
Similarly, the conflation of religion and patriotism in the banner at the VFW club (“Serving God and Country Proudly”) has long been an American (and European) wartime sentiment.
By his own claim, Cimino had not set out to achieve any particular political, moral, or polemical goal, so one might look in vain for evidence that “The Deer Hunter” is an anti-war film. In formal terms, nonetheless, the movie is strikingly literary, laden as it is with foreshadowing, symbolism and metaphors abounding.
Stuff, in other words, for a lively and informative discussion at film’s end! Link
 


"Die durch die Hölle gehen" erhitzte die Gemüter in Europa

In der politisch gespannten Phase nach dem Vietnam-Krieg der USA entzündeten sich an Michael Ciminos Dreistunden-Epos vor allem in Europa die Gemüter. Ideologisch orientierte Filmkritiker warfen dem Antikriegsfilm eine versteckte pro-amerikanische Haltung vor. Andere Filmkritiker beurteilten den Film mehr nach filmästhetischen Gesichtspunkten und lobten ihn als ein sehr ehrliches, eindrückliches und herausragendes Filmporträt dreier Männer, die durch die Hölle des Krieges gehen.

Die Kontroverse um Ciminos Werk gipfelte während der Filmfestspiele in Berlin 1979 in einem handfesten Skandal. Die durch die Hölle gehen lief als offizieller Beitrag der USA im Wettbewerb. Nach der Vorführung packten die Delegationen aus der UdSSR und den übrigen sozialistischen Ländern demonstrativ ihre Koffer und reisten ab. Stein des Anstoßes war die etwa 10-minütige Sequenz, in der die sadistischen Grausamkeiten des Vietcong gegenüber den Südvietnamesen und amerikanischen Soldaten gezeigt werden. Dies sei eine einseitige Darstellung der Kriegsgreuel, lautete der Vorwurf.

Hollywood setzte der konträren Diskussion in Europa einen Preisregen entgegen: Fünf Oscars gab es für den Film, u.a. als Bester Film und für die Beste Regie (Covertext dt. DVD-Ausgabe)

Eric Remarque's Three Comrades (Drei Kameraden) was the inspiration for The Deer Hunter.


           

          

          



Production Notes

           

      

 



           

           

 

    

   

          

           

 

 
   
 




In November 1976 Cimino was sought out by a representative of the British conglomerate EMI, for whom he outlined a story about the Vietnam War. According to Cimino, he was so stunned by EMI’s  acceptance that he said: “What do you mean by O.K.?” and they  said: “O.K. Go make a movie.”
He began forthwith to prepare for what became The Deer Hunter, serving as producer as well as director. Cimino traveled over 150,000 miles scouting the American locations alone, meanwhile writing frantically on buses and planes, in cars and motel rooms. Cimino is credited as coauthor of the story with Deric Washburn, Louis Garfinkle, and Quinn W. Redeker, the screenplay being by Washburn. “Most of the things in the film came from me,” Cimino says—he had been best man at a Russian Orthodox wedding like the one in the movie, had hunted deer, and  had known men in the army on whom he based many of the film’s characters.

EMI originally intended an inexpensive film with no stars, but changed their minds when they saw the first draft of the screenplay. Robert De Niro agreed to play the lead and began to accompany Cimino on his endless peregrinations, studying the locations and the people who lived in them. According to Jean Le Vallely “the script went through seven drafts, changing—growing really—to incorporate real places. Real people, real experiences.”
Many of the “real people” appear in the film, which uses few professional actors apart from the principals. It was found necessary to postpone the start date from March to late June 1977, with disastrous results. The script called for winter weather on the American locations, but shooting began in the Pittsburgh area in the midst of one of the hottest summers in years. To give the illusion of winter, trees (ironically) had to be defoliated, grass browned. The actors could not complete a take without their clothes becoming visibly soaked with sweat. The budget swelled and production fell further behind schedule.

The deer-hunting sequences were shot next in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. By then the company had been filming for three months, up to fourteen hours a day, and were exhausted. The deer which Michael allows to get away was actually an elk - the same one often used on commercials for Hartford Insurance. The crew had a very difficult time trying to get the elk to look at them, as it was apparently used to various noises; it finally looked at them when someone in the crew yawned. According to the film's cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, the scene where the deer is shot by Michael (De Niro) was filmed by giving the trained deer a sedative; it took half an hour for the drug to take effect; they had fenced off an area limiting the deer's range and two cameras were used.
They moved on to the heat and monsoons of Thailand, where most of the Vietnam scenes were shot. Bangkok was under a military curfew, so that night filming had to be done under police protection. Almost everyone in the castbecame ill (but not Cimino, who says he “refused”).
 



(Arthaus Premium Edition)
 

According to Cimino, De Niro requested a live bullet in the revolver for the scene in which he subjects John Cazale's character to an impromptu game of Russian roulette, to heighten the intensity of the situation. Cazale agreed without protest. Cimino points out that Cazale obsessively rechecked the gun before each take to make sure that the live round wasn't next in the chamber.Director's commentary by Michael Cimino. Included on UK region 2 DVD release and the StudioCanal Blu-Ray. Director Cimino convinced Walken to spit in De Niro's face. When Walken actually did it, De Niro was completely shocked, as evidenced by his reaction in the film. In fact, De Niro was so furious about it he nearly left the set. Cimino later said of Walken, "He's got courage!" The cast and crew slept on the floor of the warehouse where the Saigon Russian roulette sequences were shot. The scene where Savage is yelling, "Michael, there's rats in here, Michael" as he is stuck in the river is actually Savage yelling at the director because of his fear of rats which were infesting the river area. He was yelling for the director to pull him out of the water because of the rats. The slapping in the Russian roulette sequences was 100% authentic. The actors grew very agitated by the constant slapping, which, naturally, added to the realism of the scenes. (source: silverplatters.com)

Cimino had been advised not to fly processed film back into Thailand, where the political situation was very touchy, and therefore had no idea what this part of the picture looked like; he simply “shot with every available camera every day” and hoped for the best. Back in Los Angeles, it took him three months to view the footage and another six to edit the film. When the first rough-cut came in at three-and-a-half hours the distributor, Universal, demanded massive cuts. Cimino eventually trimmed the movie to about three hours, and such influential colleagues as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas urged Universal not to enforce further cuts. A sneak preview at this length was an overwhelming success. The film was given a token showing in December 1978 (to qualify it for the 1978 Academy Awards) and then withdrawn until its national premiere in February 1979.

As Michael Dempsey says, The Deer Hunter attempts “to encompass the effects if the war in Vietnam upon American society in three mammoth narratives blocks of Before, During, and After.” …
The Deer Hunter was chosen by the New York Film Critics as the best English –language picture for 1978 and it won no less than five Oscars, including for Best Picture and Best Director. Financially, it was hugely successful. ..But few recent movies have stirred up such passionate debate…Jane Fonda called the picture “a racist, Pentagon version of the war.”

More trivia:
In the original script, the roles of Mike and Nick were reversed in the last half of the film. Nick returns home to Linda, while Mike remains in Vietnam, sends money home to help Steven, and meets his tragic fate at the Russian roulette table.
Robert De Niro as S/Sgt. Michael "Mike" Vronsky: Roy Scheider was originally cast in this role. De Niro prepared by socializing with steelworkers in local bars and by visiting their homes. Cimino would introduce De Niro as his agent, Harry Eflen. No one recognized him. De Niro claims this was his most physically-exhausting film.
John Cazale as Stanley aka "Stosh": All scenes involving Cazale, who had end-stage bone cancer, had to be filmed first. Because of his illness, the studio initially wanted to get rid of him, but his fiancee, Meryl Streep, and Cimino threatened to walk away if they did. He was also uninsurable, and according to Streep, De Niro paid for his insurance because he wanted him in the film. This was his last film, as he died shortly after filming wrapped.
John Savage as Steven Pushkov: Cimino originally wanted Brad Dourif for the role.
In the original script, the roles of Mike and Nick were reversed in the last half of the film. Nick returns home to Linda, while Mike remains in Vietnam, sends money home to help Steven, and meets his tragic fate at the Russian roulette table.
Walken was just off-camera in one of "The Deer Hunter's" pivotal scenes: his own character's funeral. "I went and hid in the bushes, and I watched everybody being sad. I had a real day off, because they were burying me," he says.....



Aus dem Presseheft

"Sie sind keine Helden. Sie sehen auch nicht so aus. Aber das Leben verlangt Unmenschliches von ihnen."

Der junge Stahlarbeiter Nick in "Die durch die Hölle gehen", der nach seinen furchtbaren Erlebnissen und Erfahrungen im Vietnam-Krieg nicht mehr den Anschluss an sein früheres Leben findet, geistig und seelisch zerbricht und am Ende in dem wohl wahnsinnigsten Glücksspiel das Leben verliert, ist die erste wirklich große Filmrolle für Christopher Walken. Hier kann er sich zum erstenmal auf der Leinwand richtig profilieren, und seine Darstellung gehört mit zu den eindrucksvollsten schauspielerischen Leistungen dieses Films. (...)

Schon mit seiner zweiten Filmregie hat der 37jährige Michael Cimino den großen Coup gelandet. "Die durch die Hölle gehen" ist ein leidenschaftlich engagiertes Bekenntnis zu jenen menschlichen Qualitäten, die unsere an Umbrüchen und Katastrophen so reiche Zeit so leicht zu zerstören bereit ist. Eine Geschichte von Freundschaft und Solidarität, von bitteren Erfahrungen eines Krieges, den die, die dort kämpfen, nicht gewollt haben und erst recht nicht begreifen können, als sie aus ihm heimgekehrt sind. Die aber trotzdem - oder vielleicht gerade deshalb - die Kraft für den Dennoch- Weiterleben finden. Sicher, weil sie Einwanderer-Kinder sind und mit aller Macht ihr neues Land lieben wollen. Michael Cimino schrieb selbst das Drehbuch (zusammen mit Derek Washburn) zu diesem Film, der mit Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale (der tragischerweise nach Beendigung der Dreharbeiten verstarb), Meryl Streep, Rutanya Alda und vielen anderen Darstellern bis in die kleinsten Nebenrollen glänzend besetzt ist. "Ein atemberaubender Film" schrieb die New York Times, und "Cimino ist die Antwort dieser Generation auf John Ford" der Esquire.

"Ein atemberaubender Film über dieses Land von der volkstümlichen epischen Kraft wie "Der Pate". Großartige Rollen für Mr. De Niro, Mr. Walken und Mr. Savage, die hier ihre bisher besten Leistungen zeigen. Meryl Streep, lange bekannt durch ihre hervorragenden Darstellungen auf New Yorker Bühnen, spielt hier eine aufregende Filmrolle. Glänzend besetzte Nebenrollen. Umwerfend fotografiert. Die Gefühle und Emotionen sind unverfälscht. Die visuelle Kraft ist die eines einzigartigen, bedeutenden neuen Filmemachers". (Vincent Canby, New York Times, 1978)

"In leidenschaftlich intensiven, beklemmend brutalen Szenen gibt einem dieser ganz neuartige, große Film die Fähigkeit, diesen besonderen Krieg in seinem ganzen Ausmaß zu begreifen. De Niro ist bemerkenswert, komplex, faszinierend als Michael, dessen ruhige Selbstsicherheit ihn sofort als den natürlichen Anführer der Gruppe kennzeichnet. Walken ist erschütternd eindrucksvoll als Nick. Savage ist rührend in seiner Jungenhaftigkeit. Miss Streep ist unwiderstehlich. "Die durch die Hölle gehen" ist ein emotional aufwühlender Film und einer, der - im Gegensatz zu den meisten Filmen dieses Jahres - wirkliche Originalität zeigt. Was Cimino betrifft: er erweist sich als eines der aufregenden Regie-Talente dieses Jahrzehnts." (Kathleen Carroll, Daily News, 1978)
 

Hintergrundinfos

Zu den spektakulärsten Ereignissen beim Dreh zählte Robert de Niros und John Savages Entscheidung, die Sprünge von dem Helikopter ins Wasser selbst zu machen. Einer nach dem anderen schlug auf dem schlammigen, eiskalten Fluss auf. Als beide wieder auftauchten, wurden sie von einem Schnellboot aufgesammelt und ans Ufer zurück gebracht, um noch einmal zu springen. Den über 9 Meter tiefen Sturz mussten sie in zwei Tagen 15 Mal wiederholen. Robert de Niro und John Savage haben die meisten ihrer Stunts selbst gemacht. In der Sequenz auf der Hängebrücke stiegen beide nach Einweisung von Stunt-Koordinator Buddy Van Horn auf die Kufen des Helikopters, der von einem Pilot der Royal Thai Police Force geflogen wurde. Der Helikopter verfing sich aber an der Brücke und drohte abzustürzen. Die Schauspieler gestikulierten wild umher und versuchten, die Helikopter-Crew zu warnen. Einiges davon ist auch im Film zu sehen.

Die Szene, in der Nick Michael ins Gesicht spuckt, wurde von Christopher Walken improvisiert. Der Regisseur überredete Walken dazu. Robert de Niro wurde davon vollkommen überrascht und hätte vor Wut fast das Set verlassen- Cimino sagte später über Walken dazu: "Er hat Mut!"

Christopher Walken erreichte das magere Aussehen seines Charakters, indem er ausser Reis und Bananen während des Drehs nichts aß. Auch die anderen Schauspieler sollten laut Regieanweisung nur vor Ort vorhandene Nahrung essen.
Cimino drehte, soweit es ging, an Originalschauplätzen. So wurde die Vietnamszene wirklich am Kwai gedreht, wenn auch auf thailändischer Seite. Das Krankenhaus war wirklich für Vietnamveteranen, die auch zu sehen und zu hören sind. Die Filmaufnahmen aus dem Vietnamkrieg sind damals gefilmte Berichte, die aufgrund der Härte zumeist nicht im Fernsehen gezeigt wurden. Auch das Stahlwerk existierte genau in dem Zustand.

Michael Cimino über die Besetzung von Nick: "Wir haben uns bestimmt Tausende von Leuten angesehen". (Er bekam einen kleinen Zettel von Partnerin Joann zugesteckt, den er zuvor nicht beachtet hatte, auf dem stand: 'Christopher Walken ist Nick'.)
"Irgendwo in meinen Akten habe ich Ausschnitte aus Zeitungen in Singapur. Das ist wirklich passiert (Roulette, Anm.) während des Krieges. Was aber wichtiger ist..., also die einen sagen, es ist wahr, die anderen sages, es ist erfunden, das ist unwichtig...worum es mir dabei wirklich ging und was ich zeigen wollte, war: wie dramatisiert man den Krieg. Der Hauptbestandteil des Krieges ist das Warten. Ein Feuergefecht ist normalerweilse heftig, unglaublich wahnsinnig, und ist sehr schnell vorbei. Dann ist man entweder tot, querschnittsgelähmt oder lebendig, eins von den dreien, dazwischen gibt es nichts. Es geschieht blitzschnell.  Den Rest der Zeit wartet man auf den zufälligen Tod. ..(..)  Wie kann man die Anspannung des zufälligen Todes besser darstellen als mit russischem Roulette? Denn wer weiß, man drückt auf den Auslöser, und das war's dann, oder auch nicht....das war für mich die beste Annäherung, die dramatisch möglich ist, an die Realität des Kämpfens. (...) Ich sagte zu den Schauspielern, wechselt nicht eure Kleidung, rasiert euch und wascht euch nicht. Sie stanken wie Müllkippen, die drei...(..) Ein Grund dafür, dass der Film wirkt, ist die selbstlose Ensemble-Arbeit. Keiner versuchte, der Star zu sein, jeder unterstützte den anderen. Das war kein Film, das war echt, sagten sie."

Vilmos Zsigmond: "Die Hochzeitsszenen waren interessant. Da ist nicht viel an Dialog, mehr Action...Tanzen, Hopsen, Hinfallen. Niemand hat erwartet, dass diese Sequenzen 40 Minuten des Films ausmachen würden... das ist fast ein ganzer Film. Und das ist ein Teil, der eigentlich gar nicht richtig dazugehört zur eigentlichen Handlung. Aber für Michael war dies wohl der wichtigste Teil des Films, um die Charaktere einzuführen. Das Studio hasste die Sequenz jedenfalls, sie versuchten also, sie auf 10 Minuten zu kürzen. Michael wusste davon nichts. Sobald er davon erfuhr, schmiss er den Cutter sofort raus. Ironischerweise bekam der Cutter dann den Oscar für den besten Schnitt. (..) Die Szene, die mir besonders in Erinnerung bleibt, ist die, in der Christopher Walken in den Armen von de Niro stirbt, nachdem er sich beim Roulette erschießt. Diese Szene wurde überhaupt nie richtig geprobt. Wir standen mit zwei Handkameras bereit, und Michael sagte bloß, was in dieser Szene passieren würde... die Darstellungen waren so intensiv, so unglaublich. Es gab keinen Grund, das ein zweites Mal zu wiederholen, das wäre auch gar nicht möglich gewesen...."
 

          

            

           

Farbunterschied:  Zwischen "Die durch die Hölle gehen", PAL, Kinowelt/Studiocanal (2. Reihe, 1. Bild und snapshots auf der Seite),
(als DVD-Extras nur Film-Trailer und ein 8-seitiges Faltbooklet mit Infos zum Film & der Kapitelaufteilung) --
 und Arthaus Premium Edition (2. Reihe, Bild 2-4, Extras mit den drei Interviews von Cimino, Zsigmond und Savage)
(Die anderen 8 Bilder sind von den Arthaus-Interviews)

 

John Savage zur Hochzeitsfeier: "Wir hatten eine Menge Spaß und volle Unterstützung der ganzen Leute dort. Die Filmtruppe übernahm nicht die Stadt, sondern die Stadt übernahm die Filmtruppe. Wir haben tagelang gefilmt und gefeiert.  Es war, als ob man eine Hochzeit filmte und sie gleichzeitig feierte; es war eine gut organisierte Party..."
zu Thailand: "Wir gingen bei den Dreharbeiten einige Male dicht am Tod vorbei, und zwar nur, weil unsere Leute in den technischen Bereichen so gut waren. (..) Als wir den Fluss runterfuhren, überschlug sich der Baum mehrmals. Das Boot kenterte mehrmals, in dem die Kamera war. Das Wasser war gefährlich, die Brücke war ziemlich unsicher, wir krochen da rauf, sie wurde beinahe auseinander gerissen, als sich der schwere Baumstamm darin verfing. Dann kam der Hubschrauber, er kippte leicht (weil der Pilot schon müde Füße hatte) und verfing sich an einem Ende der Brücke und rutschte unter das Brückenkabel der anderen Seite...die Brücke wurde hochgezogen und überschlug sich mit uns. Wir hingen also an diesem Kabel... der Hubschrauber war kurz vor dem Abstürzen. Jetzt waren wir keine Schauspieler mehr, das war Realität. Sollten wir abspringen? Es war alles geplant, nur das nicht...'ich muss jetzt eine Pause machen', das gab es nicht..."

Sechs Wochen vor Drehbeginn lebte de Niro unter den Stahlarbeitern der Industriestädte des Ohio-Tales, um deren Lebensweise und Gewohnheiten zu studieren. Er trank mit ihnen in den Kneipen und wurde zum Essen zu ihnen nach Hause eingeladen. Niemand aber erkannte in ihm den berühmten Schauspieler, da er allen unter falschem Namen vorgestellt wurde. Da die typischen alten Stahlstädte nicht mehr existieren, drehte Cimino an sieben Städten, um die Stadt Clairton von Michael und Nick authentischer darstellen zu können.

 

1978 - Academy Award: Best Supporting Actor,
The Deer Hunter (video)-
Christopher Walken's speech

(Best Film Editing Peter Zinner , Vienna, Austria)
(Peter Zinner aus Wien erhielt einen Oscar für den Besten Schnitt von "The Deer Hunter")
 

           

             


               


           

  click to enlarge
 

Der Dreh in Pittsburgh fand im Hochsommer statt, sollte aber Herbst darstellen. Daher mussten grüne Blätter von den Bäumen per Hand entfernt und das Gras gebräunt werden.
Die Gäste der russischen Hochzeit waren keine Schauspieler, sondern Bewohner der Stadt. Sie brachten echte Geschenke mit, tranken zur Feier echten Alkohol und tanzten zur Band, die ebenfalls live spielte. Für die Gemeinde fand die Hochzeit wirklich statt, nur wurde sie zusätzlich noch gefilmt.

Die Bar wurde extra für den Film für 25.000 Dollar in einem leeren Gebäude in Mingo Junction, Ohio, angefertigt. Später wurde sie wirklich zu einem Treffpunkt für die lokalen Stahlarbeiter. U.S. Steel erlaubte das Filmen auf dem Gelände in Cleveland erst, als eine Versicherung über 5 Mill. Dollar abgeschlossen war.
Der Hirsch, den Michael nicht erlegt, war eigentlich ein Elch, und zwar der gleiche, der häufig in US-Werbespots auftauchte. Die Crew hatte ziemliche Probleme damit, ihn dazu zu bringen, seinen Blick auf sie zu richten, weil er schon an Drehsets gewöhnt war. Erst als jemand von der Crew gähnte, sah er in die richtige Richtung.

Da John Cazale bereits sehr schwach war, als man mit der Produktion des Films begann, wurden seine Szenen zuerst gefilmt. Michael Cimino wusste zwar von Anfang an, dass Cazale an Krebs litt, aber das Studio war darüber nicht informiert. Als sie es erfuhren, wollen sie Cazale ersetzen, aber Meryl Streep drohte damit, ihre Arbeit in diesem Fall ebenfalls zu beenden. Cazale starb kurze Zeit, nachdem der Film fertiggestellt worden war.
Als der Film Mitte der 70er geplant wurde, war Vietnam noch immer ein Tabuthema für die großen Hollywood-Studios. Daher übernahm das englische Unternehmen EMI, eigentlich in der Musikbranche tätig, zunächst die Finanzierung. Universal beteiligte sich erst zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt an der Produktion.
 


DVD-(Special) Editions, Blue Ray
www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare10/deerhunter.htm
DVD-Ausgaben

 

    2   3  4
 

1: Special Edition (2003)
2: Special Edition (2005) Legacy Series
-Deleted and extended scenes.-Feature commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and film journalist Bob Fisher.
-Original Theatrical -Trailer Production Notes; (but no interview with Chris Walken)


3: Arthaus Premium Edition (2006)
(..)Die Bonus-DVD wird von drei Interviews eingeleitet, welche wie der Kommentar mit Untertiteln versehen wurden. Die drei Features mit Regisseur Michael Cimino, Kameramann Vilmos Zsigmond sowie Darsteller John Savage wurden hintereinander geschnitten und durch Kapitelflags getrennt, was am Ende eine Gesamtlaufzeit von 55 Minuten ergibt. Die drei haben viel zu erzählen, was an Hand von Filmszenen auch an einigen Stellen belegt beziehungsweise illustriert wird. Man erfährt eine Menge über den Entstehungsprozess des Films, so dass die Gespräche schon fast den Charakter eines Making Ofs besitzen. Hintergrundinfos zu DIE DURCH DIE HÖLLE GEHEN erhält der Zuschauer auf insgesamt acht Texttafeln. Auch hier wird geballtes Wissen samt interessanten Anekdoten vermittelt, so dass sich das Lesen wirklich lohnt! Anschließend hält das Menü sechs ausführliche Filmografien zum Regisseur sowie den fünf Hauptdarstellern bereit. Die Fotogalerie läuft automatisch ab. Nach zweieinhalb Minuten hat man viele Set- und Pressefotos betrachtet. Abschließend wird auf der Scheibe in der Trailershow ein Einblick in das Programm von Kinowelt gegeben – 11 Titel stehen dabei zur Auswahl. Wer die Bonus-DVD letztendlich noch in den PC schiebt, darf sich letztendlich noch das Original-Presseheft im PDF-Format zu Gemüte führen.

4: Special Edition, PAL, 2006
-Audio Commentary by SX Finnie and Michael Cimino
-Shooting The Deer Hunter - an Interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (15:31):
The Director of Photography on The Deer Hunter, Vilmos Zsigmond, is interviewed regarding the shooting of the film, the development of scenes out of short notes in the script and the colour palate used to focus certain scenes that were otherwise a little loose.
-Playing The Deer Hunter - an Interview with actor John Savage (15:39):
As with the previous two features, this interview with John Savage has also been presented by Blue Underground and offers an actor's perspective on the film. Savage was probably the best choice to do this feature, given that Walken drifts out of the movie after Vietnam, returning only at the end and de Niro is famously reluctant to speak about his work. Instead, Savage provides a verbose, informative and emotional analysis of his role in the film, beginning with his fathers's role in the Second World War and ending the interview by breaking down in tears after recalling his hearing the theme to The Deer Hunter at a dinner party organised after the completion of the movie.
-Realising The Deer Hunter - an Interview with director Michael Cimino (23:33):
Michael Cimino, who now looks like a blond Phil Spector, is interviewed in this short feature about the background to the film, its shoot across the US and Southeast Asia and the public and critical reaction to it following its release. As is commonplace when a director provides both a commentary and an interview, there is a noticeable amount of repetition but this appears to have been shot first with the audio commentary only being completed relatively recently. Link
-Original Trailer (3:03)


Blue Ray Studio Canal Collection, 2009

Bei den Extras von 'Die durch die Hölle gehen', bei denen sämtliche videobasierten Features in Standard-Definition (480i, MPEG-2) präsentiert werden, wird der Anfang von einer kurzen 'Präsentation von Mickey Rourke' (ca. 3 min.) gemacht. Der The Wrestler-Star ist ein grosser Fan des Films und spricht hier kurz über den Einfluss, den der Film auf ihn gehabt hat. Nicht direkt film-, dafür themenbezogen ist die darauffolgende französische Dokumentation 'Vietnamkrieg: Unbekannte Bilder' (ca. 48 min.). Die sehenswerte Produktion zeigt in eindrücklichen, aber auch erschreckenden und bedrückenden Bildern die Ereignisse des bis heute sehr umstrittenen Krieges auf.

Features: Ein Making of ist hier zwar nicht vorhanden, aber dafür wird einem mit dem Audiokommentar von Regisseur Michael Cimino der perfekte Ersatz geliefert. Der Regisseur geht hier ausführlich auf die Arbeit an seinem bekanntesten Film ein.
Regisseur Cimino, Kameramann Vilmos Zsigmond und Darsteller John Savage sind zudem in drei Interviews zu sehen bei denen es weitere Infos zur Entstehung des Films zu hören gibt. Die drei interessanten Interview-Segmente sind folgendermassen unterteilt: 'Regie' (ca. 24 min.), 'Dreharbeiten' (ca. 16 min.) und 'Schauspieler' (ca. 16 min.).


Universal 100th Anniversary / Blu-ray + DVD, 2012
Known for his arresting visual style, Cimino makes nearly every frame beautiful and memorable, including neon reflections in bars, glimmering gold-trimmed churches, and large, panoramic mountain vistas making the Blu-ray a virtual must for hi-def aficionados. Much of the credit goes to cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who's joined on an informative running commentary with film journalist Bob Fisher. Fisher asks Zsigmond questions about nearly every significant moment of the film and Zsigmond delivers. He talks about Cimino's heavy collaboration with the actors and film crew (a process he says is becoming increasingly rare); the importance of location scouting and advance discussions before shooting, and how the actors tackled nearly all their own stunts – including scenes in a spark-filled steel mill and a dangerous game of chicken with a large truck. (De Niro, apparently, did the driving.) Mostly, Zsigmond talks about the importance of light in each shot and why it's critical to a film's mood and realism. To add a more documentary-like style, existing buildings were used in Cleveland, which doubled as Pennsylvania, and Thailand, which subbed for Vietnam. As one might expect given his background, Zsigmond also spills several technical details about lenses, film stock and scene setups. Link
 

"Audio-Commentary":

Director Michael Cimino provides a feature-length commentary that, after a slow start, grows into an informative, chatty and entertaining extra. Principally, the commentary allows Cimino the opportunity to explain his development and making of the film and to tell a large number of anecdotes from its shoot, post-production and release. What will be of slightly more interest, depending on your point of view, will be the opportunity it offers the director to defend his film against the accusations of racism, fascism and jingoism that have occurred since its release. That he does so and not only for this film but also, to an extent, Heaven's Gate, will be heartening to those fans of Cimino longing to hear the director offer his view on events. Interestingly, the impression of Cimino as a control freak endlessly reshooting action is not borne out by his recollection of events during this shoot, making an SE of Heaven's Gate including various cuts, director's commentary and analysis of its post-production and editing all the more compelling.
 

 


"Deleted Scenes":

A misleadingly titled 'deleted and extended scenes' extra is instead a selection of a few (very long) alternate camera takes in workprint form. It drags on quite a bit, showing us some moments that are obviously first tries before the actors have fully warmed up. (dvdtalk)

There is an interesting Saigon scene with Walken and an examining doctor that was never edited, and so we get coverage of Walken and the other actor in single shots, which would have been cut together for the final film.
Link

All of the deleted/extended scenes take place in Vietnam. Extended (or different) discussion between Mike and Nick about escaping. A scene showing Steven in the water (jail) praying and calling Michael. Different angles and extended scene (different dialog, too) of the russian roulette game where the 3 bullets are added to the gun leading to Mike and Nick's escape (it ends with Deniro firing the gun [no sound effects]), two different povs of the doctor's discussion with Nick in the Saigon hospital (also, slightly different dialogue).
(from the DH discussion board)

17 minutes of "deleted and extended scenes," most of which consist of extensions of the first Russian roulette sequence. We get several minutes of John Savage freaking out, and several more of De Niro acting like a psycho, baiting his Vietnamese captors. Most of this material was cut for good reasons. De Niro's theatrics in the deleted scenes are way out of character; Michael is an intense but contained and rational man, and his actions in the Russian roulette scenes of the released film ring powerfully true: angry, with a fierce defiance, but coherent and focused on the ultimate goal of escape. I suspect that De Niro, a thoughtful and disciplined actor, had no intention of using this footage and was only trying to build to the pitch of intensity necessary for the scene. If anything, it's an interesting glimpse at De Niro's methods. Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

     

 

 

 

 

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