Angel Heart - Alan Parker - Director, Writer, Producer - Official Website
Angel Heart () on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more. English film director Alan Parker was first introduced to William Hjortsberg's novel the film came out in only to receive a rather meek response from the critics, Screenwriter must-read: Alan Parker's screenplay for Angel Heart [PDF]. When our working relationship ran its course he went on to make films with Paul. In the end Angel Heart is the weaker film, since its relationship to such conventions is so close that, on a narrative level at least, it never.
We had also taken out all the primary colours from the street, something we continued to do throughout the film with the sets and the costumes following the same colour palette as we attempted to shoot a black and white film in colour. These days this can be achieved by the tweaking of a button on the digital grading.
For me, the first few days of any shoot are always traumatic as I slowly get back into the rhythm of filming after the layoff between films. Like all sex scenes we had a minimal crew to put the actors at ease… a curious notion, I always think, considering the finished film will be seen 70 foot wide by millions of people from the New York Ziegfield to the Shinjuku Piccadilly. Also, it always amazes me how extraordinarily disinterested and matter-of-fact experienced film technicians are when standing two feet away from copulating, naked bodies.
The music for the film covered a wide period: At times my room looked like someone had exploded a bomb in it with the debris of paper, video tapes and photographs scattered around. I think the maid gave up, as she began to just make the bed and leave everything else. I think the books on the occult, voodoo and black magic by my bedside had made her rather suspicious of me anyway.
April 6th Up at 5: The feeling of constant tiredness is my abiding memory of filming. And now, miraculously, we were a day ahead on our schedule. A very rare, and very pleasant, feeling. At Coney Island, the whole area where we were filming had been re-dressed and changed back to the world of Even the big wheel had been repainted to fit in with the monochromatic look we were after.
Rather sarcastically, Alan Marshall reminded us of the perversity of huge numbers of painters required to paint the colour out of the film. For in film art direction it does, of course, take six layers of paint to make something look unpainted. The scenes with Bo and Izzy went well, although it was bitterly cold and the actors found it hard—their lines stuttered through blue, trembling lips.
The crew meanwhile, in fourteen layers of Antarctic clothing, wondered why the flimsily clad actors should possibly need a nurse standing by to combat hypothermia. Suddenly, the actress playing Bo was rather inelegantly knocked off her feet by an abnormally high Atlantic wave halfway through her first speech and promptly disappeared into the icy waters.
The crew dashed into the ocean to fish her out and afterwards, as she lay there, no amount of British charm on my part, nor the kiss of life from the nurse and brandies from the prop man, could coax her back into the water for Take 2.
This magic light of course only lasts for ten minutes or so. Back in Manhattan we shot the opening of the film in the dark alley where the old homeless lady is found with her throat slit. This straightforward scene took us into the early hours of the morning.
A simple cut throat is all I asked for, but four make-up people laboured for hours in order for it to look right. But it was more than just another scene—it was the opening scene, and hence would be presenting the credentials of the following movie. Our trained dog was an old pro and obligingly, and most unusually, performed on cue. Up on the fire escape, working with the cat was more problematic. Back at the hotel I switched on the TV. The bouffant haired newscaster said that Reagan was contemplating bombing Libya.
The commercial said that the news was brought to us courtesy of Fred the Furrier. Chuck is not really an actor he won the Pulitzer Prize for his play, No Place to Be Somebody but the scene was a great pleasure to shoot.
Also we had twenty different silver-topped canes flown in from France from a store Bob had discovered on a visit to Paris. Bob sat in the wardrobe room in costume, twiddling his cane, tightening his tie and feeling the length of his cuff. His now extremely long hair would be put in a bun until the final scene, when we would reveal all.
We also decided to give Cyphre false nails, which would become imperceptibly longer as the story unfolded. A large Russian lady who De Niro had found in Brighton Beach, filed and buffed away whilst talking incessantly of her brother in Chernobyl.
Also we were experimenting with different kinds of contact lenses, the expert on which was based in London, and we dutifully flew him in. Bob put himself through great pain trying to get used to the lenses.
At the end of the day, the costume department packed up his entire wardrobe for him so that he could rehearse, fully dressed, at home. April 17th The whole unit moved to Staten Island for the filming of Dr. In the tight confines of the old house I was reminded how lucky I was to have Mike Roberts operating the camera. He is the best we have in Britain The Killing Fields, Mona Lisa, The Mission, Birdy and his dexterity and balletic sensitivity make choreographing all camera movements a pleasure.
At the end of the first rehearsals, the American crew told me that Reagan had bombed Libya. I asked about the casualties. The train had no working engine and so we nudged it into the shot using a modern locomotive. The New Jersey Teamsters noisily picketed the set our crew was Manhattan-based and this was a long-standing feud, nothing to do with our movie. Breaking with my normal shooting practice, I shot with two cameras simultaneously in opposite directions. As we began it was clear that this process was not about acting, it was akin to a couple of prize-fighters testing one another out as they slowly encircled one another: Bob was cool, meticulous, charming and generous, but had everything under control.
Mickey was disarming and ingenuous, but at all times gave as good as he took. For me, as the referee-onlooker, it was electric to watch if at times somewhat mystifying as to what the heck they were talking about as they ran circles around my script.
Bob was obviously put out by the remark and called me to one side requesting that the sarcastic English jokes should cease. Not that it was needed, anyway. May 2nd We killed Winesap, the lawyer. May 3rd, Louisiana The entire film circus moved to Louisiana and the town of Thibodaux, where we filmed the graveyard sequences with Epiphany Lisa Bonet. The graveyard was a dressed set, but much of what we filmed was already there.
There was no use fighting this so I incorporated it into the scenes. We had carved our racetrack out of an unfarmed Louisiana field as Harry meets with Ethan Krusemark for the first time. All the extras were local French-speaking Cajun people and the atmosphere was a little more pleasurable than working with standard film extras. Stocker Fontelieu, who plays Ethan, was cast locally in New Orleans.
He arrived on set with a niftily coiffed, if somewhat ill-fitting, hairpiece which Michael Seresin thought more closely resembled a small Davey Crocket hat.
I tactfully coaxed it off his head and back into its box, his own shiny, hairless pate being infinitely more preferable. I had based the scene on an old photo of a real Cajun quarter-horse race, and wanted to try an unusual composition by playing the scene wide, with our actors in the extreme left of the frame while the horses in the distance thunder closer.
I asked about the casualties. The train had no working engine and so we nudged it into the shot using a modern locomotive. The New Jersey Teamsters noisily picketed the set our crew was Manhattan-based and this was a long-standing feud, nothing to do with our movie.
April 28th and 29th, Harlem. Breaking with my normal shooting practice, I shot with two cameras simultaneously in opposite directions. As we began it was clear that this process was not about acting, it was akin to a couple of prize-fighters testing one another out as they slowly encircled one another: Bob was cool, meticulous, charming and generous, but had everything under control. Mickey was disarming and ingenuous, but at all times gave as good as he took.
For me, as the referee-onlooker, it was electric to watch if at times somewhat mystifying as to what the heck they were talking about as they ran circles around my script. Bob was obviously put out by the remark and called me to one side requesting that the sarcastic English jokes should cease.
Not that it was needed, anyway.
We killed Winesap, the lawyer. No one will mourn one less lawyer in the world. The graveyard was a dressed set, but much of what we filmed was already there. There was no use fighting this so I incorporated it into the scenes. We had carved our racetrack out of an unfarmed Louisiana field as Harry meets with Ethan Krusemark for the first time.
All the extras were local French-speaking Cajun people and the atmosphere was a little more pleasurable than working with standard film extras. Stocker Fontelieu, who plays Ethan, was cast locally in New Orleans. I tactfully coaxed it off his head and back into its box, his own shiny, hairless pate being infinitely more preferable.
I had based the scene on an old photo of a real Cajun quarter-horse race, and wanted to try an unusual composition by playing the scene wide, with our actors in the extreme left of the frame while the horses in the distance thunder closer.
The timing was very difficult and we turned over again and again. I had written the pit-bulls into the script because I happen to have a particular fear of them myself. The main dog, Henry, was very friendly and good at slobbering and running, but not a great deal else. We moved on to New Orleans where we began by filming Harry being chased through the stables.
The falling horse was extremely dangerous as the stuntman had to take the full weight of the horse onto his legs. As in New York, we had dressed and clad every single storefront as far as the eye could see in order to be authentic to the period, and drained everything of all primary colours for our monochromatic look.
But we were after a different view of New Orleans than had previously been captured on film and, hopefully, the work was justified. Mickey deemed it necessary to scream at the top of his lungs, off camera, to get his motivation before running into the wall of rain.
This would give us a problem in the following days as, aided by the torrential water he, not surprisingly, lost his voice. Louis Falco, who choreographed Fame for me, had been rehearsing the voodoo ceremony with Lisa Bonet and the various dancers we had brought in from Louisiana and New York.
Louis, as always, had done a thorough job, basing it on tapes of an actual Haitian ceremony. Eerily, the slate number on the clapper-board said Lisa Bonet threw herself into the dance as the relentless drums and the ceremony engulfed us all.
Like many blues musicians, he is a very gentle man and found the razor fight very difficult. We only had the trolley cars for a limited period each day as we took over the track on St. Mickey of course, threw curve balls at Charlotte who is always word perfect by wandering away from the lines — as he was prone to do, in his quest to find a fresh and spontaneous way to play the scene and his efforts to try and remember the lines that I had written.
The drawback with this technique is that often the best way to play the scene gets left behind on Take 3. Also, for a more traditional and disciplined actress like Charlotte, too much improvisation can be very off-putting.
We had assembled some wonderful blues players as the backing band, including Pinetop Perkins on piano, Sugar Blue on harmonica and Deacon John on guitar. Mickey was hoarse from screaming in the rain but I continued filming because his strained voice had an animal quality that suited the scene.
However you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye. Cyphre In his previous films, Mickey had got away with doing most of his love scenes whilst still wearing his overcoat and consequently he found himself naked on a film set for the first time in his career.
Love scenes are always difficult to shoot, for obvious reasons, but surprisingly, Lisa Bonet was a lot more relaxed than Mickey was. In fact, she was a lot more relaxed than all of us as she took it all very coolly in her stride no pun intended.
As always I kept the crew down to the absolute minimum: As the rain began to pour through the cracks in the specially rigged ceiling, the two of them make love and the reality becomes a nightmare as the rain turns to blood. The powerful moments on screen belie the actuality—the almost comic opera—of four filmmakers, changing lenses and magazines, completely drenched in blood, filming two actors shagging, fortified by the odd bottle of Japanese beer, seemingly, utterly oblivious to our presence.
Angel Heart () - IMDb
To defuse the tension of such scenes I always play the music that I will be using, very loudly in the room, which only adds to the absurdity of the situation. Every so often I would peep outside, onto the long, narrow veranda, to see 40 disbelieving crew members, wondering what the hell was going on inside the room. When, finally, we all re-appeared, four hours later —hair matted with fake blood, and clothes drenched crimson red — the crew applauded.
After the ceiling rained blood: Alan Parker, New Orleans.
Alan Parker’s ‘Angel Heart’ Is Astonishing as Hell
The date was apt because we were filming the murder of the young soldier. That evening we would be shooting the Times Square scenes where the young soldier is picked up by Johnny Favorite.
I had tried to keep the ritual murder scene as obtuse as possible, alluding to it often in the film—the horrific events are never actually seen, only described by Ethan Krusemark. Brian Morris and his crew had miraculously transformed a corner of New Orleans into an aspect of Times Square.
‘Angel Heart’ Revisited | Devil In The Details
We carried with us at all times: New Orleans, of course, just starts wakeing up at that hour. We had built the interior of the gumbo hut where Harry confronts Krusemark, in a disused bus depot; once again an instant studio. It was a very dangerous scene, verbally and physically, and suddenly Stocker Fontelieu, who played Ethan, had blood trickling down from his temples from the rusty, but still sharp, ice tongs which Mickey had clamped too tightly to the sides of his head.
My first reaction was that it seemed most effective: My third reaction was that it was real blood and that I was looking at Stocker who was really hurt, and so we abandoned the scene for the day. We continued with De Niro and Mickey at the St. Alphonsus Church behind Magazine Street. This beautiful church was originally built by the German community, and together with the Irish church across the street, was once the centre of Catholic life in this part of New Orleans.
Now the Irish Channel area is mainly black, working class projects with a great deal of poverty and resultant crime. Consequently, many of the churches are now disused and empty. We had had a hard time convincing a real priest to help us with the mass which was the background of the scene.
De Niro was portraying. Eventually we relied on a defrocked priest, who was pleased to oblige. He quickly reorganized the art department to get rid of the second altar we had dressed in the scene.
Inprior to Vatican II, Catholic churches only had the high altar. Once again, I shot with two cameras on the actors as Harry began to show his frustration and suspicion of Louis Cyphre. It was a pleasure to watch as De Niro, his real hair cascading over his shoulders, taunts and plays with Harry, who cannot accept the truth.
Frankly, you were doomed from the moment you slit that poor boy in half. Louis Cyphre Harry finds Epiphany dead. The last day of filming. Four months later, we had our first cut of the film. The composed score of our soundtrack is by Trevor Jones and sax solos are by Courtney Pine, the young, English jazz saxophonist.
One of the great advantages of working with contemporary recording techniques is that we can mix onto film in a recording studio with all of the various components and options of modern, multi-track recordings. The resultant sounds might be perfectly appropriate, but they might not —leaving little room for maneuver or experiment. The finished cut and sound mix were finished by February Written as production notes to accompany the film.
However, if you want your films shown in a regular non-pornographic theater, you have to abide by the MPAA rating system. I finally acquiesced removing the offending materials lurking in reel three. Angel Heart has gone on to being a cult film in many countries. During his stay at the hospital, his memories as Harold Angel take over his mind, and he loses all his memories as Johnny due to the coma.
During his stay, doctors, including Dr. Fowler, operate on his face surgically to repair it from his war injuries, changing his portrait enough that he doesn't resemble Johnny Favorite recognizably anymore.
They drop him off in Times Square, thinking it's the last place that the soldier that they kidnapped will remember before the ritual, returning to New Orleans without Johnny. Johnny is found wandering around Times Square and says he's a soldier named Harold Angel. His face is still bandaged so no one knows it's Johnny, even if they could potentially recognize him. He gets treated in a hospital Brooklyn, NYC, for shell-shock.
Eventually he is discharged, completely rehabilitated, and becomes a detective. During his time as a detective, someone either recognizes him or Satan himself discovers that Harold is Johnny with another man's memories.