Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the release date of 1995’s HEAT, widely acknowledged to be one of filmmaker Michael Mann’s masterpieces. After his success in television in the 1980s, Mann’s achievement in mounting HEAT remains impressive. It was only his fifth theatrical feature and still it masterfully navigates two great actors at the peak of their abilities, a supporting cast of nearly two dozen, and an uncommon scale for such an adult story.
Comparatively, Mann’s second feature, 1983’s THE KEEP, is not nearly that revered. For one thing, it’s notoriously harder to see. The novelist who wrote the story, F. Paul Wilson, is famously unimpressed with the film. By many accounts, it wasn’t an easy shoot for Michael Mann, and it’s relatively rare that he is asked about it. While he approved a beautiful transfer of his first feature, THIEF, for Criterion last year, there’s no similar treatment forthcoming for THE KEEP. Over the last couple years, Netflix and Hulu have made it available to stream here and there, but not with any consistency. There is no Blu-Ray release. The repertory circuit shows it occasionally, but it doesn’t enjoy the cult following of the sort of midnight movies that more regularly dominate that scene. THE KEEP is a relatively somber, dreamy, unconventional film. It’s weird. But it being unusual is part of what makes so many of us dig it.
Among the film’s admirers is filmmaker Stewart Buck, who is working on A WORLD WAR II FAIRY TALE: THE MAKING OF MICHAEL MANN’S THE KEEP, a documentary about the making of the film, its importance in the career of the director who made it, and about its continuing influence on several contemporary filmmakers. The documentary draws on the extensive archives of historian Ste?phane Piter and has the blessing of Michael Mann himself. Apparently the film has been made (!) and just needs some finances to get it to the finish line. The filmmakers have turned to Kickstarter to raise the post-production costs needed to complete the documentary.
Our buddy Mike Vanderbilt has already written about this project, over at the A.V. Club, but it occurs to us that we ought to make absolutely sure you know about it. We love THE KEEP and we want to see this documentary. So if you can contribute, please do!
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