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Is Criterion working on a blu-ray of Heaven's Gate?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Reggie W, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Reggie W

    Reggie W Well-Known Member

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  2. Derrick King

    Derrick King Well-Known Member

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  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I can't read a word when I zoom in on that pixelated picture. But I hope the rumor. or the facebook indication is true. Heaven's Gate fascinates me, even though it's badly flawed storytelling. I love the cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. It tells a story without any help from the script sometimes. Kristofferson delivers the best performance of his career. Deep Texas in Wyoming. He's an authentic actor in this kind of film. A number of my friends are in it, acting their hearts out.
    Criterion has slighted the western in the past. Maybe they'll come through on this one.
     
  4. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Stagecoach wasn't a bad effort, nor was The Furies. It has to be nearly two years since I was told that it was definitely on the slate; it's certainly over 18 months since Criterion said they had Red River on the way.
    I'm pretty confident we'll see both.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'm not confident we'll see both or either. Not at all. Criterion never came through on the The Shooting and Ride In the Whirlwind although they've had the rights tied up for how many years now? Five? Six? Seven years? Does it take three years to do Red River? If Red River came out this Tuesday, it would not disprove discrimination toward the western.
    Only 3 westerns -- Stagecoach, The Furies, perhaps Walker if it is a western -- out of 600 releases tells you where Criterion's interest is, and it's not with the western.
     
  6. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    2 out of 3 of the films in The Samuel Fuller Eclipse collection also took place in *places hat over heart* the West
    As to that picture, I'm hoping it is a real leak. I couldn't help but own the movie that broke U/A on blu-ray.
     
  7. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    [​IMG]
    You have a point, Joe Hudak. I Shot Jesse James and The Baron of Arizona are westerns.
    The point still holds true.
    5 westerns in a catalog of 600 titles amounts to no more than lip service. A tip of the hat instead of a hat.
     
  8. Derrick King

    Derrick King Well-Known Member

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    Richard, I think it is a question of rights, not a discrimination against the western. They just haven't had the chance to license very many westerns. Maybe, now that the studios have basically given up on catalog titles, Criterion will get the chance to license more westerns.
    As for THE SHOOTING and RIDE THE WHIRLWIND, last year I posted the following in the DVD thread you started for the films:
     
  9. benbess

    benbess Well-Known Member

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    I read somewhere that the negative of the long version of Heaven's Gate was thrown out....Hope I'm wrong about that. It seems to have happened in the late 80s, along with all the extra footage from Woody Allen's movies up to that point, as well as the extra footage from most of the other titles made by United Artists. Why they thought the negative of a long version of a film was extra footage is unclear. It was, yet again, to save money on warehouse costs.... And so, it might be a challenge to put out a good HD version of the director's cut of this film. And, as we know, the theatrical version wasn't very good.
    Of course, having weak materials didn't stop them from putting out Stagecoach. I'm glad Criterion put out that title, but it looked pretty raggedy to me...
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    [​IMG]
    I'm glad Criterion put out Stagecoach as well.
    The Warner Brothers DVD offers the better of the two transfers, but I watch the Criterion occasionally because it's a different way of seeing the film.
    I want more westerns like that on Blu-ray from Criterion.
    The Eclipse series might be the perfect venue for imperfect negatives and prints of old westerns.
    The distributors of DVDs and Blu-rays don't know the genre well-enough and don't know what's out there.
    The more you know about the western, the more you'll realize just how narrow and limited the official releases are.
    So many titles are available you can't count them all.
    There are many fine westerns from the earliest days up through the 1970s that haven't been considered for release, or even looked at.
    No one is doing the pioneering into the vaults nor leading the charge getting the films out.
    They stick with the same titles over and over again.
    If it's a choice of working on silents from Japan or silents about the American west from Universal and Paramount, Criterion will go to Japan.
    Heaven's Gate is a widescreen color experience, however.
    I doubt if Criterion would attempt a release if they didn't have the elements they needed.
     
  11. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Heaven's Gate was restored by John Kirk at MGM in 2004. The plan was to restore the film, release it to cinema's both sides of the Pond, and then issue a special edition DVD. Despite the restoration, MGM backed out. IIRC it was snuck out in a few theatres and then the DVD plan was quietly ditched:
    "...Now Heaven's Gate is facing a drubbing all over again. Bingham Ray, the studio executive who commissioned the restoration, was ousted from MGM/UA not long after he gave the green light to Kirk. The original idea was that the newly minted Heaven's Gate would be released in tandem with Epstein's documentary and that both would be issued on a special edition DVD. Post-Ray, MGM's enthusiasm for the project rapidly cooled and Kirk's budget shrank. When MGM re-released the film in the US it was with the minimum of fanfare. Predictably, it did minimal business..."
    I disagree about the Criterion Stagecoach BTW; I think that overall it is the better transfer.
    EDIT; there's more info on Heaven's Gate in this thread.
    EDIT 2: ...and an interview with John Kirk here.
     
  12. benbess

    benbess Well-Known Member

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    John Hodson: Thanks for that link, which has this part which seems to confirm what I wrote earlier. I thought the stuff was thrown out in the late 80s, but it was the early 90s...Same thing that happened to Cleopatra, and so many other films...
    "This poor film has been cursed since the day it started shooting," says MGM's archivist John Kirk, the man in charge of the restoration. His attempts at putting the film back together were frustrated by lack of funds and the careless way in which the out-takes and large parts of the original negative have been discarded. Cimino shot more than 200 hours of footage, but most of this material is now almost certainly lost, thrown out in the early 1990s when MGM was seeking to save money on storage costs.
     
  13. Anthony_H

    Anthony_H Well-Known Member

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    I was initially very excited upon reading this, but upon further reflection I can't see how if Criterion releases this, It can't be anything but a dissapointment for me. I would be less interested in the movie itself than in its historical significance. Unless Criterion intends to include a 3 1/2 hour documentary on the making and/or a Cimino commentary...meh.
     
  14. Ernest

    Ernest Well-Known Member

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    I always liked this movie so a few years ago I purchased the Region 4 PAL version because it was 16 x 9 anamorphic widescreen. It is the complete movie 229 minutes and as far as DVD goes the video quality is okay audio is DD 5.1. HD Net broadcast the 229 minute version sometime ago in 1080i and I recorded the title with my Pioneer hard drive recorder in SP. To preserve the SP quality I dubbed the recording to 2 DVD-R's. Even though I have 2 decent DVD's of this title I would buy a Bluray version without hesitation. It would be nice if Criterion or Twilight could make it happen.
    I play DVD's on Bluray region-free players and have never noticed the 4% speedup some claim to experience. If you are buying a region-free player make sure you spend the money and buy a good one.
     
  15. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Most worthwhile Westerns are major studio holdings that Criterion haven't been able to license, more than likely.
     
  16. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Bucking Broadway (1917) is on the Stagecoach disc. There's six. ;)
     
  17. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the absence of more of a particular genre or geographic region in the collection isn't because they've being political or dismissive, but likely due to rights, and because they can only put out so many films a year.
    Many westerns are indeed owned by the major studios. That they managed to score a major one like Stagecoach was due to it being an independent production.
    And in other cases, lack of available quality elements impedes certain titles. CC isn't renowned for it's stellar quality for nothing. In fact, Spine # 1, Grand Illusion, was NOT the first one released, because at the time they couldn't find elements they deemed suitable, and delayed until a search could be undertaken...which eventually yielded the original camera neg!
     
  18. AL KUENSTER

    AL KUENSTER Well-Known Member

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    What about Ride With the Devil as a Western?
     
  19. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Seven (lord, I feel like Yul Brynner...)
     
  20. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    Aren't they allegedly working on Red River too?
     

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