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HEAVEN'S GATE special edition


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#1 of 65 robert galasek

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Posted August 29 2006 - 11:48 AM

Was there ever any more news on a special edition of HEAVEN'S GATE (possibly including the 2004 documentary "Final Cut: The Making of 'Heaven's Gate' and the Unmaking of a Studio")? I thought the change of management at MGM's home video division caused this to be delayed, in the same way as the special editions of Leone's Dollars special editions were, but has HEAVEN'S GATE been abandoned? Love it or hate it, it is still an important part of film history and deserves a better DVD that the one that exists now.

#2 of 65 Nicholas Vargo

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Posted August 29 2006 - 02:49 PM

What I had heard, and I had read this in an article about the movie when it was re-released in the UK, was that when the new mangement team came into MGM, the company had completely lost interest in the project. The doc that was made about the movie and broadcasted on TRIO is now banned from the airwaves, since the film clips were supposedly used without permission, or something like that.

I agree, it really is a shame, since even though the film is very egocentric, you can't deny that the film for the most part is a wonderful masterpiece. It has never deserved the reputation it received, and that is really sad.
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#3 of 65 Darrell Bratz

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Posted August 30 2006 - 05:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Vargo
I agree, it really is a shame, since even though the film is very egocentric, you can't deny that the film for the most part is a wonderful masterpiece. It has never deserved the reputation it received, and that is really sad.
Well...I think "can't deny" might be overstating it. There's lots of reasonable people who have viewed it (even in recent years) who would take issue with "for the most part is a wonderful masterpiece". I don't deny you your opinion, but it's hardly a consensus opinion today, even among those who have given it an honest second chance.

#4 of 65 TonyD

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Posted August 30 2006 - 09:09 AM

i thought this was an announcement of a special edition.

i would like to see it.

wonder why it was a box office mess.

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#5 of 65 oscar_merkx

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Posted August 30 2006 - 10:15 AM

Yes I would love to own a SE
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#6 of 65 AlexCosmo

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Posted August 30 2006 - 10:23 AM

Vilmos Zsigmond's photography alone deserves a good release! And include the "short" version. I've never seen it, and maybe it's terrible, but it was the version that was most widely released, I believe.

#7 of 65 Elijah Sullivan

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Posted August 30 2006 - 11:58 AM

Well, the concensus may not be that the movie is a masterpiece, but the concensus that I'm aware of seems to be that the film was, at the very least, treated unfairly. The tabloids and general media hatred is what killed this film, not the film's quality.

I, for one, like the film, although I would not call it a masterpiece -- but it doesn't have to be to deserve a Special Edition DVD. There's a four-disc DVD of Pearl Harbour out there, why not a two-disc Heaven's Gate?

#8 of 65 Mike_Richardson

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Posted August 30 2006 - 01:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
wonder why it was a box office mess.

Not every film that's a gigantic failure is an unheralded masterpiece.

Great cinematography or not HEAVEN'S GATE is a dud. You can't fault the studio for trying a myriad of times to make sense out of it. Long version, short version -- it's gorgeous looking but has almost nothing else to recommend it.

I also take issue with the fact that it was "treated badly." It had one of the biggest budgets of ALL TIME when it was made. Cimino showed a reckless disregard for the money he was entrusted with, and delivered a project that was -- and this is putting it kindly -- less than good.

The movie single-handedly wrecked the studio that produced it, and you're saying the studio treated CIMINO and his movie badly? Talk about revisionist history! UA was guilty only of indulging him to the degree of excess that he showed behind the camera (and ultimately in front of it). If anything he was given carte blanche to do whatever he wanted -- and the film turned out as it did because of Cimino's excess.

After what Cimino did, and in the insane amount of other people's dollars he blew on that project, frankly the studio had every right to cut it and do whatever they could with it. No version, at any length, worked.

And Cimino's career after that (as much as I plead guilty to enjoying Year of the Dragon) basically confirms what kind of disaster he produced with that film. I love the cinematography as much as anyone but otherwise it's one of the most glaring displays of personal excess on a director's behalf in the history of the cinema.

#9 of 65 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 31 2006 - 06:17 AM

There's more than just exceptional cinematography on offer here - the story itself, of a dark period in American history, is fascinating. But the structure, pacing and general dynamic of the film is way off and that is what weakens it. But it is far from a bomb. It certainly deserves a new HD transfer and Cimino commentary (he hates both documentaries made on the film, BTW).

#10 of 65 robert galasek

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Posted August 31 2006 - 11:56 AM

Gordon, "he hates both documentaries made on the film". I did not know there were two. Is there any way of getting hold of them?

I started the thread knowing that it would divide opinions. HEAVEN'S GATE has extraordinary things in it and major flaws. If DVD is about preserving film history HEAVEN'S GATE does deserve a special edition given its significance in bringing about the downfall of a major studio, and bringing to a close the great era of 70s cinema.

#11 of 65 Simon Howson

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Posted August 31 2006 - 01:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert galasek
HEAVEN'S GATE has extraordinary things in it and major flaws.
I think the major flaw is that nearly every scene goes on for twice as long as necessary. Atlman said the same things more eloquently in McCabe & Mrs. Miller...

Oh, and the final battle is farcical, they all would've been killed in a few minutes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert galasek
If DVD is about preserving film history HEAVEN'S GATE does deserve a special edition given its significance in bringing about the downfall of a major studio, and bringing to a close the great era of 70s cinema.
DVD is about making money, and other than the French, not many people are interested in buying Heaven's Gate on DVD.

Heaven's Gate didn't really bankrupt United Artists. As Steven Bach details in his great book "Final Cut", U.A.'s parent company TransAmerica wanted to get rid of U.A. for ages, because it wasn't helping its share price. The success of the Bond film Moonraker more than made up for the loses incurred by Heaven's Gate. But TransAmerica used Heaven's Gate as an excuse to get out of film production.

#12 of 65 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted September 01 2006 - 01:44 AM

Sorry, Robert - I had it in my mind that there was another documentary besides "Final Cut", but there isn't - not yet, anyway; any future DVD set may include an all-new featurette or documentary. It's a shame: the current transfer of the film is pretty poor and I'd love to see an all-new, restored HD transfer and the "Final Cut" documentary, but it looks like neither desire will be fullfilled any time soon.

#13 of 65 Darren Gross

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Posted July 24 2007 - 07:55 AM

So now that Fox is running the show as far as distribution and title selection, any hopes that HEAVEN'S GATE will be put back on the schedule?

The current disc is dire and badly in need of a new edition. Last I'd heard through the grapevine was that a new HD transfer was already done when the film was restored a few years ago, so all MGM would need to do is release it...with the FINAL CUT doc included, one hopes.

The shortened edition is supposed to be worthwhile as it really is a considerable rethink with alternate takes used, plus some of the muddled dialogue was relooped in this version and narration added etc. It would also be a great inclusion.

#14 of 65 Richard--W

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Posted July 24 2007 - 08:51 AM

For all it's flaws -- and they are heavy -- I find much to enjoy in HEAVEN'S GATE. I would buy a special edition, or even a multiple disc edition, in a heartbeat.

#15 of 65 Corey3rd

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Posted July 24 2007 - 01:01 PM

the long cut plays much better than the theatrical (Ray had a print that we ran a couple times). I've spoken with people who worked on the film. Their on location stories were better than anything in Final Cut. There was more than cinematic genius fuelling that set.

what gets me is that everyone wants to praise the living daylights out of Days of Heaven as if it was a box office stud. But it earned as little as Heaven's Gate. Plus it also had an out of control production schedule and Malick cut it for two years. But everyone had their knives out for Cimino.
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#16 of 65 Jim*Tod

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Posted July 24 2007 - 02:19 PM

The comparison between the productions of DAYS OF HEAVEN and HEAVEN'S GATE is fairly valid, except Malick's film cost only a fraction of the budget of HEAVEN'S GATE. I like both films, though DAYS OF HEAVEN is at least more coherent and watchable. In any case, after a decade when directors more or less got what they wanted, HEAVEN'S GATE was used as an argument against the freedom that created many masterpieces in the 70's... as well as some movies, like Dennis Hopper's THE LAST MOVIE, that were virtually unreleasable. Unfortunately it also meant the begining of film making that is so market tested, it results in films that are singularly bland and uninteresting, a legacy that persists to this day.

#17 of 65 Richard--W

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Posted July 24 2007 - 02:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd
the long cut plays much better than the theatrical (Ray had a print that we ran a couple times). I've spoken with people who worked on the film. Their on location stories were better than anything in Final Cut. There was more than cinematic genius fuelling that set.

what gets me is that everyone wants to praise the living daylights out of Days of Heaven as if it was a box office stud. But it earned as little as Heaven's Gate. Plus it also had an out of control production schedule and Malick cut it for two years. But everyone had their knives out for Cimino.

Malick is businesslike, self-disciplined, thoroughly prepared if not overly prepared, does what he says he'll do, and is easy to get along with. He also takes care of your money.

Cimino, on the other hand was abrasive personally and had a talent for making enemies out of friends. He didn't have a clear idea what he wanted, kept changing his mind and everyone else's plans, was utterly unprepared, and the last thought in his head was to take care of your money. If the money people don't feel they can depend on you, your career is over.

#18 of 65 Corey3rd

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Posted July 24 2007 - 05:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard--W
Malick is businesslike, self-disciplined, thoroughly prepared if not overly prepared, does what he says he'll do, and is easy to get along with. He also takes care of your money.

Cimino, on the other hand was abrasive personally and had a talent for making enemies out of friends. He didn't have a clear idea what he wanted, kept changing his mind and everyone else's plans, was utterly unprepared, and the last thought in his head was to take care of your money. If the money people don't feel they can depend on you, your career is over.

Where did you hear that rumor about Malick? Malick is not even close to a disciplined guy. On both Days of Heaven and Thin Red Line, he tossed out the script and just improved the film. He wanted the actors to "find the film." The man took 2 years to cut Days of Heaven along with the year to shoot it so it can all be done at Magic Hour. He doesn't come close to taking care of the money. Days of Heaven didn't set the box office on fire. Thin Red Line cost $52 million and after you factor in the P&A at $13 million, it doesn't look like Fox was rolling in gravy with a gross of $36 million. "New World" cost $30 million. it didn't clear $13 million which was probably as much money as Fine Line spent on P&A. And that doesn't include the costs of recutting the film after its first week.

As far as personalities go, how do we know what Malick's personality? He doesn't even allow himself to be shot in the "making of" documentaries. The guys who produced Thin Red Line weren't exactly in love with their Terry time. from imdb.com's trivia on the film:
Prior to the film's release, Geisler and Roberdeau allegedly violated a confidentiality clause they had signed by giving an interview to Vanity Fair about their long involvement with Malick and the film. Malick was upset by this. Geisler and Roberdeau had to sign another agreement stating they would not attend the Oscars ceremony. If they violated that agreement, their names would be stripped from the film and video credits.
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#19 of 65 Richard--W

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Posted July 24 2007 - 06:26 PM

Your evaluation is erroneous. You're leaving out so much about the production process and distribution I don't know where to start. It's impossible. I'm not going to debate this with you. But I will ask what makes you think Malick is in competition with Cimino? Why does one have to be compared to the other? Forgive me, but your analogy is ill-informed if not fatally flawed.

I reiterate, I find much to enjoy and appreciate in HEAVEN'S GATE regardless of its flaws, and I will cheerfully buy a special edition. I support your suggestion one-hundred percent.

Regarding THE NEW WORLD, I have one complaint to level against the film, and Malick, and it's a big one. BIG. All the historical evidence, from the eyewitness descriptions in journals, letters, and ship's logs, to the pilgrim's drawings, are unanimous that the "red savages" lived naked and were naked during their interaction with the pilgrims. Indian men, women and children were all casually naked. So, Pocahontas should have been naked throughout the film. To clothe her is to perpetuate a glaring historical inaccuracy, in a film that boasts a rare historical intelligence. Malick really chickened out in this regard. Just think of the boost nudity would have given to the box-office.

#20 of 65 Simon Howson

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Posted July 24 2007 - 10:42 PM

The most amazing thing about Heaven's Gate is that it got made. According to Steven Bach, Cimino first pitched the film to U.A. in 1975. Here is the list of cast that he presented to U.A.

John Wayne (main character, played by Kristofferson)
Jeff Bridges (ultimately played by Walken)
Jane Fonda (ultimately played by Huppert)

Minor characters: Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, James Stewart, Rod Steiger, Burt Reynolds, James Caan.

As the immigrants: Richard Widmark, Ingrid Bergman, Gene Hackman, George Kennedy, Jon Voight, Kirk Douglas.

U.S. Marshall - Joel McCrea, Govenor of Wyoming, Randolph Scott, U.S. cavalry captain, William Holden. Mayor of the town, Arthur Kennedy. Classmate of Wayne character (ultimatly played by Hurt) Jack Lemmon.

That proposed cast list just SOUNDS like someone who is in a fantasy land, and not serious about making an actual film.


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