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


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#1 of 215 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 25 2012 - 06:27 PM

I have read rumors but I have not seen anything that confirms this...anybody know?http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ Now we know!!! Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate: http://www.youtube.c...C1&feature=plcp

#2 of 215 OFFLINE   Derrick King

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Posted February 25 2012 - 07:49 PM

Click on this link to a photo Criterion posted on Facebook, download it and zoom in on the sheet below the coffee cup and you'll see HEAVEN'S GATE listed.

#3 of 215 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 26 2012 - 02:53 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 26 2012 - 03:19 AM

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.
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#5 of 215 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 26 2012 - 03:55 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted February 26 2012 - 04:03 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 26 2012 - 04:30 AM

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ 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 of 215 OFFLINE   Derrick King

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Posted February 26 2012 - 05:08 AM

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:

http://social.entertainment.msn.com/movies/blogs/videodrone-blogpost.aspx?post=e3a6c5d6-2df3-4316-9b44-a61629f397b6 You were very involved in the Criterion edition of your film, "Two-Lane Blacktop." In fact, you conducted and produced the interviews with Kris Kristofferson and James Taylor for the "Two-Lane Blacktop" disc. I did about four pieces for the DVD and that was a lot of fun. In fact, I'm going to be doing similar things for Criterion releases of my two Jack Nicholson westerns, "The Shooting" and "Ride in the Whirlwind." That's a scoop! Criterion hasn't even announced these discs. They're a ways off. We haven't even closed the deal yet but we've talked about it and basically agreed. They're not going to be doing it until sometime in 2012.



#9 of 215 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted February 26 2012 - 05:21 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 26 2012 - 05:44 AM

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ 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 of 215 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 26 2012 - 07:34 AM

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.
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#12 of 215 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted February 26 2012 - 07:58 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   Anthony_H

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Posted February 26 2012 - 10:11 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   Ernest

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Posted February 27 2012 - 08:07 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 27 2012 - 09:33 AM



Originally Posted by Richard--W 

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.



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


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#16 of 215 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 27 2012 - 09:36 AM



Originally Posted by Richard--W 
5 westerns in a catalog of 600 titles amounts to no more than lip service. A tip of the hat instead of a hat.



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


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#17 of 215 OFFLINE   Brianruns10

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Posted February 28 2012 - 02:26 AM

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 of 215 OFFLINE   AL KUENSTER

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Posted February 28 2012 - 04:40 AM

What about Ride With the Devil as a Western?
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#19 of 215 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 28 2012 - 05:20 AM

Seven (lord, I feel like Yul Brynner...)
So many films, so little time...
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#20 of 215 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted February 28 2012 - 07:57 AM

Aren't they allegedly working on Red River too?






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