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A few words about...™ Heaven's Gate -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#261 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted January 21 2014 - 02:24 PM

I have a PDF of the screenplay and not much of substance was removed from the final film.  I think most of the extra material from the 5:25 cut was the extended battle (as CineCraft mentions) and extensions within scenes (some of which wound up in the short version).  The screenplay has one scene where Averill stops off at the widow Kovach's cabin on his way back to Sweetwater to offer his condolences and she doesn't come out, and Averill notices somebody following him in the distance (this turns out to be Morrison).  Incidentally, it's during this cut scene that Averill utters the "widows and orphans" line which is used as voice-over in the final film as he rides away from the woman and her kids along the trail.  It's also revealed in the screenplay that Morrison is spying on Averill and Ella when they have their picnic near the river, and during the "break" in the big battle at the end, Averill burries Nate's body (stills of this scene exist).  Other than that, there's nothing else I can recall in the script other than an extra line or two of dialogue here and there.

 

BTW here's some cool photos of the 70mm print of HEAVEN'S GATE stored at the National Archives taken just over a week ago:  https://www.facebook...98056944&type=1  The print appears to still have most of its color, and ends with the freeze-frame of Averill still in the cabin of the boat, just like the original VHS release.  It also has the subtitles for the immigrant's foreign-language dialogue, but DOES NOT have intertitles (i.e., WYOMING 20 YEARS LATER).  

 

https://www.facebook...&id=63498056944

 

Also re: the outs having been destroyed.  While that was reported back when John Kirk did his photochemical restoration in the early-2000s, the Criterion Blu-ray includes outtake footage during the supplements.  I wonder where that came from?  Maybe the footage wasn't ever junked, just misplaced (like the seps apparently were when Kirk did his work)?

 

Vincent



#262 of 322 OFFLINE   Paul Rossen

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Posted January 21 2014 - 03:21 PM

With Heaven's Gate clocking in at 219 minutes (not to mention the original screening for studio execs that ran 325), it's worthwhile to remember director George Roy Hill's statement (quoted by screenwriter William Goldman): "If you can't tell your story in two hours, you better be David Lean."

Interesting quote as George Roy Hill confirmed he was not David Lean when he made the 189 minute HAWAII.  That said Hawaii in it's full length version is not a bad film.



#263 of 322 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted January 21 2014 - 03:28 PM

Interesting quote as George Roy Hill confirmed he was not David Lean when he made the 189 minute HAWAII.  That said Hawaii in it's full length version is not a bad film.

I can't think of a George Roy Hill film that tells its story in less than two hours.

 

HAWAII, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, BUTCH CASSIDY, THE STING all exceed that length.  I think THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP may as well.



#264 of 322 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted January 21 2014 - 04:14 PM

For the record, nine of Hill's 18 films, including Butch Cassidy, run under two hours.

#265 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted March 18 2014 - 01:41 PM

Both a 35mm print of the short version and a 70mm print of the premiere version of HEAVEN'S GATE will be screened this April by the Library of Congress.  Screenings are free to the public:  http://www.loc.gov/t...014/14-048.html

 

Apparently, the 70mm is the actual premiere print that played for one week in New York City in November 1980.

 

Vincent



#266 of 322 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted March 18 2014 - 02:40 PM

Wow, I'd love to see that 70mm screening especially if it's the same print I saw at the Cinema 1. I wonder if it has any color left.

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#267 of 322 OFFLINE   Paul Rossen

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Posted March 18 2014 - 03:11 PM

Wow, I'd love to see that 70mm screening especially if it's the same print I saw at the Cinema 1. I wonder if it has any color left.

Well...that makes two of us who saw that print at the Cinema 1 back in the day.  



#268 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted March 18 2014 - 03:16 PM

Peter:  A couple months ago the print was pulled and a couple of the reels were screened and it was estimated that it had about 85% of the color intact (see my post #261 above, which includes a link to some pictures of the print as well as the test screening).

 

Vincent



#269 of 322 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted March 18 2014 - 06:48 PM

Very cool Vincent, thanks. Amazing it's got that much color left - should be a great show.

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#270 of 322 OFFLINE   DP 70

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Posted March 19 2014 - 02:48 AM

I have a PDF of the screenplay and not much of substance was removed from the final film.  I think most of the extra material from the 5:25 cut was the extended battle (as CineCraft mentions) and extensions within scenes (some of which wound up in the short version).  The screenplay has one scene where Averill stops off at the widow Kovach's cabin on his way back to Sweetwater to offer his condolences and she doesn't come out, and Averill notices somebody following him in the distance (this turns out to be Morrison).  Incidentally, it's during this cut scene that Averill utters the "widows and orphans" line which is used as voice-over in the final film as he rides away from the woman and her kids along the trail.  It's also revealed in the screenplay that Morrison is spying on Averill and Ella when they have their picnic near the river, and during the "break" in the big battle at the end, Averill burries Nate's body (stills of this scene exist).  Other than that, there's nothing else I can recall in the script other than an extra line or two of dialogue here and there.

 

BTW here's some cool photos of the 70mm print of HEAVEN'S GATE stored at the National Archives taken just over a week ago:  https://www.facebook...98056944&type=1  The print appears to still have most of its color, and ends with the freeze-frame of Averill still in the cabin of the boat, just like the original VHS release.  It also has the subtitles for the immigrant's foreign-language dialogue, but DOES NOT have intertitles (i.e., WYOMING 20 YEARS LATER).  

 

https://www.facebook...&id=63498056944

 

Also re: the outs having been destroyed.  While that was reported back when John Kirk did his photochemical restoration in the early-2000s, the Criterion Blu-ray includes outtake footage during the supplements.  I wonder where that came from?  Maybe the footage wasn't ever junked, just misplaced (like the seps apparently were when Kirk did his work)?

 

Vincent

Thanks for the pics.



#271 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted April 19 2014 - 02:42 PM

So the 70mm premiere print screened last night at the Library of Congress and it was a very interesting viewing experience.  The print was in very good shape had had most (if not all) of its color intact.  Obviously, it looked quite different in terms of color timing than the Criterion Blu-ray-  "pastel" is how I'd describe the overall look vs. the deeply saturated, almost Technicolor look of the Criterion supervised by Cimino in 2012.  But more shocking was the difference in grain structure compared to both the 2K DCP and final Blu-ray.  Whereas the DCP and Blu-ray are literally often swimming with heavy grain, the 70mm print was incredibly finely grained and detailed.  It looked gorgeous, and I'm at a loss as to why the 2K DCP/Blu-ray would sport such a harsh, heavy grain-structure compared to this.  Is this inherent in optically creating the color separations, whereas doing a direct optical blow-up from the 35mm negative to 70mm print wouldn't have introduced such rough additional grain?  Since both elements are optically created and would have been made circa 1980, why would one have such a heavy grain build up while the other does not?  Or would this be an issue with scanning three separate film elements at 2K and digitally combining them?   Either way, it's a damn shame the DCP/Blu-rays look so rough in terms of grain, since the finely-grained 70mm print indicates the heavy grainy look is NOT a product of the original cinematography.

 

Aside from the different color palate and massively preferable look in terms of detail and grain, the 70mm print was also notable in that it completely lacked the inter-titles ("Harvard Graduation 1870",  "Wyoming 20 Years Later",  "Casper, Wyoming", "Sweetwater"  and "Newport, Rhode Island 1903") that are included in every other version of HEAVEN'S GATE, while on the other hand the 70mm print DOES contain the subtitles for foreign dialogue and ends on the freeze-frame of Averill in the cabin of his yacht before very slowly fading to black, just like the original VHS release.

 

Vincent



#272 of 322 OFFLINE   Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted April 19 2014 - 03:02 PM

I hate this film for ending the relationship between United Artists and Transamerica after 14 years. Transamerica then sold UA to MGM, and ordered UA to remove all references to Transamerica from their films.

 

Because of this film's initial failure, the Transamerica/UA logos are getting incresingly harder to find.



#273 of 322 OFFLINE   bruceames

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Posted April 19 2014 - 04:46 PM

I hate this film too, but not only because it bankrupt UA, but because it's really very boring.  If they cut out the unnecessary parts then it would run about half as long, if that.



#274 of 322 OFFLINE   davidHartzog

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Posted April 19 2014 - 04:50 PM

It is just a bad film, and no amount of revisionism is going to change that.
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

#275 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted April 19 2014 - 05:11 PM

*
POPULAR

If you hate the movie so much, why bother following a thread about it?  I raised some issues in my post re: the original 70mm print vs. the look of the new digital version, you guys chiming in with the equivalent of "Dat moovie sux!" isn't exactly what could be construed as a constructive contribution.

 

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#276 of 322 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted April 19 2014 - 05:32 PM

Seriously.



#277 of 322 ONLINE   davidmatychuk

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Posted April 19 2014 - 05:49 PM

It is just a great film, and a huge amount of revisionism has changed that.



#278 of 322 OFFLINE   Jim*Tod

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Posted April 19 2014 - 07:30 PM

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]My experience with the film was different.  Like most people I did not see the full original version.  And when later the shorter version I felt like it was not worth bothering with.  But later that same year I went to a double feature of MCCABE AND MRS MILLER and the cut version of HEAVEN'S GATE at a good repertory theatre.  After watching the Altman film I thought I would at least watch the first few minutes of the Cimino, if nothing else to say I had walked out on it... and was so blown away by the visuals I stayed for the whole movie.  Of course both were shot by Zsigmond.  Bought the blu ray this past year.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]I wish I had had time to go to the 70mm screening in Culpeper Friday night.  I have been there once to see a restored version of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and can say they do an incredible job in terms of their presentation.  But even from Richmond Culpeper is at least a three hour drive, so to go that far for a four hour movie after working all day is more than I could handle.  Wish this could be run again on a Saturday afternoon.[/font]



#279 of 322 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted April 19 2014 - 07:30 PM

So the 70mm premiere print screened last night at the Library of Congress and it was a very interesting viewing experience.  The print was in very good shape had had most (if not all) of its color intact.  Obviously, it looked quite different in terms of color timing than the Criterion Blu-ray-  "pastel" is how I'd describe the overall look vs. the deeply saturated, almost Technicolor look of the Criterion supervised by Cimino in 2012.  But more shocking was the difference in grain structure compared to both the 2K DCP and final Blu-ray.  Whereas the DCP and Blu-ray are literally often swimming with heavy grain, the 70mm print was incredibly finely grained and detailed.  It looked gorgeous, and I'm at a loss as to why the 2K DCP/Blu-ray would sport such a harsh, heavy grain-structure compared to this.  Is this inherent in optically creating the color separations, whereas doing a direct optical blow-up from the 35mm negative to 70mm print wouldn't have introduced such rough additional grain?  Since both elements are optically created and would have been made circa 1980, why would one have such a heavy grain build up while the other does not?  Or would this be an issue with scanning three separate film elements at 2K and digitally combining them?   Either way, it's a damn shame the DCP/Blu-rays look so rough in terms of grain, since the finely-grained 70mm print indicates the heavy grainy look is NOT a product of the original cinematography. Aside from the different color palate and massively preferable look in terms of detail and grain, the 70mm print was also notable in that it completely lacked the inter-titles ("Harvard Graduation 1870",  "Wyoming 20 Years Later",  "Casper, Wyoming", "Sweetwater"  and "Newport, Rhode Island 1903") that are included in every other version of HEAVEN'S GATE, while on the other hand the 70mm print DOES contain the subtitles for foreign dialogue and ends on the freeze-frame of Averill in the cabin of his yacht before very slowly fading to black, just like the original VHS release. Vincent

Thanks for the report, Vincent. Since they have said this was the same print that I saw in NYC during the original run, I can *finally* dismiss my incorrect memory regarding the dialog subtitles. Also, your report confirms that the 70mm blowup was very clear and detailed, which *is* how I remembered it.

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#280 of 322 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted April 19 2014 - 08:38 PM

Peter,

 

I wonder if your "incorrect" memory re: the imigrants' subtitles was due to the fact that the premiere print lacks all the intertitles?  I can see how a virgin audience would be confused by the time/location changes in the film without them, especially the coda on the boat (in fact, last night I had to clarify the coda to a confused member of the audience who had never seen the film before).

 

Vincent







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