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Whatever happened to Michael Cimino ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeAW, Dec 7, 2001.

  1. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    Just picked up "Heaven's Gate" for a song at Circuit City and was wondering what happened to Michael Cimino ?

    While the hype over this film was a little over the top at the time...a shark frenzy comes to mind...and his prolific film, "The Dear Hunter" completely forgotten, I was wondering if anyone knew what happened to him ?

    Or does anyone just not care ?
     
  2. Jason Boucher

    Jason Boucher Stunt Coordinator

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    I attended a Pearl Harbor survivors ceremony yesterday that was incredibly moving. At the end, we all sang God Bless America. As tears streamed down the faces of the participants, I was brought back to that final scene in Deer Hunter. To have the survivors singing GBA in that film was a tragic statement on America and it contrasted nicely with the Pearl survivors singing the song in light of recent events. To me, it was as if America's sins have now been purged in some way from the days of Vietnam. That has got to be one of the most powerful scenes in film. Cimino, wherever he is, deserves enduring accolades.
     
  3. DaveCheung

    DaveCheung Agent

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    Cimino's still around and have plans for a new movie. From this article in The Guardian on 12/6, he's going to do an adaptation of André Malraux's La Condition Humaine (Man's Fate) about "a communist uprising in Shanghai" that's going to be a production of "gigantic scale". His new novel "Big Jane" was recently published in France; there aren't any plans of it being published in English though.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    None of Cimino's last four movies (Year of the Dragon, The Sicilian, Desperate Hours, The Sunchaser) made nickel one. Plus, he'll always have that unfair Heaven's Gate stigma attached to him.
    Too bad, because he's not a bad director at all.
     
  5. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    It's a shame that Cimino feels he has to leave the US, but then you can't blame him for his self-imposed exile."Mans Fate" is quite an ambitious undertaking for ANY director, and and doing Malraux in France show's he's still not above taking risks. Sounds like he's taking the Elia Kazan route of writing fiction, too. Congratulations to him. The man has guts!!!

    I just finished "Heaven's Gate", and it struck me as one of those film classics, that everyone will understand AFTER they said they hated it. It has his signature grandois visual style and scope, along with the sparse but subtle meaningful dialogue. Less is more in some instances.
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I have only seen Heaven's Gate once, but I thought it was decent. I did think The Sicilian was painfully bad. Whose brilliant idea was it to cast Christopher Lambert as an Italian?
    So how much was the DVD at CC?
     
  7. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    What happened to Cimino was simply Heaven's Gate flopped, and at the time was the most expensive movie made. He has trouble getting film's financed because of this film. Regardless of whether it's actually good or not, it failed horribly.

    But not just that, it was his comlete self indulgence in having the film go horribly over budget. One of the reasons was that he purchased the land on which it was shot, then tried to keep it for himself. He tried to buy himself property with the studio's money.

    He got a reputation as a reckless spender, and he wasn't exactly going into that film with a perfectly solid track record. Although fabulous, 'Deer Hunter' wasn't financially successful enough to justify what he spent on 'Heaven's Gate.' Cameron would have survived if 'Titanic' was a flop because he had several huge movies under his belt, not just one successful (not huge) one.

    I agree that the criticism of that film is highly unfair, but I can see why he has trouble making films (and the fact that his next four films weren't very good either couldn't have helped).
     
  8. Kenneth English

    Kenneth English Second Unit

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    I agree with just about all of the negative criticism leveled at Heaven's Gate but I do think The Deer Hunter is brilliant and Cimino definitely has great talent. He has a wonderful eye for sweeping, epic visuals even if he isn't much of an actor's director. It'd be nice to see him do something really good again.
     
  9. Randall Dorr

    Randall Dorr Second Unit

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    Michael Cimino is enormously talented, but he has the ego to match, unfortunately.

    If you want to know why Heaven's Gate was such a mess for the studio, read "Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heavens Gate" by Steven Bach. He was an executive at United Artists when the film was made. (the book came out in '85)

    Some of the stories are amazing: Cimino shooting dozens of takes and printing every one, having a town set torn down and rebuilt just so the street would be eight feet wider, keeping the entire cast and crew on 24 hour stand-by, etc.

    Now personally, I love Heaven's Gate and it'd be nice to see a SE on DVD. I doubt MGM would release it, and it's infinitely better than Armageddon, so why not Criterion? It'd go great with Brazil.

    And finally a bit of trivia: the first cut of HG? Five hours and twenty-five minutes.
     
  10. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    John, The DVD was a $12.99 special!

    Randall, What's interesting about the reported things you mentioned, they were really no different or excessive that those on, say, "Cleopatra"...I guess it comes down to a combination of them being Prime Media Fodder.

    To some extent, I also feel, Cimino was a scapegoat for the crimes of others...and we know that, that is nothing new in Hollywood or elsewhere.
     

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