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(YouTube) Video Saturday Cinema, Heaven's Gate - 1980: A sheriff born into wealth attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests. Epic in scale and budget, it bankrupted its studio   (youtube.com) divider line 16
    More: Video, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, European immigrants, Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Michael Cimino  
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929 clicks; posted to Video » on 03 May 2014 at 2:54 PM (47 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-03 10:37:43 AM  
img.fark.net

Michael Cimino's huge anti-western based on events in 1890s Wyoming.

The sherrif attempts to protect immigrant farmers from wealthy land barons, and also clashes with a hired gun over the woman they both love. This three and a half hour film was released in several versions, and attempted to prick the balloons of some cherished myths including that that honest people with strong backs could make a go of it in the westward expansion.

Anyone Google-ing this, don't confuse it with a suicide cult of UFO worshippers!

Like Ishtar, this hugely expensive film got so much bad press over its production expenses for so long, it flopped upon opening in November 1980. The condemnation should have been expected after months of press salacious stories about production issues such as: At one point during filming, Michael Cimino decided that the spacing of the buildings on a set didn't look right, despite it having been built to his specifications. He ordered both sides of the street razed and rebuilt, at a cost of $1.2 million over the objections of his crew, who reasoned that it would be easier and cheaper to knock down one side of the street and rebuild it twice as far away. And why not? The film boasted 150 carpenters.

Had this been the only example that would have been odd but hardly fatal. Search for Heaven's gate trivia and you'll get heaps of examples. Apparently 50 takes were not uncommon for each scene. Enough film was shot for 200 hours or nine days non-stop viewing. Put another way, that's 1.5 million feet of film over the 165 days of shooting. Cimino was reportedly such a perfectionist that by the fifth day of filming they were already four days behind schedule. To be fair, this is a beautiful looking film with an amazing cast and hundreds of extras in nearly every shot or  very large sets. Some of the lavish scenes like the prologue were shot after the film had wrapped and was clearly in trouble. The millions spent are visible but that's not the only impact the film had. It bankrupted Universal Artists.

Here's a documentary about the fall out of Heaven's Gate.

In former United Artists' Executive Steven Bach's book on the making of the film, Bach apparently visited a director (against DGA rules) with the intent of seeing if he would replace Michael Cimino. As he did not want to create problems for that director, in the book Bach only refers to him as 'The Famous Director'. When 'The Famous Director' asks what the rushes look like, Bach told him that it looked 'like you went and made a Western', the implication being that unnamed director was David Lean.

The film is also credited with ending the Director's Era of the 1970s when new directors were spending stacks of cash but ended up making winners like Star Wars, Jaws, Apocoplyse Now, and Godfather and Cimino's amazing Deerhunter that snared best film and best actor in '78.

Attempts have been made to re-evaluate the film and its reputation.A restored version of the movie was screened at both the Venice and New York film festivals in 2012. Steven Soderbergh, the film director, editor and cinematographer known for Sex Lies and Videotape, Ocean's 12 and 13, The Limey, Solaris, K Street and the Good German took it upon himself to re-edit Heaven's Gate. His razor trimmed out the prologue which takes place at Harvard University (really Oxford), and cuts the film down to a very lean 108 minutes. You can see his version at his blog: Extension 765.

Read some IMDB reviews but see it but more importantly, see it make up your own mind.

Last week's Saturday Cinema.

In next week's Saturday Cinema, Oliver Reed's character did not bend, so he broke.

www.parkcircus.com
 
2014-05-03 11:41:47 AM  
"Final Cut" was the name of the book and the documentary film chronicling this disaster, and a great look into Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which drives many to Hollywood.

It took me two weekends to watch Cimino's film, it was so bad.
 
2014-05-03 12:03:49 PM  
This book is good:

i43.tower.com
 
2014-05-03 12:10:26 PM  
Steven Soderbergh recently put his own re-edit of Heaven's Gate on his website.

http://extension765.com/sdr/16-heavens-gate-the-butchers-cut

I tried to watch it but it was still boring.
 
2014-05-03 01:15:18 PM  
Strip away the too-long college scenes and you're a lot closer to a pretty great film. Great cast (interesting to see Sam Waterston playing such a weasel), wonderful soundtrack, beautiful cinematography...
 
2014-05-03 03:37:27 PM  
www.has.vcu.edu

Inspirational
 
2014-05-03 04:09:19 PM  
Here's part 1 of the doc to which, I believe, you were attempting to link.

"H.G." was not a great movie. But it was a great scapegoat. And that's all that mattered.

"The uncreative people won."
 
2014-05-03 05:13:46 PM  

gaslight: In former United Artists' Executive Steven Bach's book on the making of the film, Bach apparently visited a director (against DGA rules) with the intent of seeing if he would replace Michael Cimino. As he did not want to create problems for that director, in the book Bach only refers to him as 'The Famous Director'. When 'The Famous Director' asks what the rushes look like, Bach told him that it looked 'like you went and made a Western', the implication being that unnamed director was David Lean.


Really, David Lean?  I read Bach's Final Cut and got the impression it was Robert Altman who had previously directed McCabe & Mrs. Miller which, like Heaven's Gate, was also an "anti-Western".
 
2014-05-03 06:27:23 PM  
The poster alone tells you what a mess the movie was going to be.
 
2014-05-03 06:40:55 PM  

RoyBatty: The poster alone tells you what a mess the movie was going to be.


Agreed. A lot of people want to make this movie out to be some kind of misunderstood masterpiece and frankly it's just an ordeal to sit though. Who cares how pretty the lighting, costumes, sets and performances are if the screen is filled with tedium, dust, smoke, noise and incoherent dialogue?

Heaven's Gate wants to be profound but it can't even be interesting.
 
2014-05-03 07:25:03 PM  
Apparently when 1941 had its first showing, and the audience was silent with their hands over their ears for the final half hour's endless pandemonium, some Hollywood bigwig said to Spielberg words to the effect of 'inside this is a movie'. My take on it is that he may have accidentally tried shooting three films at once. The images are beautiful but with 50 takes for nearly everything, I should goddarned hope so, but that doesn't necessarily make a compelling story.
.
 
2014-05-03 08:20:36 PM  

Darth Macho: RoyBatty: The poster alone tells you what a mess the movie was going to be.

Agreed. A lot of people want to make this movie out to be some kind of misunderstood masterpiece and frankly it's just an ordeal to sit though. Who cares how pretty the lighting, costumes, sets and performances are if the screen is filled with tedium, dust, smoke, noise and incoherent dialogue?

Heaven's Gate wants to be profound but it can't even be interesting.


You can practically hear Cimino just off to the side of the camera screaming "THIS IS farkING GENIUS AND YOU farkERS SHOULD BOW TO MY CINEASTIC BRILLIANCE BECAUSE YOU ARE WATCHING THE GREATEST farkING FILM EVER MADE!" at the top of his lungs with each shot.

A great director leaves an impression on the movie, but Cimino practically assaults the viewer with shots and cinematic gimmicks that just seem to be for no other reason than to show what an awesome director he is.
 
2014-05-03 08:27:04 PM  
i1.ytimg.com

Oh hai guise! What's going on in this thread?
 
2014-05-03 11:35:20 PM  
All I remember of this film is creepy pioneer women messing around with a pile of steaming cow guts (complete with the grotesque sound effects that sounded like a jay of grape jam being sodomized to simulate the sound of sticky bovine innards), and I couldn't eat meat for four weeks because I was so grossed out.

Now these days I can watch Peter Jackson's "Bad Taste" while eating spaghetti with pistachio pudding for dessert. Go fig.
 
2014-05-04 01:32:25 AM  
Walken tag has a sad.
 
2014-05-04 07:23:09 AM  

lohphat: [i1.ytimg.com image 480x360]

Oh hai guise! What's going on in this thread?


That's the only Heaven's Gate I remember.
 
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