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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:42 am 

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
Cold Bishop wrote:
I'm probably Cimino's biggest booster, but he's a guy whom you can't, absolutely under any circumstance, allow to be contractually in charge. I don't know if this was a case of Criterion unwisely pursuing the "Director's Approval" signature, or if they truly felt they couldn't conduct a proper restoration without him (I'm sure they could have tapped Zsigmond, who's long defended the film... that is if Cimino didn't burn that bridge with his rant against cinematographers a while back), but it's a mistake.

You put yourself in charge, you try to be a benevolent dictator, try to simply keep him from slitting his own throat, and he will buckle and rise to the occasion. If Criterion was a little wiser, a little more clever, I'm sure they could have got his participation without kowtowing. But alas...


Judging by the comments here, it wouldn't seem wise for Criterion to release this without him and then give him the opportunity for him (Ciminio) to crap on the release, giving it bad publicity and claim "I was never consulted, don't listen to those jokers at Criterion, this isn't my intention!"


Last edited by Drucker on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Yes, it's a real rock and hard place situation, and my sympathies are entirely with Criterion.

There's no wholly satisfactory answer, but on balance I'd say that an authentic director-approved restoration of the main feature trumps the inclusion of brutally honest extras. And if they're contractually bound to choose one or the other but not both...


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Why am I suddenly having flashbacks to the The Prince of Tides laserdisc fiasco?


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:48 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation around Heaven's Gate, and I do think that the film is a near-masterpiece that was seriously underrated and unfairly held up as a scapegoat for profligate spending, probably partly for political reasons, while other equally financially disastrous films (e.g. Huston's Annie) escaped the same level of derision, it's undoubtedly true that the production history is of major interest and neither United Artists nor Cimino seem to come out particularly well.

It's a shame this can't be explored in the release with the same sympathetic approach that a similarly derided and politically radical (although, admittedly, not such high quality) work received recently with the BFI release of Revolution. However, I suppose Hugh Hudson was more willing to examine what went wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Yes, Hugh Hudson was extensively involved, and I was specifically asked to cover the film's turbulent production and release history in the booklet essay.

And the BFI package also includes both cuts - it was felt that it was important to include an exact copy of what 1985 audiences would have seen, as for all that version's considerable flaws, it's nonetheless part of British film history.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 am
To be fair, the controversy is ALL that anybody remembers about this film, so I'm not completely opposed to the whitewashed presentation in an effort to allow it to stand on it's own merits. I've seen the documentary about the production battles more often than the film itself at this point (they play it on PBS). I don't know if there will ever be a time when I can successfully disassociate the two and it will probably taint any viewing I have of it.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: sd, ca
Which is fine, and kind of what I was hoping for too, but doesn't explain the lack of the Johnson County War doc for example. Criterion clearly were aiming for something great here and were kicked for their troubles.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:57 pm
Location: Rollin' down Highway 41
Wes Moynihan wrote:
Some of the reviews of the day were spectacularly vicious. This one of my favourite ones...

"It fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to obtain the success of The Deer Hunter and the Devil has just come around to collect"
Vincent Canby, New York Times.

"Vincent Canby drinks his own bathwater." - Kris Kristofferson.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:21 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:19 am
I just got bought the Blu-Ray at Barnes and Noble sale yesterday and actually the booklet was a little messed up.
Because of how it was stored the right edge of the cover was bent over with a slight tear.

I didn't think Barnes and Noble could do anything about it but is there away to get a new one from Criterion?


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:48 am
Email Mulvaney. Here's the response I've previously gotten, which I imagine they use for all such inquiries:

"Replacement packaging, including booklets, covers, and slip cases, are available for $5 each. This includes shipping and handling. Payment can be made via PayPal to store@criterion.com. Please include your name and address in the message field, along with the item(s) you are ordering, and as soon as we receive payment, we'll ship them out to you!"


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Since yours is damaged, you may be able to get a free replacement. I got free replacements for a copy of The Killers that had an Ikiru insert (though the insert also convinced me to buy the latter movie as well!) and a copy of Secret Sunshine that was missing it's insert. I also (rightfully) had to pay for a used copy of George Washington that didn't have an insert.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Wait, to clarify- is that everything but the case itself, or do they just send you a new case with everything but the disc? Because I have a bunch of disc only Crits I got at Blockbuster closeouts or whatever that I'd happily pay $5 to fix up


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
It's $5 per piece of packaging, be that a booklet, sleeve, or a slipcase. They will usually just send you the pieces you order, unless they are feeling generous.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm
I've just seen this film for the first time (Criterion Blu-ray) – well aware of its notoriety for many years – but I tried to come at it cold and take it all at face value.

It's a beautiful, poetic epic of the type that Malick and PTA make, so I understand why it didn't clean up at the box office originally, but the film is a tremendous achievement. I don't really want to know what went on with its original release – all this "worst film ever made" and "Cimino sold his soul" rot is resounding bollocks.

The brilliant production design is reminiscent of DAYS OF HEAVEN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, etc - but also of something like Polanski's CHINATOWN for sheer immersion.

This release is sure to rehabilitate the film's reputation. As Cimino says on the second Blu-ray: "this Criterion edition is a miracle".


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:19 am
on my blu-ray at 1:27:43 there the screen flickers this bluish smudge all over the entire image. does this happen on anyone else's blu-ray or do you think my disc is defective?i can email an image if needed


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm
I saw that too - it's only for 5 frames and it looks analogue in nature (ie. not a digital glitch). They must have decided to let that one go (it's less than a quarter of a second).


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm
Not sure if this was covered, but the monochrome sequence when Jeff Bridges stumbles out of the dance hall is in color on the blu-ray. It's still smoky and atmospheric, and the color is not as intense as in the rest of the picture.


I wonder if McCabe & Mrs. Miller will look like this if it ever makes it to blu-ray?


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
feihong wrote:
I wonder if McCabe & Mrs. Miller will look like this if it ever makes it to blu-ray?

It won't be as easy to hear the dialogue in that, Blu-Ray or not.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:13 pm 
not perpee
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm
On that point, I thought this was interesting, in the HEAVEN'S GATE booklet: "The new 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered and restored at 24-bit from a 6-track magnetic mix, under the direct supervision of Cimino, with an emphasis on improving the audibility of dialogue." (My emphasis).


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:16 pm 
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fragnito wrote:
on my blu-ray at 1:27:43 there the screen flickers this bluish smudge all over the entire image. does this happen on anyone else's blu-ray or do you think my disc is defective?i can email an image if needed

Like Peerpee said it's in the source. It's not just your disc:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 9:45 pm
Location: Portland, OR
There's always been a few odd patches like that, even when I saw the John Kirk restoration in 35mm.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
Kristofferson and Cimino during the post-screening back in October


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm
I watched Heaven's Gate for the first time this past Thanksgiving morning. Overall, I really liked this movie, even if it can be a little long at times. There was something very special about the way Cimino depicted the time period, and that the film focused more on the characters and the lifestyle than a specific plot. I can definitely see how this is not a film for everyone, but the critics at the time were really unfair to this film.

I started going through the supplements, and I think all I have to say is what has already been said, that being that they are rather dissapointing. I didn't get to listen to the Cimino/Carelli audio interview yet, but the other three interviews all felt like "fluff" pieces. There was nothing special about any of them, and they were all rather short. The restoration demonstration and trailer/TV spot were all nice, but other than that this is a really light edition. In a perfect world, we would've seen the Final Cut documentary, the Johnson County War documentary, comparisons between the different cuts, and maybe even reivews by both Vincent Canby and Robin Wood included in the booklet. I understand Cimino doesn't want the extras to present his film in a bad light, but there is still a way to discuss the reaction to the film during the time period without soiling the film. It's a shame, as I'm sure Criterion would've loved to explore these areas.

BTW, in regards to the drastic change with the color scheme of the film, is the current presentation how he always intended it to look, or was it more of a re-design in the same vein of what Friedkin did with the first French Connection Blu-Ray?


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:21 pm 
not perpee
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm
It's not comparable to what Friedkin did to FRENCH CONNECTION – which apparently was not intended (or was immediately regretted), and ultimately led to a replacement, which will no doubt confuse many people if they're hearing all the stories about it but looking at the replacement!

Zsigmond famously 'flashed' the look of HEAVEN'S GATE, like he'd done for McCABE & MRS MILLER, and a number of other films, to achieve a uniquely desaturated look. It's clear from looking at the new Criterion Blu-ray that the flashing has been removed (apart from perhaps on one shot where KK pulls a drunk JB outside).

The look of the film on the Criterion Blu-ray could perhaps be described as "sumptuously normal 35mm", but is definitely minus the Zsigmond flashing. Zsigmond is nowhere to be seen in the entire package.


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 Post subject: Re: 636 Heaven's Gate
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:07 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
peerpee wrote:
The look of the film on the Criterion Blu-ray could perhaps be described as "sumptuously normal 35mm", but is definitely minus the Zsigmond flashing. Zsigmond is nowhere to be seen in the entire package.


Agree 100%, and as I recall there was a lot of hub bub about that process, and Michael Cimino in particular was hugely responsible for the film being "flashed." Interesting how 30 years later he's changing his tune and how the rest of the critical community doesn't seem to notice...in fact back then that flashing was a major reason the film was panned for its murky "fuzzy" cinematography, which was in fact built into the piece.


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