Heaven's Gate Soundtrack / Slow Water
"If you don't get it right, what's the point?"
Just about everything that surrounded Michael Cimino was either amazing, bizarre, or crazy. So much so that if the recorded events hadn't actually happened, nobody would believe it. And we still might not.
On the basis of his track record, Cimino was given free rein by United Artists for his next film, Heaven's Gate (1980). The film came in several times over budget. After its release, it proved to be a financial disaster that nearly bankrupted the studio. Heaven's Gate became the lightning rod for the industry perception of the loosely controlled situation in Hollywood at that time. The film's failure marked the end of the New Hollywood era. Transamerica Corporation sold United Artists, having lost confidence in the company and its management.
Heaven's Gate was such a devastating critical and commercial bomb that public perception of Cimino's work was tainted in its wake; the majority of his subsequent films achieved neither popular nor critical success. Many critics who had originally praised The Deer Hunter became far more reserved about the picture and about Cimino after Heaven's Gate. The story of the making of the movie, and UA's subsequent downfall, was documented in Steven Bach's book Final Cut. Cimino's film was somewhat rehabilitated by an unlikely source: the Z Channel, a cable pay TVchannel that at its peak in the mid-1980s served 100,000 of Los Angeles's most influential film professionals. After the unsuccessful release of the re-edited and shortened Heaven's Gate, Jerry Harvey, the channel's programmer, decided to play Cimino's original 219 minute cut on Christmas Eve 1982. The re-assembled movie received admiring reviews. The full length, director approved version, was reissued on CD by the prestigious Criterion Collection.
"Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate". (available on YouTube in 8 parts).
Heaven's Gate cost $44 million
Box office $3,484,331
Due to constant revisions/edits there were/are? now at least 5 versions of Heaven's Gate:
Unrealized Cimino projects
Crime and Punishment
Untitled Porgy & Bess Project
The Life and Dreams of Frank Costello
The Pope of Greenwich Village
Legs Diamond Biopic
Born on the Fourth of July
The Yellow Jersey
Collaborations with Raymond Carver
Santa Ana Wind
The Dreaming Place