Second Sight Details Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate
Posted September 20, 2013 04:36 PM by Webmaster
Independent British distributors Second Sight Films have dated and detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of Michael Cimino's controversial film Heaven's Gate (1980), starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, and Isabelle Huppert. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United Kingdom on November 25th.
The release will use the new restoration of Heaven's Gate which has been supervised by director Micheal Cimino.
Large-scale Western from Michael Cimino, following on from the success of The Deer Hunter. In Wyoming in the 1890s, American cattlemen clash with European immigrants. Harvard graduate James Averill (Kristofferson) is appointed marshal to keep the peace, but clashes with gunfighter Nathan D. Champion (Walken). The film, originally budgeted at $7.5 million, actually cost over $44 million, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction.
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Extracts From 'Final Cut: The Making And Unmaking Of Heaven's Gate' - Michael Epstein's acclaimed documentary based on Steven's Bach's book
Extracts From 'Final Cut: The Making And Unmaking Of Heaven's Gate' ??
Man, I just saw the full version on youtube, because it is nowhere else available, and I have the Criterion blu. Very interesting stuff, because the cast and crew being interviewed were actually there, and have first hand accounts of what went really on.
But 'extracts' will, I think, diminish the effect a bit of this fascinating story ,that went on behind the scenes, and will leave you wanting for more. Too bad they couldn't get the rights, or better put, the go-ahead from the people involved, probably Cimino himself, to get the whole documentary (around 50 mins. approx. if I remember correctly).
Anyway, you also can read all about it, in one of the most entertaining books about a movie production, the one that tells this whole story, and is also called Final Cut, written by Steven Bach.
Nevertheless, for those not having a Region A or free player, a nice announcement.
Worth noting this version is cut by 59 seconds according to the BBFC website: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/heavens-gate-2013
"Compulsory cuts were made to remove scenes of unsimulated animal cruelty orchestrated by the film makers (in this case, a cockfight and sight of horses being deliberately tripped in a cruel fashion). Cuts required in accordance with the BBFC's Guidelines and policy."
If you are in the UK, do yourself the favor and get a region free blu ray player. The Criterion print is simply gorgeous and uncut.
Glad to see someone checking on the cuts in the UK version. I am spoiled by the ratings board here in the states and never to think of looking up on the British ratings board about the cuts before purchasing. Strange they would not tolerate animal cruelty, but when humans kill themselves or others, they let that pass. Strange group of people.
The half-witted montyb should try engaging his mind before his fingers. Humans killing themselves or others are NOWHERE presented on film for audience titillation: merely actorly simulations, which evidentially involve the concept of consent. Animals actually killed or maltreated for your entertainment is, in this civilised country, regarded as nothing more than gratuitous barbarism, and not permitted to be shown. But then, life is indeed cheap in America, as your idiot gun laws and non-stop serial killings and massacres make clear to everyone else in the world who watch with slack-jawed disbelief. You're the ones regarded worldwide as strange, trust me.
Wow, what a let down about the censcorship. Is this a newer restoration or just the same "new" restoration that is already on the Criterion? I think release statements need to be more clear when they make claims of "new".
It's a good thing to prevent movies from harming animals (though it seems like the restrictions can be taken too far, swatting a fly) but it is really misguided and artistically damaging to remove any possibly offensive scenes that are in older films. Imagine the BBFC releasing Birth of a Nation with all the racially offensive scenes removed. I don't think seeing an old movie where a horse falls down in a battle scene is going to inspire people to go out and knock over horses. And aren't cock-fights already illegal in Britain? I don't think the potentially underground cock-fighting crowd in England is going to be the type to rent Heaven's Gate. Sure, many of these classic films can still hold up with censorship cuts, but they are certainly lessened in most cases. Did they cut the lobster cooking scene from Annie Hall? In the original Conan the Barbarian they even cut scenes that are clearly simulated.
It's almost certainly the same restoration. The BD has just been delayed so long in the UK as the distributors have really stretched out a limited theatrical release of the restored version.
If you have a RB locked player there is a fully uncut BD coming out in France later this year.
We have discussed the censorship issues in the forum thread here. The problem is legislation has been in place requiring cuts for animal cruelty in films shown in the UK since the 1930s if the BBFC our rating board notice them. Therefore it's an old film so let it go does not count. What is crazy is the same rules apply for home entertainment release and now UK regulated online streaming, but not TV broadcast.
It's the Criterion restoration (which surely is new enough to be described as such). Onscreen animal cruelty is illegal under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1927 so to use the 'older films' defence when the film in question was made 53 years after the legislation was enacted doesn't wash. There are a few ways to get around this law including if the animal in question would have been harmed regardless of the camera being there (see wildlife documentaries, Wake in Fright) or if it was a clean kill (therefore no onscreen suffering). Heaven's Gate doesn't have any such "justification" for the offending shots. I myself having a bit of an internal moral debate over whether to import and respect the director's wishes or to purchase the version sans-animal cruelty that apparently doesn't damage the film in any way. I'm leaning towards the latter.
Everyone's opinion is fine for them if they choose to watch the censored version even if they have a multiregion player, but I honestly think you're shortchanging yourself if you choose a censored version. I'm sure there are plenty of Brittish film buffs who aren't happy about these censorship laws. It's just not the kind of issue to attract enough people to overturn or modify the law, and I suppose anyone who is too vocal about modifying it might be afraid of being labeled a sadist or a kook. (tangent: took till now to make marijuana legal in California and another state). I know the censored footage in Conan is simulated, sure the Horses fell over but it's been established by the director they weren't hurt. The cock fight footage in Heaven's Gate isn't relishing animal suffering, and it's relatively restrained.
Yami, maybe the restoration qualifies as new, but what's wrong with suggesting that bluray.com announcements be more clear about what "new" is, in relation to other previously available editions?
Thanks malcy30, for your post on the restoration. Yeah, I resisted jumping into debates about censorship with films like Cannibal Holocaust (still think it should be available uncensored as well) but censoring a film like Heaven's Gate just got my ire up, it's really a crime, especially thinking how long it took to get an un-butchered version in the US.
The law (or at least the BBFC lawyers' interpretation of it) means that if the filmmakers orchestrated the horse fall/cockfight, that action carries significant enough risk to the animal as to be considered illegal regardless of whether or not the animal ended up hurt in the end. The law itself is flawed because it doesn't take into consideration that this footage is easily available in other countries and online so it doesn't actually actively prevent animal cruelty from taking place (but this wouldn't have been anticipated in 1927). But no MP is going to stand up in the House of Commons to argue for allowing onscreen animal cruelty.
BBFC cuts for animal cruelty in old films are rife currently, what with Heaven's Gate, the blu ray of Quest For Fire (a wolf on fire), and mainly for horse trips; Tarzan and his Mate, the original Conan the Barbarian, and numerous John Wayne westerns including dvds of Sagebrush Trail, The Desert Trail, The Dawn Raider, Riders of Destiny, Blue Steel, and for horse trips plus riding a horse over a cliff into water: Paradise Canyon/Guns Along the Trail. Most of these are shown uncut on television.
uh-oooh, just bought the UK blu-ray of Quest for Fire, didn't know there were issues with that too. May have to look into the German BD.
Well put about nobody in the House of Commons is going to stand up to argue this. It's like so many issues where the blue-nose types seem to have the upper hand, even if a possible majority of people might be against the law as it stands if they had all the info to consider. I imagine prohibition was like this, the majority of Americans chose to secretly buy alcoholic beverages illegally rather than openly stand up against a law that a bunch of up-tight old ladies, religious fundamentalists, and the eternal enemy of things guys enjoy..housewives, imposed on us.
When all is said and done, my opposition to mistreatment of animals for entertainment purposes wins out over director's intent, so even though I have a multi region player, I'll go for this one over the Criterion.
I never knew how widespread this was with UK discs, I think the reviews on this site are generally great, but I hope they might try to do some extra homework on UK discs when possible to point out if there are any censorship cuts. I know with Conan and Quest for Fire I hadn't seen those movies since they came out, so when I watched the UK blurays the first time, I hadn't noticed they were cut. Once I saw the uncut Conan though I saw how damaging the cuts were in comparison to the original.
It does "because the scene depicts a quick, clean kill, the animal was not subjected to a cruel level of pain or terror. The Act itself does not specifically prohibit the killing of animals in films, only their cruel mistreatment."