Looks like a 1980 western with a WY storyline is getting some new life.
MOST box office flops rarely attain the status of film history footnote. But “Heaven’s Gate,” the 1980 epic directed by Michael Cimino, became a legend. Its difficult production and disastrous premiere, which left a trail of vicious reviews and rubbernecking media coverage, turned it into a punch line, a symbol of all that was wrong with Hollywood and its excesses.
In the popular telling this nearly-four-hour western, which recounts the violent conflict between wealthy cattle barons and poor European settlers in 1890s Wyoming, derailed the career of its ambitious young director (who had just won Oscars for “The Deer Hunter”), cost several top executives their jobs and left its studio, United Artists, vulnerable to a takeover. (MGM bought it in 1981.)
“Final Cut,” a best-selling 1985 book by Steven Bach, who had been in charge of East Coast production at United Artists, cemented the film’s place as an industry cautionary tale. But the extremity of the initial reactions — which led to the film’s being yanked from a single Manhattan theater after a week, shortened by an hour and rereleased the following year, to equally negative publicity — also meant that the conditions for a cult following were there from the start. Critical opinion has shifted over time — to the point that a film once damned as a self-indulgent behemoth now seems, to many eyes, a misunderstood giant...
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