• 10 Things I Learned: Heaven’s Gate

    By Curtis Tsui

41 comments

  • By M-Bleu
    November 24, 2012
    09:38 AM

    I've waited months for this release. My copy of this on DVD lacks the quality that the film demands. So when Amazon notified me that Criterion were issuing it on Blu-ray I was overjoyed. But not for long. Why? Region A only. I live in the UK where we can only play Region B ! Why not release as region free? It has been acknowledged that Heaven's Gate was appreciated in Europe far better than in the US, so why not do the right thing and let us see it. I've read the reviews and the consensus is that restoration is very good. So how about it? Any chance at all?
    Reply
    • By Adam
      November 26, 2012
      11:02 AM

      I understand your pain. I would get my hands on a Region Free Blu-ray player, my friend.
    • By Mike
      November 26, 2012
      11:04 AM

      M-Bleu, I'll trade you HEAVEN'S GATE for THE TRIAL.
    • By Airone
      November 26, 2012
      12:17 PM

      You're so right. With Internet today, this region thing is useless !!!!!
  • By Jonathan R.
    November 26, 2012
    11:42 AM

    Criterion negotiate and obtain North American release rights and as such lock to that region, as many studios which arent one of the big ones need to do. Why going multi-region isn't the first thing that people think when buy a Blu-ray player is a mystery to me. I'm in the UK as well and have lots of amazing Criterion Blu-rays!
    Reply
  • By Bartholomew
    November 26, 2012
    02:00 PM

    It's nice to see someone from Europe complaining about region-locking because it's usually us in North America doing it - mostly because outside of big cities it's difficult to buy region free players. I've heard you can buy region-free players easily in Europe. Canada is a little better than the States; I was able to get one down the road at Wal-mart (although it's not advertised). And as Mike suggests there are many titles we wish for too across the Pond. I'll give you Heaven's Gate for the steelie of Metropolis. :)
    Reply
  • By Lax
    November 26, 2012
    09:11 PM

    Region-free blu-ray player is the way to go. Break the barriers. Period.
    Reply
    • By Grant
      November 27, 2012
      09:35 AM

      Yeah ? So recommend a couple of brands
    • By swac
      November 27, 2012
      05:54 PM

      I got a Seiki (yeah, I know, it's no-name, but it's worked fine for over 3 years now) at a Canadian Wal-Mart for under $80, and it plays everything I've thrown at it. I have to go to the setup menu and punch in a code when I want to switch between Regions A, B or C, but I have another blu-ray player as my main unit anyway, so mostly it's just for overseas discs. I'm sure you can find one online somewhere. The reviewer at DVD Beaver uses an all-region Momitsu player, which is available from online retailers, and he reports that the Sherwood BDP-5004 is a clone of the Momitsu BDP-899, although if you upgrade the firmware, you lose the ability to switch between regions.
    • By Gord
      November 27, 2012
      07:17 PM

      I'm glad you posted that swac - I bought a Seiki this summer in Halifax. "Psyche", get it? :) I was wondering what it's track record was. I'm glad yours has lasted 3 years. I don't think it has the best PQ, at least compared to my good Panasonic, but it opened up the world to me.
  • By Sean
    November 27, 2012
    12:38 AM

    Also Amazon sells Region free players if your wondering?
    Reply
  • By tommyt1971
    November 27, 2012
    02:41 PM

    Waited for & bought this one myself over the holiday weekend. I actually like this movie more than The Deer Hunter. Story's more interesting as are the characters. Of course TDH has Walken's mighty performance, which is everything it's reputed to be but there's something about the grit & grime of this one that always has me more fascinated. And I think they critics really weren't willing to give it a chance when they slagged it when it was released.
    Reply
  • By armond black
    November 27, 2012
    04:47 PM

    Number 1 thing Curtis Tsui should have learned: Cimino's such an egomaniac that not one mention of the film's disastrous reception or overlong shoot (with huge cost overruns) survived this release. Context is all, and pretending this is a universally loved classic is one of Criterion's biggest blunders.
    Reply
    • By Terry Pagitt
      November 27, 2012
      05:20 PM

      Not that is universally loved but ignorantly dismissed because of said egomania and cost overruns is of course the supreme raison d'être to place it in the collection. Art should not be judged by such irrelevant and ephemeral criteria. Sorry to disagree with you. To be a director is an egomaniacal activity. You must believe you are right to achieve anything. Nietschze was an egomaniac, Van Gogh was an egomaniac and almost anyone could be viewed as such if they do not allow anyone to derail their dreams.
  • By Noah Jones
    November 27, 2012
    04:56 PM

    A better movie would be a documentary on the making and release of Heaven's Gate. It destroyed a pretty damn good studio (United Artists), ended Cimino's career, and and pretty much ended the era of the "auteur" in movie making.
    Reply
    • By Max
      May 14, 2014
      12:01 PM

      There IS a documentary. You can watch it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+making+of+heaven%27s+gate
  • By sean
    November 27, 2012
    05:18 PM

    i agree with noah, that would be a fine documentary
    Reply
    • By Jonathan Rimorin
      November 27, 2012
      06:28 PM

      There is such a documentary, "Final Cut: the Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate," based on the Steven Bach book, narrated by Willem Dafoe. I too was surprised not to see it in this release, but as mentioned it looks like Criterion wants to regard Heaven's Gate as art object and not as an object in history. You can find the documentary on Youtube.
    • By Jeff Stills
      November 27, 2012
      06:46 PM

      More likely, Cimino wouldn't let them use it. This is a director-approved edition after all, and he's very, very, very difficult, apparently.
    • By Kubricker
      December 03, 2012
      11:43 AM

      I too was baffled FINAL CUT was not included, especially considering the price (even though I got mine in B&N's recent 50% off sale) the 'extras' are remarkably parsimonious.
  • By V. E.
    November 27, 2012
    05:37 PM

    The original reason for regions with regard to DVD's and Blu-ray discs was largely commercial. Changing this probably would prove difficult because video rights often are sold by region and guarantee regional exclusivity. However, it was and is possible to unlock these codes with the appropriate codex. This, I believe, is rather different from the various television standards (NTSC, NSTC-J, PAL, PAL-M and SECAM) which had more to do with differences in electrical voltage and refresh rates of scan lines. Then, as now, it is possible to purchase televisions and DVD and blu-ray players which are not only multi-regional, but in some cases, can be used in countries with different voltages. Purchasing region-free and multi-voltage blu-ray players is relatively easy. Indeed, there is at least one online retailer (who sells direct and through Amazon), based in the United States, who will ship to Europe. Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung and Toshiba all manufacture affordable multi-regional (code-free) players. I own two Pioneer BDP-330's (one in the UK and one in the US) and Philips multi-regional DVD players, but have owned and used others at home and at work. Remember: the television you choose also must be compatible with multi-regional players. It pays to do your research, not only in terms of price but also features offered. If you live in or near a city, it should be possible to find at least one shop with multi-regional blu-ray and DVD players from some, if not all, of these manufacturers. It would be worth your while to make such a trip before making any investment in equipment as the look of the image does vary, and certain televisions seem to favour the red or blue part of the spectrum.
    Reply
    • By Gord
      November 27, 2012
      07:36 PM

      Do you need to worry about NSTC/PAL issues with LED/Plasma HD tvs? I know there's no issue playing multi-region blu-rays, but I have a regionB MoC DVD coming as a free promo and I'm wondering if it'll play. Guess I'll find out soon.
  • By MarkC
    November 27, 2012
    05:44 PM

    Whilst no fan of the film, I had been looking forward to this release in anticipation of it being given the full Criterion treatment. In the event, I'm underwhelmed. The omission of the (pretty good) Final Cut documentary about the making of the Heaven's Gate is, frankly, baffling and if ever a DVD cried out for a commentary track, it's surely this one.
    Reply
    • By Gord
      November 27, 2012
      07:43 PM

      Criterion's gradual but consistent lessening of extras over the last 5 years or more is one reason I started looking to other markets (region-free player). They're still the best though in most instances, but not all. And I think we have to give them credit - when they release movies without extras which is becoming more frequent (Letter Never Sent, 3 Outlaw Samurai, the upcoming Ballad of Narayama) they lower the price to reflect that which is fair. The many with not too many extras are still commending top-tier pricing which sucks :( - but at least they are always quality extras. They were probably aware of the doc you speak of, but could not secure the rights or could not secure the rights for a reasonable price.
  • By mike
    November 28, 2012
    01:55 PM

    ..i was disappointed by this release, the sub-titles spoken by the immigrants are all missing..this is a travesty and criterion should be ashamed of themselves..i will return my dvd...
    Reply
    • By Daniel W.
      November 28, 2012
      10:34 PM

      This movie should never have been in the Criterion Collection to begin with.
  • By Jake McB
    November 28, 2012
    05:24 PM

    There never were any subtitles for the immigrants. That's how Cimino made it. So returning a DVD for that is incredibly stupid.
    Reply
    • By mike
      November 28, 2012
      10:00 PM

      ..yes there were..the original vhs release has the sub-titles on it genius...
    • By Jake McB
      November 29, 2012
      09:46 AM

      Not in Cimino's original, preferred cut. Take it up with him.
  • By Mark
    November 29, 2012
    09:27 AM

    Gord: Regarding this question, just make sure the player you get does NSTC to PAL and vice-versa conversion: Do you need to worry about NSTC/PAL issues with LED/Plasma HD tvs? I know there's no issue playing multi-region blu-rays, but I have a regionB MoC DVD coming as a free promo and I'm wondering if it'll play. Guess I'll find out soon. I anticipate the region issue to continue as Criterion has rights in North America and often a company like Masters of Cinema has Europe rights and issues a region B disc. If you are truly a big fan of these discs, a region-free player offers you the freedom to buy the better release.
    Reply
  • By Curtis
    November 29, 2012
    12:07 PM

    As far as the subtitles go, according to Cimino, he never intended the immigrants' dialogue to be subtitled, and that's why our director's cut doesn't have them.
    Reply
    • By mike
      November 29, 2012
      12:45 PM

      ..so then why are there sub-titles on the original vhs release?
  • By DUDElaundrey
    December 01, 2012
    03:12 PM

    oh my god mike. do u understand how the system works? this is the directors cut. how it is intended. the vhs u keep bringing up was the butchered studio version. not what cimino wanted. i dont know what is so difficult to understand, r u gonna reply "no, the vhs had subtitles!"
    Reply
    • By mike
      December 04, 2012
      11:13 AM

      ..the vhs was the long version, what about that don't you understabd?..genius
    • By DUDElaundrey
      December 24, 2012
      02:16 PM

      that has nothing to do wtih what i said, genuis. again, it is the one cimino intended. ok, ask again
  • By Kubricker
    December 04, 2012
    08:27 AM

    As regards to universal players and such: I had (still do actually) an Oppo DV-980H that played all regions plus SACD, DVD-Audio, etc. SInce upgrading my television last year to a Panasonic GT30 50", the signal no longer comes through since the tv can't seem to display a PAL signal or convert it.
    Reply
    • By Kubricker
      December 11, 2012
      06:54 PM

      Ok got it to work again, just had to switch out the HDMI cable. Now I can enjoy the R2 Artificial Eye Tarkovsky releases I own again.
  • By Gord
    December 06, 2012
    10:53 AM

    update: I had my region-free Seiki already set up for Region A Blu-rays (I'm in Region B/Canada). When I put the MoC Region 2 DVD into the player it worked fine. So PAL conversion wasn't an issue for my Panasonic tv nor this player. I know, I know you were all waiting with bated breath. :)
    Reply
    • By Kubricker
      December 11, 2012
      06:58 PM

      I agree with you Gord that THE PASSENGER should absolutely be a Criterion title. One of my five top films, have seen it 30+ times. "Alright, I DON'T CARE!!!!", as Jack collapses in frustration next to his Land Rover and the camera pans over the desert vista. Fantastic!
  • By Ethan S.
    December 10, 2012
    07:49 AM

    The sepia filters we all fell in love with are gone! Boo! Revisionist history!
    Reply