- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Newmarket Press; Revised Edition edition (August 16, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557043744
- ISBN-13: 978-1557043740
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven's Gate, the Film that Sank United Artists Paperback – August 16, 1999
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Top customer reviews
The only quibble I have with Bach's book is that there are no pictures. Having pictures of the people involved with this film, and of the film itself, would have added tremendously to my enjoyment of this book.
In 2005, TLC network made a 90 minute documentary on the subject matter in this book, entitled "Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate". There are extensive interviews with Bach, David Field, and numerous others involved with the making of the film (but not Cimino). Unfortunately, this great documentary film isn't available on DVD, but you can catch it on YouTube. I advise watching the documentary first and then reading the book.
Cimino comes across as someone who simply needed to be told no on occasion and forced to work within limits, and the early rejection of his Fountainhead idea shows that that was probably possible. But once the train started rolling, nothing save a miraculous Citizen Kane level result would have saved the day, and Heaven's Gate was no miracle. You could tell by the way they caved in to his demand to cast Huppert that the only real option had become ditching the project altogether, but that's not how ego works. Some say it's a masterpiece (though with the sound issues, absurd length and lack of narrative dynamism that's pretty hard to support), but it didn't need to be a masterpiece; it needed to be a hit. It wasn't and it destroyed Cimino's career and UA along with it. We are left to wonder whether a fictional account of a war that never happened was worth it.
One thing that can be fun (or frustrating, depending on how you look at tit) is that Bach often coyly avoids mentioning names of specific people or films that aren't directly related to the Heaven's Gate fiasco- particularly if failure or controversy are involved. He leaves enough breadcrumbs for knowledgeable readers to figure out what he's talking about, but I admit to being stumped several times. It can be rewarding to solve these little insider puzzles though, when you figure them out.
I'm very sad to learn that mister Bach has passed away because he was a true literary talent. I am adding the rest of his books to my wish list as soon as I'm finished with this mini review!
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