“I acknowledge that what I have done with this film is both immoral and illegal,” reads the opening of Steven Soderbergh’s recut of the infamous cinematic disaster Heaven's Gate
The 1980 Western, directed by Deer Hunter filmmaker Michael Cimino, was a box office bomb, earning a measly $3 million on a $44 million budget. After nearly bankrupting the studio, the failure of Heaven’s Gate subsequently ruined Cimino’s career and marked the end of the loosey-goosey New Hollywood era.
Soderbergh aimed to fix some of Cimino’s wrongdoings by chopping the movie in half (all 219 minutes of it), removing a few of the most prominent scenes, and moving the prologue to the end. As the Verge puts it, “the result is a film that skimps on background characters, but still revels in some of the excess and bloodshed that made Cimino's original Western so... memorable, if not wholly enjoyable.” Amusingly dubbed Heaven's Gate: The Butcher's Cut, Soderbergh prefaced his experimental remake with the following straightforward explanation:
"As a dedicated cinema fan, I was obsessed with HEAVEN'S GATE from the moment it was announced in early 1979, and unfortunately history has shown that on occasion a fan can become so obsessed they turn violent toward the object of their obsession, which is what happened to me during the holiday break of 2006. This is the result."
When you’re done revisiting the notorious title, check out Soderbergh’s recut of Psycho — which combines Hitchcock’s 1960 film with Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake.
Note: The full movie can't be embedded here, so head to Soderbergh's personal site to watch it.
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