July 2, 2016

"Although he directed a few films in the decades after 'Heaven’s Gate,' Cimino kept a low profile, and plastic surgery made him almost unrecognizable...."

"Cimino circled many projects that never came to fruition, including a life of Dostoevsky developed with Raymond Carver; adaptations of 'Crime and Punishment,' Truman Capote’s 'Handcarved Coffins,' Ayn Rand’s 'The Fountainhead' and Andre Malraux’s 'Man’s Fate'; and bios of Janis Joplin, Legs Diamond and Mafia boss Frank Costello. He also circled many projects eventually directed by others, including 'The Bounty,' 'Footloose,' 'The Pope of Greenwich Village' and 'Born on the Fourth of July.'"

Good-bye to Michael Cimino, who has died at the age of 77. He made a great film, "The Deer Hunter," which won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Director, and then, he made a colossal disaster, "Heaven's Gate," and it ruined United Artists and it ruined him.

37 comments:

MayBee said...

I watched The Deer Hunter about a million times, back in the day when HBO basically ran 4 movies over and over for a month.
But it's weird that I don't really remember the plot. I really liked it, though.

ndspinelli said...

Cocaine ruined his career. The set on Heaven's Gate was snowed in w/ coke.

Jack Wayne said...

Was it Cimino or Kristofferson? That had to be the worst acting I've ever seen. He was as stiff as a board.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

He certainly circled some interesting projects. I have always thought that Handcarved Coffins was a great story for a film. 

Christy said...

Hated the movie and it made me mad because it had such potential. I remember thinking they had thrown in scenes without any connection to plot or characterization. Added just because. I thought cocaine was supposed to sharpen thinking, but that movie was a mess.

eddie willers said...

Reading up on him today, it turns out he was a conservative and loved John Wayne, John Ford, and Clint Eastwood.

Makes me think Hollywood wanted a reason to get rid of him and Heaven's Gate gave them the perfect opportunity.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Deer Hunter was, no doubt, a great movie.

The best part though, is not the famous Russian Roulette scene. It's the opening Polish-Slavich wedding scene with all those Western Pennsylvannian factory workers. They grew up to become Trump voters!

rcocean said...

Loved "Year of the Dragon" and "Deer Hunter" - "Heaven's Gate" had some great photography and some good scenes here and there but overall it was a mess.

Nick says it was due to Coke. I'd believe it.

Kate said...

"The Deer Hunter" has a great reveal: one of the most shocking. But is it a great film? Like MayBee I can't really remember much beyond the end and the opening. I say Cimino won the Oscar for being ahead of his time.

dhagood said...

the cinematography of "heaven's gate" was indeed superb. what struck me is one of the early scenes where they showed the freight train chugging along the tracks spouting thick black smoke and sparks. there were people traveling on the train perched up on the boxcars and were smoke blackened from the exhaust of the train engine.

my grandfather traveled across the country that way, from the east coast to colorado and then wyoming. i've never forgotten that scene and the connection it gave to me as my grandfather as a young man, who died of black lung from a lifetime of working in coal mines.

jeyi said...

While Cimino himself was a kind of a self-made Nietzschean Superman, "The Deer Hunter" was a relentlessly inaccurate piece of crap in in every detail great and small: from the general sensibilities of the GIs in VN; to whoever the extras playing the Vietnamese being nothing like the actual Vietnamese, and who radiated contempt towards them; to DeNiro as an NCO wearing a 1950s khaki uniform with long sleeves (and sporting a full beard!); to the western Pennsylvania protagonists driving a few hours and somehow ending up in Glacier NP in the Rockies and shooting either an elk or a black tailed buck there. But yes it was memorable in its cascade of outrageous misses.

Laslo Spatula said...

Cimino's "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" was the one to watch.

The film exudes the Seventies and Montana blue skies.

Clint Eastwood's peak of sideburns, Jeff Bridge's early amiable oddball, George Kennedy at his cruelest.

Stolen White Seventies Camaro.

Don't get me started.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

The Italian did crazy Viet Nam damaged war veterans fine. But he had no idea how to interpret the settlers in the American West, that he saw as European socialist wannabees in a frontier setting. Larry MacMurtry understood them.

The Drill SGT said...

traditionalguy said...
The Italian did crazy Viet Nam damaged war veterans fine.


As a Vietnam combat vet, forgive me if I don't see it that way...

Debbie Andrews said...

During the Christmas holiday in 1984, my husband got a job as an extra filming "The Year of the Dragon," which Michael Cimino was filming at Dino De Laurentiis's Wilmington, NC, studio, and at various locations about the city. He worked just one night until 3:00 in the morning, and got paid $75. A couple of nights later it was New Years Eve, and we were trying to find a place to have dinner, but had not bothered to make reservations anywhere. We got turned down at the first place we went to, and as we were leaving, we encountered two men and a woman on their way in, and he went out of his way to make sure they passed through the door first. Once we got outside, he turned to me and said, "Did you see those people? That was Michael Cimino, the director of the movie I was in the other night, and the other guy was Mickey Rourke, the star." Not being much of a movie buff, I had never heard of either of them, and I think my husband was disappointed that I wasn't impressed. Anyway, we drove to nearby Wrightsville Beach and found a restaurant that didn't look too busy, and just as we were going in Cimino, Rourke and the woman walked up behind us. My husband whispered to me that they must have gotten turned down at the last place, too. Anyway, we got a table right away and they ended up getting seated next to us, but we respected their privacy and didn't bother them. My husband later remarked that he thought it was interesting that they didn't have enough clout to get a table at the same place where we got turned down, but felt somewhat okay because they got the same treatment that we did. To this day I have still not seen "The Year of the Dragon," mainly because my husband said it was probably going to be impossible to identify him in the scene he shot. I hadn't thought about that night until I heard the news of his passing away. May he rest in peace.

Michael K said...

I loved "Silent Running" which he wrote and which was a preview of "Star Wars" with the special effects. I took my small son to see it.

William said...

He seems to have led a remarkably self indulgent life. The contrast with his obit companion, Elie Wiesel, is stark. I think Cimino will achieve oblivion before Wiesel, but posterity is just as unfair as life. In one hundred years both men will be forgotten, and Hitler will be remembered.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I play Powerball only because if I win Beta can redraw the Landscape of American Comedy As Such.

Guildofcannonballs said...

We don't need to go farther than the Dead at Alpine in '89.

You google The Uncle John's Band song and live at Alpine is Bob in super short, too-short shorts.


"grateful dead uncle john's band alpine valley" in the Google worked for me!

Guildofcannonballs said...

super short, too-short shorts

Guildofcannonballs said...

Was Dick Fynman too unslutty?

Cock Alwaysneed sounds more appropriate.

In these, these, cases.

BUTNEVER GOD FORBID BINDERS!!!

Guildofcannonballs said...

Upon reflection Host discovered cruel-like cruel Trump.


Some folks call it neutrality.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The guilty flee when none follow.

Or as you like,

The Guilty Fleeth When None Follow.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Tom Cotton you disgustingly moronic imbeciles.

Guildofcannonballs said...

http://www.metrolyrics.com/she-lyrics-parsons-gram.html

Guildofcannonballs said...

Cotton Cotton cCotton

Jon Ericson said...

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7/2/16, 10:35 PM
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7/2/16, 10:43 PM
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7/2/16, 11:29 PM
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7/2/16, 11:50 PM
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7/3/16, 12:09 AM
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7/3/16, 12:18 AM
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7/3/16, 12:39 AM
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7/3/16, 12:40 AM

I believe that's a record of some kind.

EDH said...

If Trump had anything to do with the making of the Deer Hunter we'd be reading how racist a movie it was.

Rusty said...

I'll have what Guild is having.

"This is this!"

LarsPorsena said...

to DeNiro as an NCO wearing a 1950s khaki uniform with long sleeves (and sporting a full beard!)

And

making e-7 after a few months in.

Phil 3:14 said...

I saw Deer Hunter in college (or was it med school) and liked it, though I could even then think it was a bit over the top.

My strongest memory is watching the hunting scenes and wondering. "are the mountains in West Virginia really that tall?"

(Answer: "No, those scenes were filmed in the Pacific Northwest")

Phil 3:14 said...

The 70's was a great decade for movies.

And Directors.

mikee said...

I look at Deer Hunter and I look at We Were Soldiers Once and I recognize one as being a more accurate portrayal of actual history than the other, and I wonder what to make of that realization.

Mac McConnell said...

Deer Hunter was a great movie, it could have been made about any war. The point was that individuals from the same community with the same values could be affected differently by the same brutality of war.

Heaven's Gate was Cimino's downfall, mostly for budgetary reasons. It was overly expensive and beautiful to look at, but who the fuck ever thought Christopherson was anything but a B-movie actor. The movie is like a cowboy Out of Africa.

We Were Soldiers Once is a great historical movie, Mel Gibson historical movies always are.





Joe said...

Deer Hunter sucked. I watched Heaven's Gate just so I could say I did. I don't recall whether I turned it off early or kept it running while doing something else, but thought it extremely BORING and a total mess. (Among other problems, this is a 2 1/2 movie with a 30 minute story. Bonanza and Maverick did a better treatment with the basic idea.)

Job said...

Bay Area Guy: "The best part though, is not the famous Russian Roulette scene. It's the opening Polish-Slavich wedding scene with all those Western Pennsylvannian factory workers."

Yes, that was a great scene in a great movie.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Matters only, every single Marine is greater than any Senator ever.

I include B. Arnold. This man did stuff.

The United States Marine Corps only excepts the very best of best.

Buckley and I will remissly be awely for all time.