Cinema: How to Play Hollywood Hara-Kiri

A film maker bites the bullet on his $36 million fiasco

It was not supposed to be a disaster movie. It was supposed to be a western. But when the New York critics saw Michael Cimino's $36 million Heaven's Gate at its first screening last Tuesday, they deemed it "an unqualified disaster." Executives at United Artists, who had bankrolled Cimino's eulogy to the Old West but never, until that moment, seen it in its final form, were scurrying to anxious meetings, acting out the rearranging-of-the-deck-chairs scene from The Titanic. Cimino must have wished he...

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