Thursday, March 04, 2010

On TCM: Heaven's Gate

It's a little late to celebrate, but TCM's "31 Days of Oscars" salute contained what I believe was its first telecast of Michael Cimino's reviled, now rehabilitated, Heaven's Gate. True, it came in the dead of the evening, and "Classic" is sometimes a bit of a stretch given what the channel airs, but there it was, proudly enshrined in a pantheon of sorts. Its Art Direction-Set Decoration nomination, incidentally, was awarded on the basis of the short version that was given a tiny release in 1981, a few months after Cimino's preferred version tanked. But TCM, and other channels, and the home video market, have long since embraced the long version--as has critical opinion. It's an uneven, indulgent, puzzling, but genuinely rewarding vision if you give it a chance, and TCM should give it many chances.

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