Reading Note:
Final Cut
12 June 2018

Reading Final Cut, by Steven Bach. It’s the book, first published in 1985, about United Artists and Heaven’s Gate, the Michael Cimino movie that “sank the studio.” What actually happened was that Transamerica sold UA to MGM. Pauline Kael’s blurb on the cover calls it “The best account of American moviemaking in the age of conglomerate control of the studios.” I can neither agree nor disagree. To me, Final Cut is about three executives attempting to prove themselves in the wake of a regime change at the studio. Again and again, Bach, who was one of those executives, forced himself to swallow misgivings about supporting Cimino’s eccentricities — pretty much the same thing as supporting Cimino himself. As a study in sunk-cost pathology, Final Cut can’t be beat. But Bach himself is so appealing, at least as a mind writing a book, that I was distressed to learn that he died some time ago. Not that I’d have ever gotten round to writing an appreciative note, something that I usually do anyway, if obliquely, here. 

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