Friday, September 25, 2009

1988 - Coppola's Capra film TUCKER THE MAN AND HIS DREAM

Francis Ford Coppola a maverick filmmaker working in the studio system had wanted to make a film about a maverick car manufacturer named Preston Tucker. His plan for Tucker The Man and His Dream was to film it as a musical. But Coppola's luck had run out, One From The Heart his expensive love story/musical had flopped several years ago and he had been forced to make mainstream commercial movies the last several years.

However, George Lucas committed to producing the film for Coppola to secure the financial backing for the film. Lucas also persuaded Coppola to abandon the musical concept. Coppola agreed and decided to turn the film into a Frank Capra "little guy against the system" film. The final film while interesting, well acted and at times flamboyantly directed is disappointing, it lacks the sense of energy and spark that Capra could give a film.

Jeff Bridges pours on the charm playing the semi crazed inventor but the film seems kind of tired as if most everyone else is just going through the motions of the story.  All of his energy can't bring the film to life. The elegant and classical photography of Vittorio Storato constantly overwhelms the film and makes everything look just too pretty.

The story tries to make the case that the major automakers stopped the innovative Tucker from building his car of the future, so a lot of time is spent on stock options and board of directors meetings which is boring stuff to sit through.


Tucker The Man and His Dream is a disappointment because as a story about an unconventional person the film sinks into it's own conventionality by the end. The original musical concept would probably have been difficult to pull off but it would have been a lot more interesting than the final version of this film.

 110 minutes.

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