Wednesday, October 6, 2010

1982 - ONE FROM THE HEART, Coppola's big budget musical mess.

When Francis Ford Coppola flopped with One From The Heart, he flopped very big.  The goal was to tell a simple love story with musical background numbers in a highly stylized manner.  Somewhere along the line Coppola embraced the somewhat revolutionary technology of word processing and video pre visualization to blow this film completely out of the water. 

Coppola spent three months rehearsing with the actors, but during filming he directed in a trailer with a video monitor and a loud speaker giving direction to Terri Garr that consisted of him yelling over a loud speaker "show more boob," very classy.

Gene Kelly was hired as a creative consultant for the musical numbers but quit the production.   Kelly felt that Coppola appeared to have no feeling for this type of genre, he was right.  The overblown sets and the over stylized photography completely overwhelmed the simple and frankly uninteresting love story.  Coppola not a director with a light touch saw the critics and audiences reject his film.

28 years later the film still looks very pretty but is pretty bad.  The love story that Coppola envisioned is just not that interesting.   Coppola was past the point in his life where he could relate to a working class couple trying to live together.  Terri Garr, Frederick Forrest and the then hot Nastassji Kinski are not interesting actors. Garr a dancer before she was an actor had to carry the musical numbers, but she is really not that good a dancer.

Tom Waits background songs have to do all the work to put some emotional meaning in the film, but  after a while if you've heard Tom Waits croak one song you've heard him croak them all.  

Probably the most revealing aspect about this film are the special features on the DVD.  Here is where you can see a production and a director completely out of control.  It appears that almost every day on the set was a big carnival with lots of catering and partying go on.  All of this energy was not directed at making a good film.  

An amazing failure like Hello Dolly another musical behemoth, One From The Heart is not even fun to watch.

One From The Heart,  an example of a director with grandiose artistic pretensions being allowed to run out of control without any kind of studio supervision.

107 minutes and nobody wished it a minute longer.

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