Published Dec 01, 2003After 20 years of relative invisibility, Francis Ford Coppola's newly restored musical, One From the Heart, is being re-released for limited theatrical distribution. This will make way for the DVD to be released in early 2004.
One From the Heart is important to those interested in the technological history of film production. The innovations utilised by Coppola in the creation of the movie were visionary (it seems) and served as the gateway to the electronic cinema age. Film geeks everywhere rejoice. But even a complete non-buff will be amazed that every scene, including downtown Las Vegas, a rundown suburb and the Las Vegas airport, weren't shot on location but on sets built in Zoetrope's newly acquired sound stages.
Cinema history "hoo ha" aside, the film's strongest point of interest may be the remastered soundtrack composed by Tom Waits, who approached the work not as a soundtrack subservient to the film but as a freestanding LP graced by an entire studio orchestra. The results are a satisfying combination of Waits's beat eccentricities within the rigid framework of traditional arrangements. The vocal contributions made by Loretta Lynn's younger sister, Crystal Gayle, don't quite jibe with Waits's sound but are typical of this film's quality as an imperfect experiment.
The love story that involves Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest, Raul Julia and Nastassja Kinski is goofy at best. Forrest delivers his lines with a wooden actor-ishness that reeks of high school theatre and Garr is surprisingly subdued. One From the Heart holds true to the theory that you don't need singers and dancers in a modern musical, as Garr suspected, but the results are inevitably awkward.
As a period piece it is fun, the film sets are amazing, the music's great and character actor supreme Harry Dean Stanton utters the line, "there's some grass in the desk". I wonder if the DVD has the "making of" Stanton's perm? (American Zoetrope)