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Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection [5 Discs] [Blu-ray]

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Overview

Synopsis

Apocalypse Now
One of a cluster of late-1970s films about the Vietnam War, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now adapts the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness to depict the war as a descent into primal madness. Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen), already on the edge, is assigned to find and deal with AWOL Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), rumored to have set himself up in the Cambodian jungle as a local, lethal godhead. Along the way Willard encounters napalm and Wagner fan Col. Kilgore (Robert Duvall), draftees who prefer to surf and do drugs, a USO Playboy Bunny show turned into a riot by the raucous soldiers, and a jumpy photographer (Dennis Hopper) telling wild, reverent tales about Kurtz. By the time Willard sees the heads mounted on stakes near Kurtz's compound, he knows Kurtz has gone over the deep end, but it is uncertain whether Willard himself now agrees with Kurtz's insane dictum to "Drop the Bomb. Exterminate them all." Coppola himself was not certain either, and he tried several different endings between the film's early rough-cut screenings for the press, the Palme d'Or-winning "work-in-progress" shown at Cannes, and the final 35 mm U.S. release (also the ending on the video cassette). The chaotic production also experienced shut-downs when a typhoon destroyed the set and star Sheen suffered a heart attack; the budget ballooned and Coppola covered the overages himself. These production headaches, which Coppola characterized as being like the Vietnam War itself, have been superbly captured in the documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse. Despite the studio's fears and mixed reviews of the film's ending, Apocalypse Now became a substantial hit and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Duvall's psychotic Kilgore, and Best Screenplay. It won Oscars for sound and for Vittorio Storaro's cinematography. This hallucinatory, Wagnerian project has produced admirers and detractors of equal ardor; it resembles no other film ever made, and its nightmarish aura and polarized reception aptly reflect the tensions and confusions of the Vietnam era. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Apocalypse Now Redux
Francis Coppola had more than his share of production difficulties while shooting his epic-scale Vietnam War drama Apocalypse Now, including disastrous weather conditions, problems with his leading men (Harvey Keitel was fired after less than two weeks on the project and was replaced by Martin Sheen, who suffered a heart attack midway through production), and a schedule and budget that quickly spiraled out of control (originally budgeted at $10 million, the film's final cost was over $30 million). But Coppola's troubles didn't end when he got his footage into the editing room, and he tinkered with a number of different structures and endings before settling on the film's 153-minute final cut in time for its initial theatrical release in 1979. Twenty-two years later, Francis Coppola returned to the material, and created Apocalypse Now Redux, an expanded and re-edited version of the film that adds 53 minutes of footage excised from the film's original release. In addition to adding a number of smaller moments that even out the film's rhythms, Apocalypse Now Redux restores two much-discussed sequences that Coppola chose not to include in his original edition of the film -- an encounter in the jungle between Willard (Martin Sheen), his crewmates Chief (Albert Hall), Clean (Larry Fishburne), Chef (Frederic Forrest), and Lance (Sam Bottoms) and a trio of stranded Playboy models on a U.S.O. tour, as well as a stopover at a plantation operated by French colonists De Marais (Christian Marquand) and Roxanne (Aurore Clement). Apocalypse Now Redux received a limited theatrical release in August of 2001 after a well-received screening at the Cannes Film Festival -- the same month that the film finally reached theaters in 1979, after a rough cut received a Golden Palm award at the Cannes Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

One From the Heart
After completing Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola initially planned for his next picture to be an intimate romantic musical shot on a low budget in Las Vegas. Three years later, One from the Heart had mushroomed into a big-budget spectacular, shot on strikingly stylized sets at his newly opened Zoetrope Studio and costing a then-massive $27 million. The story concerns Hank (Frederick Forrest) and Franny (Terri Garr), a working-class couple living on the outskirts of Las Vegas; after five years together, their relationship has fallen into a rut, and they both set off in search of new partners. Hank meets up with Leila (Nastassia Kinski), a beautiful high-wire artist, and Franny has a fling with Ray (Raul Julia), a dashing actor-waiter. But Hank and Franny still love each other, and their search for romance brings them back into each other's arms. Singer/songwriter Tom Waits received an Oscar nomination for his widely acclaimed song score, performed with country crooner Crystal Gayle. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Tetro
On the heels of the self-financed, modestly budgeted 2007 drama Youth Without Youth -- his first directorial outing after a ten-year hiatus -- filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola remains situated in the director's chair for this semi-autobiographical family drama concerning an artistic family of immigrants whose fierce rivalries span several generations. Vincent Gallo stars with newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, with Carmen Maura, Maribel Verdú, and Alden Ehrenreich rounding out the cast. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

The Conversation
Made between The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974), and in part an homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's art-movie classic Blow-Up (1966), The Conversation was a return to small-scale art films for Francis Ford Coppola. Sound surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is hired to track a young couple (Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest), taping their conversation as they walk through San Francisco's crowded Union Square. Knowing full well how technology can invade privacy, Harry obsessively keeps to himself, separating business from his personal life, even refusing to discuss what he does or where he lives with his girlfriend, Amy (Teri Garr). Harry's work starts to trouble him, however, as he comes to believe that the conversation he pieced together reveals a plot by the mysterious corporate "Director" who hired him to murder the couple. After he allows himself to be seduced by a call girl, who then steals the tapes, Harry is all the more convinced that a killing will occur, and he can no longer separate his job from his conscience. Coppola, cinematographer Bill Butler, and Oscar-nominated sound editor Walter Murch convey the narrative through Harry's aural and visual experience, beginning with the slow opening zoom of Union Square accompanied by the alternately muddled and clear sound of the couple's conversation caught by Harry's microphones. The Godfather Part II and The Conversation earned Coppola a rare pair of Oscar nominations for Best Picture, as well as two nominations for Best Screenplay (The Godfather Part II won both). Praised by critics, The Conversation was not a popular hit, but it has since come to be seen as one of the artistic high points of the decade, as well as of Coppola's career. Its atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion, combined with its obsessive loner antihero, made it prototypical of the darker "American art movies" of the early '70s, as its audiotape storyline also made it seem eerily appropriate for the era of the Watergate scandal. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Martin Sheen
    Martin Sheen - Capt. Benjamin Willard
  • Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando - Colonel Kurtz
  • Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall - Lt. Col. Kilgore
  • Frederic Forrest
    Frederic Forrest - Chef
  • Dennis Hopper
    Dennis Hopper - Photo Journalist
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