Here are my somewhat odd comments on One From the Heart, figured I don't want to start another Coppola thread, and since I've mentioned the film it seems appropriate. I'm not particularly pleased with the review, but its certainly favorable which not many reviews of this film are.
One From the Heart (1982)
Hail that magnificent folly. Every director has an inkling to go over the top, and the public just waits for their eventual downfall. Francis Coppola (who dropped the Ford for the credits here) seemed incapable of failure in the previous decade. Apocalypse Now (1979) was a nightmare to make, but the film was still well received, and ended the decade on an extremely high note, complete with yet another Oscar nomination. The gamble on that film had paid off, and today most people still regard Apocalypse as a true masterpiece. History has not been as kind to his follow up.
Today, nearly 25 years after the film first premiered it has not found its audience. Even in the glorious midnight movie circuit the film hasnt quite caught on, and it seems perfect for it. One From the Heart is a film dying for reappraisal and reevaluation. A disastrous bomb, that forced Coppola to close his dream studio and set him in a decade long downward spiral, that some people still argue he never fully recovered from. It isnt right though, sure you can see why the film failed, but that doesnt mean that it should have failed.
It is a simple film of complexity. The story is just a love story, a mix of musical comedy, romance, and drama. Yet that seems to be the only thing simple about it. Just looking at the stills from the film you wonder if the whole picture is a dream sequence. Watching the film it stays in its own world. There is nothing really fantastic or absurd about its construction, but it looks like no other film. A monument to set construction, art direction, brilliant lighting schemes, and of course an absolutely flawless film score.
One From the Heart is groundbreaking in its style. A film that attempted to be digital, electronic, but still doomed. Watching the film today though you just sit in awe. The images are powerful, theyre memorable, but there is something else in the film. There is a story, a heart, and characters that you care about and root for. The pace is quick, and when the plot slows down, there is enough in every frame to carry it through. The music is just as vital as the cinematography. Tom Waits provides the score here, and it is a gorgeous array of lounge music but with that impeccable Waits charm that leaves it somewhere left of center. He shares the singing duties with Crystal Gayle, and the two compliment each other perfectly.
The comedy isnt really funny though. There arent a lot of laughs, and the few attempts at deliberate comedy such as Frederic Forrests entanglement on top of the motel. But there is an absurdist charm, in the same way that Rules of the Game (1939) is a comedy. Yet the film got to be made Coppolas way, even though today we might laugh at the huge budget of $26 million dollars. Hell one actor alone can get almost as much for his work today. Despite being a failure it did still get released in its original form. There might be large tales of the films financial disaster, but it stayed in tact. This isnt a studio butchered piece of a directors vision being undermined.
The acting is first rate in the film. Forrest was a veteran of Coppola films, and I cant think of a film where he was better utilized. Terri Garr likewise hasnt had nearly as much of an opportunity to shine. Natassia Kinski and Raul Julia are both charming as the exotic tempters. Kinski seems to be from another planet here, and that makes Forrests attraction utterly convincing. Even Harry Dean Stanton and Lainie Kazan are perfectly matched as the comic best friends. Their performances have been somewhat overlooked because of the overpowering visual splendor of the picture. So by all means see the film, give it a shot, sure its a love it or hate it film, but I think that time will eventually catch up to it, and just praise shall be rewarded to it.