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Fantoma Films presents
One from the heart (1982)

Customer: Listen, isn't that...isn't that my club sandwich there?
Ray: Not anymore.

- Uncredited, Raul Julia

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: July 09, 2004

Stars: Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr
Other Stars: Raul Julia, Nastassia Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton, Lainie Kazan
Director: Francis Coppola

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, some brief strong language)
Run Time: 01h:38m:18s
Release Date: January 27, 2004
UPC: 695026000129
Genre: musical


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ B-AA- A

DVD Review

The surrounding theme of Francis Coppola's infamous One from the heart is gambling. After making his mark in the 1970s with the epic Godfather films and Apocalypse Now, Coppola began the 1980s with what was originally meant to be a small film about the biggest gamble of the human experience: love. It begins with the sound of a roulette wheel engulfing the viewer around a black screen that will soon be filled with dazzling sets and colors that were financed by Coppola after he gambled his mortgage, American Zoetrope Studios, and reputation.

Coppola opened his pet project, which was an attempt to bring back the glory of the Hollywood studio system and to combine it with improving technology, in January of 1982 to great public and critical disappointment. After opening, Coppola shelved the film within a week and its fate in movie history as a bomb was sealed. Yet with the medium of DVD, Coppola's forgotten film gets a new life in a brand new cut.

The story is simple, perhaps too simple for the grand designs of Dean Tavoularis' Las Vegas sets and the impeccable lighting and steadicam shots of cinematographers Vittorio Storaro and Ronald V. Garcia. Two lovers, Hank and Frannie (played by Frederic Forrest and Teri Garr, respectively), are celebrating their fifth anniversary on the Fourth of July. Hank is the pragmatic partner, wanting to settle down and get married. Frannie, however, has different plans. She buys the two of them tickets to Bora Bora, which runs contrary to Hank's gift of the deed to a house. The two argue, say horrible things to one another, and break up.

Both of them are eager to move on with their new lives and hit the strip to celebrate Independence Day in style. Frannie is approached by the handsome, sexy Ray (Raul Julia) while Hank is enchanted by the nimble, sexy Leila (Nastassia Kinski). Both Frannie and Hank indulge in their new dream lovers, only to realize that they're chasing an impossible dream. The ending will be obvious to anybody who has seen a movie, TV show, play, or read a book. The fact that the script, written by Coppola and Armyan Bernstein, is predictable is not a flaw, but the flat dialogue and leaden characters severely damages the film.

One from the heart is a musical, but not in the traditional sense. The musical numbers are provided by Tom Waits in a musical score that primarily exists outside of the events on screen. As a result, Frederic Forrest and Teri Garr are stuck without having any songs to sing and are forced to act their scenes together with stale dialogue that will make soap opera fans cringe. The fact that Raul Julia and Nastassia Kinski have exciting dialogue may be meant to heighten the sense of their characters as fantasies, but ultimately it makes the viewer wish the film focused on those characters instead. Julia is a real stand out here, with a great physicality and comic timing that makes his moments on the screen glisten along with the neon lights of the Strip.

The true highlight of the film is its style. Not just Dean Tavoularis' immense Las Vegas sets deserve credit here, they do seem to create a Las Vegas that takes place in a different universe from Tavoularis' earlier design of Vegas in The Godfather, but also the camerawork and the sound. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro's rich color scheme makes an unmistakably surreal impression on the audience that allows the viewer an access to the emotional world of the characters that the dialogue never provides. But the real highlight of the film is the musical score by Tom Waits. Waits and Crystal Gayle sing the songs, almost like Zeus and Hera commenting on the events of mortals, creating a mood and beat that enraptures the viewer with one of the best jazz scores ever composed for a film.

Coppola's direction of the material is also worthy of note. He seamlessly blends the fantasy of his lead characters, such as Frannie's reverie of a major musical number on the Strip and Hank's dreamy vision of Leila singing to him, with the reality of a couple bickering over insignificant issues. But despite Coppola's masterful command over aesthetics, he cannot overcome the downfalls of the script and the miscasting of Frederic Forrest. Over the years, Forrest has been memorable with supporting roles in the likes of Apocalypse Now and Falling Down, but he doesn't have the ability to carry a film, let alone a romantic one, as a lead.

One from the heart certainly is a great expression of Coppola's love for art and life, as evident by the title (he follows the Italian language's custom of only capitalizing the first word). However, as one would expect after seeing a Coppola interview, the expression is confused and shallow while simultaneously being beautiful and entertaining. The visuals and sounds leave the audience wanting more, but the script is weak and scatterbrained. This may be the greatest accomplishment of Coppola's career, and its failures are probably the reason why.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This transfer, supervised by Storaro, of One from the heart is easily going to be one of the best of the year. The original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 is maintained here with results that are, in a word, spectacular. Detail is maintained with incredible results, especially considering how much detail is contained in the sets. None of the colors ever bleed, flesh tones are accurate, depth is maintained to create a film-like look, contrast is strong, and the image is crisp. There are a few instances in which the age of the film cannot be hidden, such as a scratch when Frannie is calling home. The major flaw in this transfer is that it is not RSDL, but rather crammed onto a single layer.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: In addition to the beautiful image, Fantoma has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix. Featuring a great deal of bass, especially during the musical numbers and opening credits, this sound mix is a real treat. The musical score sounds great, with the vocals containing an echoish sound in the surround speakers that simulates a concert feel. The sounds of Vegas come across nicely, filling all of the speakers at nearly all times. Dialogue is a little under mixed in parts, particularly during the opening, but still can be understood. Some sound effects travel between the speakers, but for the most part the mix does not get flashy in that respect.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
10 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
Isolated Music Score with remote access
2 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
Packaging: Double alpha
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert—a collectible insert with information about the transfer, a letter of introduction from Francis Ford Coppola, and an essay by David Thomson.
  2. The Tom Waits Score: Alternate Tracks—six alternate takes, demos, and new songs performed by Tom Waits during early scoring sessions.
  3. Found Objects—a sampling of material relating to the film's publicity. Includes a press conference with Coppola, a music video, Coppola's speech to exhibitors, and a stop motion demonstration.
  4. Videotaped Rehearsals—a collection of the cast and crew rehearsing scenes on the Zoetrope Studio sets.
  5. Galleries—a brief collection of still photographs from the set and two articles about the technical aspects of the film.
Extras Review: One from the heart is supplied on DVD with a wealth of extras. First is an insert with an introduction written by Francis Ford Coppola and an essay on the film by David Thomson. It also includes some notes about the new image transfer made exclusively for this DVD. Disc 1 features a feature-length commentary with Coppola and an isolated score track in Dolby Digital 5.1. Watching the isolated score is not an incredibly different experience from watching the film with its original sound mix, so most people will probably lose interest after about ten minutes. The commentary track has a lot of good information, with Coppola mentioning where he pays homage to Citizen Kane, Gene Kelly's contributions to the dancing scenes, and some interesting facts about the sets (they were sold to make Blade Runner, evidently).

Disc 2 has a host of other extras, starting with two documentaries and two featurettes. The Dream Station (28m:22s) is narrated by Teri Garr and shows a lot of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the film, explains the ideas behind creating a new studio system, and chronicles the film's eventual failure. The other documentary is The Making of One from the Heart (23m:18s) from 1982. Some of the interviews overlap with the other documentary, but it mostly shows different information (such as Coppola selecting the wardrobe for the characters). The two featurettes are Tom Waits and the Music of One from the Heart (13m:27s) and The Electronic Cinema (09m:32s). The Tom Waits featurette is a collection of footage of him and Coppola working at Coppola's house being interspliced with a Waits' interview. There is very little in way of information provided here, unlike in The Electronic Cinema. Unfortunately, The Electronic Cinema has no new information about digital technology and it plays like a glorification of the new and disappointing trend into CGI.

Next up are ten deleted scenes. Totaling for a runtime of 27m:16s, the deleted scenes primarily alternate versions of already existing scenes. The first scene is an alternate opening title sequence with Coppola commentary. There is also an alternate introduction of Nastassia Kinski's Leila with optional commentary by Coppola. The final deleted scene is the original opening that was used when the film premiered in 1982. The scenes are of interest only to fans of the movie. There are also six alternate tracks of Tom Waits' score. There is only one new song (Wages of Love) provided here, with the others being alternate takes and demo reels.

Continuing onward, there are Found Objects, which contains a press conference (02m:30s) that Coppola gave from the set with the cast and a rough animatic of the opening title sequence. It's a boring interview, except for the brief exchange where Coppola is angry at a report for accusing him of being reckless. Along with the press conference, is the introduction Coppola made to the film when he displayed a rough cut to exhibitors (01m:28s). There is also a music video of "This One's From the Heart" (03m:25s), which contains only footage from the film. It's a pointless supplement, but it does show how quickly music videos have evolved. There also is a Videotaped Rehearsal of the cast and crew on the set. The footage is shown in clips, being separated by text about Coppola's hope of creating a new studio system.

Finally there are galleries, with two theatrical trailers. The first is the original theatrical trailer from 1981 and the second is a re-issue trailer from 1983. There is also a very minor still gallery of the actors working on the set. The final extras are two articles about the film. "Sound Recording and Post Production" is an essay by Larry Blake that goes into thorough detail about the sound design. "Making Film with Video" premiered in American Cinematographer when the film was released, going into the then-revolutionary use of previsualization.

The extras for this release are very diverse and have a lot of good information. Fans of the movie will appreciate these extras, while others will likely skip them. As far as DVD enthusiasts will be concerned, this is a very strong collection of extras.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

Fantoma has provided One from the heart with a DVD release greater than anyone ever would have imagined. The sound mix and image transfer are stunning and deserving of immense praise. The extras are vast, giving lots of information on the making of the film and its disastrous reception. All Coppola fans should buy this set.

 


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