“Honey, let’s just promise to never, ever fight again, okay?”
A quibbling working-class couple in Las Vegas (Teri Garr and Frederic Forrest) seek solace in the arms of glamorous new lovers (Raul Julia and Nastassja Kinski).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Allen Garfield Films
- Francis Ford Coppola Films
- Fredric Forrest Films
- Harry Dean Stanton Films
- Nastassja Kinski Films
- Teri Garr Films
Francis Ford Coppola’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to Apocalypse Now (1979) was this infamously expensive musical, filmed entirely in Coppola’s own Zoetrope studios, and pulled from theaters (by Coppola) after just one week (earning back only ~$600K of its 26 million dollar budget). The film’s biggest disappointment, as so many concur, is the failure of the central romantic couple (Garr and Forrest) to engage either our interest or our sympathies. Through no fault of either actor, the characters they inhabit are simply too poorly developed to care about, and the break-up of their 5-year relationship is clearly just an excuse to throw them each into the conveniently available arms of exotic lovers — who are both infinitely more interesting and charismatic than the leads. Kinski in particular — playing a young circus performer — is a gorgeous, kittenish delight, and one definitely wishes she was given more screentime.
What saves the film from its uninspired screenplay are two central elements: Tom Waits’s gorgeously bluesy score (sung much of the time by Crystal Gaile — an inspired choice), and the consistently stunning visuals. From its opening neon credits, the movie is strategically theatrical, infused with bold, screen-popping hues and shot with creatively stylized cinematography. While it’s true that the visual scheme entirely overwhelms the story — and Coppola really should have demanded a more nuanced storyline to go along with his richly conceived alter-universe — there’s nonetheless plenty here to watch and enjoy. You’ve surely never seen a film quite like One From the Heart (which seems like a clear inspiration for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge), and if it’s not entirely successful, it’s at least entirely original.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Dean Taboularis’s other-worldly production design
- Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography
- Creative opening credits
- Nastassja Kinski as Leila
- Raul Julia as Ray
- Tom Waits’ bluesy score
Yes, simply for its historical notoriety. Listed as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book.
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director