Re: RARA-AVIS: Coppola (was Conrad/Hemingway)

From: rikke & hanne kesten (
Date: 03 Mar 2000

Mark: Coppola sort of let the cat out of the bag on Godfather 3 when he played so much of it in the world of opera. Then it became clear to me his approach to the first two films wasn't narrative filmmaking but operatic story-telling, rather than soap opera. And his father, an orchestra musician and composer, was there to write the score and even on the set urging Francis along.

As for Apocalypse, I think your're right on in saying it falls apart going up river. Not only that, but the film was unreleasable -- it made no sense -- until Michael Herr's book, Dispatches, was published after they had spent about a year cutting the film and were pretty much stymied. Someone gave the book to Coppola who got Herr to write the voice over comentary for his very fragmented film, thereby giving it some narrative cohesion.
   With all the problems making that film, the major fault was that they shot the Brando ending FIRST, than made the rest of the film. When they tried to put it together the ending related to the movie they were going to make at the outset, not the film as it grew over the year or so during which they shot it. And they couldn't get Brando to come back to re-shoot the ending.

Nevertheless, certain sequences are truly spectacular works on film -- the helicopter attack, for sure, will go down in film history, and, for me, Brando's work in the ending is brilliant -- no matter that it was from another movie.

--steve kesten

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