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Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse  [DVD]
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Francis Ford Coppola began to film 'Apocalypse Now' in February 1976. After 238 days in the jungle, filming was complete and millions of dollars had been spent (Marlon Brando was on set for three weeks at a million dollars a week). Actors had been replaced (Harvey Keitel by Martin Sheen). They had all gone a bit insane (according to Coppola) and the whole thing was documented on film by his wife, Eleanor.
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Top Customer Reviews
Funny, frightening, informative, sad and triumphant, it fully
captures the madness of creating one of the great epic films
of the last 50 years.
It also offers insight into how much of art is accidental or discovered
instead of planned.
If you are interested in film, the artistic process, Francis Coppola or
anything else about 'Apocalypse Now' this is a must see.
Indeed, it's pretty much a must see for anyone.
In fact, his bravery in making the film was shocking. He knew that he was spending both the money and good will he had accumulated from The Godfather in an adeventure of his own, and yet he continued. Perhaps, bravery is the wrong word, it was almost narcissistic cimpulsion, but the results were of course brilliant.
Hearts Of Darkness - which takes its name from the Joseph Conrad novella on which AN is loosely based - is the story of the making of the film, shot on a handheld VCR by the director's wife Eleanor. It's an honest and uncompromising visual diary, showing her husband's many frustrations and crises on location in the Philippines - think devastating hurricanes, leading actor having a heart attack, helicopters requisitioned to fight a civil war, etc etc. And as if all those problems weren't enough Coppola then had to deal with a massively overweight Marlon Brando turning up for his $1m cameo appearance, towards the end of shooting, not knowing his lines and threatening to quit on the spot if the camera showed his enormous girth!
All the interviews and anecdotes are highly absorbing, especially those with scriptwriter John Milius, Martin Sheen and Coppola himself, whose closing monologue, recorded over 30 years ago, is still just as profound and relevant today. Also of interest is the famous 'plantation scene', edited out of the final cut of AN at the last minute although included in the later (inferior) 'Redux' edition. But perhaps the most dramatic moments are of Coppola on the phone to Hollywood, desperately trying to keep the lid on Sheen's heart attack so that his studio doesn't pull the plug on the whole shebang.
Spellbinding stuff - very possibly the best documentary ever made about the process of film-making and a pure inspiration to anybody who has a goal and wants to find the drive/determination to make it come to fruition, no matter what the obstacles.
Crammed full of truly iconic momments from smelling napalm,playboy bunnies gyrating around helicopter blades and Marlon Brando speaking of the horror.
One can forget that before the finished product a bunch of maniacs attempted to make this movie.And that actually the making of Now is actually a movie in itself which Hearts Of Darkness captures.
The production of Now has passed into folklore from borrowing military copters,copious drug use,a lead actor unravelling and suffering a heart attack,whole sets being destroyed and a director in the middle conducting paying for it all out of his OWN pocket with the very real prospect of losing not only millions but his house.
You see whilst Coppola has very much now become part of the established history of Hollywood seeing him here in full gonzoid glory was a revelation.
No two ways about it this is the epitome of an artist,taking on a massive creative task when he could have rested on his laurels riding the Godfather gravy train.Coppola here is as subversive,challenging as any "underground" artist.
Through the movie Coppola doesn't know where he's going,whats going to be shot.....it's awe inspiring to watch.How we can smirk in hindsight as he tells his wife what he is making is "rubbish".
In many ways Coppola becomes Kurtz.
This is method directing.All involved seemed to have got lost in the making of the movie.The level of commitment and passion on display maybe indicates the difference between todays films.
This is playing all your cards stuff.Read more ›
This is movie making Ernest Shackleton style - on the edge - sink or swim, and you can only admire Coppola for his sheer tenacity and balls. (although it *was* filmed by his wife so you'd kind've expect him to be painted in a good light).
I watched it twice then trawled the net for more background.. it's a shame they left out any reference to the fraught editing process after filming which took another three years nearly!
It skipped over a lot of the *really* gruesome details too, that I discovered later, like the purchasing of cadavers for the temple scene and the details behind the slaughter of the water buffalo towards the end.
Movie making will never be the same again.. and you're certainly left feeling conflicted about that.
A great piece of documentary making.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Essential viewing for any F F Coppola Fans - after seeing this you'll be amazed that his landmark film 'Apocalypse Now' ever got completed. Highly recommended.Published 10 months ago by ar
Fascinating look behind the scenes of one of the most incredible films ever madePublished 22 months ago by Mr Richard A Jones
A lot of these "filming of" documentaries are just fillers. This is the story behind one of the most challenging films to come out of Hollywood. Read morePublished on 9 Nov. 2014 by JulesRules
unfortunately the DVD would not play. Still not sure whether it was a faulty disk, or a format that my DVD player wouldn't recognize, although it's supposed to be 'multi-format'. Read morePublished on 20 Feb. 2014 by Starwalker