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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Well, I've just watched it again after about 15 years and I've got a lump in my throat, if a somewhat gritty, manly sort of one. I watched it with My wife and daughter and they were both mostly unimpressed. To be fair, I can see why because there are too many elements in the film that you are either going to be passionate about or else just lukewarm.

So first, the plot and emotional content. This is a film for people who've been in relationships where you each can't live with or without the other person. You try and break out, connect up with other people, but end up running back and doing it all all over again. Love at its most destructive, but also arguably at its most passionate, and able to bring a bit of poetic nobility into otherwise humdrum lives. If you've never been there, or have and don't want to be reminded, or just level headed enough to look on at such shenanigins with bemusement, then this film is not going to cut it with you, and might, as it did for my wife, just be irritating. I did have the questionable good-fortune to endure such a relationship in my younger, wilder past, and hence the lump in my throat.

Next, there is the music, it being after all a musical. The soundtrack is primarily provided by the gruff, low grumble of Tom Waits at the piano, with various degrees of support from string and classic big band elements. Some of the songs are structured as male/female dialogue with Crystal Gayle, completely severed from her customary disco context, providing a gorgeous counterpart to Waits. The lyrics are both witty and gritty, edgy and moving, about what you would expect from Waits for those that know him. For parts of the film the soundtrack opens out into an exotic mix of blues, latin, big band and much else to accompany the strange journeys that the central characters take through a hyper real Las Vegas. This sound track is another thing that you're going to like very much or feel quite uncomfortable with. A unifying element throughout is sassy brass playing edgy big-band blues. If you're not going to be comfortable with that then you probably won't like the movie.

The actors are all great, Frederick Forrest and Terri Garr both provide very committed performances as the central lovers, Hank and Frannie, locked into their cycle of bittersweet destruction. The witheringly gorgeous Natassia Kinski, at her most gloriously iconic, is devastating as the girl through whom Forrest tries to make his escape. Harry Dean Stanton is his usual hilariously quirky self as Hank's sidekick, Mo. Of course Kinski and Stanton would go on in a couple of years to star in Wim Wenders' 'silent epic' Paris, Texas.

The other star of the film is the strange surreal desert city of Las Vegas, though this is a hyperbolic, almost surreal, Las Vegas created in the studios, and which is presumably why the film bankrupted Copolla in its making. Even my wife and daughter had to admit that the cinematography was outstanding throughout, and at times mind-blowing. I think it's fair to to say that even if you don't enjoy other aspects of the movie, if you have any feel for cinematographic art, then you will be glad to have seen it just once for the amazing sets and camerawork.

So there you are. I think that shgould give you some idea of how you will get along with this movie. In my opinion this was a very brave project for Coppola to undertake, and was presumably a labour of love, for it is not entirely unpredictable that it would never enjoy general success. But, as one of those who have immense affection for this movie, I'm really grateful he took the plunge.
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on 23 August 2005
Hard to find for many years, Coppola's 'One From the Heart' at last gets a release: a 2-disk DVD packed with extras.
After the large scale Godfather and Apocalypse Now films, the director chose to film this small musical love story of a couple, played by Frederic Forrest and Terri Garr, who have a bust up on a holiday weekend in Las Vegas. The songs by Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle give voice to the lead actors' thoughts and emotions.
The film is visually spectacular. Filmed on soundstages which include a recreation of the Strip in Las Vegas, frame after frame is beautifully composed, with Waits' jazzy score perfectly matching the neon glare of the screen. Scenes dissolve into each other with expressive lighting and scrims; the effect is theatrical and Moulin Rouge owes a lot to it. But like many musicals, its problems lie in the slender plot which allows little scope for character development. The charismatic performances of Raul Julia and Natassja Kinski in the supporting cast often hold the film together.
It is highly ambitious however, both technically and artistically. The remastered and re-edited print is a joy to behold, and the wealth of extras on the bonus disk are first rate, giving a pretty unbiased view of the troubled production and Coppola's battle to create Zoetrope Studios. For me the film is 3 out of 5 and the extras 5 out of 5. Overall 4 out of 5.
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on 27 August 2004
If you love Tom Wait's voice, this vision is the 3D version of it,beautifully shot with a sound track that russles the heart strings and a story to warm the cockles of even the coldest heart, for all us romantics who pretend to be sceptics...
'Shovels of shot glass, dig your own hole, bury what's left of your miserible soul' as Tom would say
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on 12 April 2014
it does not matter if this is from "legendary director" of Apocalypse now and the Godfather: this movie is a waste of time. Worn out story (couple drifting apart, then getting together in love), poorly acted, no shining spot (apart from N. Kinsky lingerie), only worthwhile part is the music by Tom Waits (that however does not always matches the movie) and the picture, with very nice shots and colour effects (well, it has been all taken in studios, so lights can be arranged and reproduced at will). Forget it, and buy the soundtrack instead.
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on 24 September 2010
It's a Francis Ford Coppola film......
That was what first interested me..

The whole film was all shot inside Coppola's Huge studio building he'd just bought,,
Some scenes show this.. (But in a good way)
Other scenes look astounding & it's hard to believe they were shot indoors!!

Having been shot like gives the film a very dreamy strange feel..
But i liked that.. "Different from reality"..

Nastassia Kinski.....
This film in my opinion shows the woman at her most Iconic...

I took a gamble & thought i'd try this dvd out as it was cheap..
And i'm glad i did.. :-)
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A huge roll of the dice that wiped out Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope studio and saw him spending the next decade churning out pictures to pay off the debts the $28m flop left him with, One From the Heart is one of those films I really want to like - to love, even - but which just won't let me. Visually it's a triumph, but the Tom Waits suicide blues score rarely works as a screen musical and as a human drama its kept firmly on the ground by the fact these characters just aren't likeable. Coppola seems more interested in his lavish studio settings than what's happening in them, with even the most mundane sequences shot like an imaginatively staged theatrical musical with intricate shifts of lighting and colour, dissolving walls and neon dreams. But perhaps the biggest problem of all is that Coppola doesn't seem to have made this film for the audience but for himself, and so it probably never connects with anyone not on his personal wavelength. The trailers give away a big part of the problem: the 1982 release stresses the Godfather and Apocalypse Now as evidence of Coppola's genius while the 2003 reissue trailer runs off a list of critical superlatives in a sternly unemotional voice: joy isn't on the menu here.

That the story is so simple as to be almost invisible - a couple split up over the 4th July weekend and become involved with new partners - needn't be a problem: after all, three sailors on furlough looking for Miss Turnstiles or a backwoodsman convincing his six bachelors to kidnap six local girls to marry aren't exactly complex. With good casting, good writing and good musical numbers, there's no real reason it shouldn't work. Unfortunately it doesn't get them. The argument that kicks off the split is atrociously written and just as badly acted - you've seen more vicious spats on The Dick Van Dyke Show - and because we never buy it for a moment the film is handicapped almost from the start. The fact that neither lead can carry a movie, is even more of a problem, leaving you with a film without any heart at its center: Raul Julia is the only member of the cast who really shines, and he probably has the least screen time of anyone in the picture. The constant crosscutting doesn't help, with Coppola cutting away as soon as one scene starts to gel to focus on an awkward one that never does. Despite input from Gene Kelly (barely noticeable) and Michael Powell (visually very noticeable), it's not even quite a musical - aside from a couple of fantasy numbers it opts Yentl-like to keep the singing as an invisible chorus/underscore not so much commenting as setting the melancholy tone that counterpoints the bright, garish visuals. The film's one promising musical number, where Julia's serenade of Teri Garr spills out onto the streets of Las Vegas, is never allowed to play uninterrupted without meandering shots of Frederic Forrest wandering through the neon streets.

Coppola's 2003 re-edit of the film does nothing to improve matters. The revised opening is a little smoother but at the expense of Forrest's character, removing all remaining traces of color to make him even more of a boring homebody. It's an excellent DVD, however, with everything you could want to know and more and offering some fairly frank insights into the failure of Coppola's attempt to ally the expertise of the old studio contract system with the modern advances of electronic cinema, not to mention the constant financing problems. It's just a shame that the film itself is so damn hard to love.
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on 13 July 2013
I fell in love with this movie and Natasha Kinski when it was released and as a movie I still love it.. Natasha Kinski what a sad loss to Cinema, she made some great Films but I am biased about her I guess. such a beauty.
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on 1 March 2013
I had seen this when it came out and found it delightful. It has aged with time. It's a fireworks display of effects (for the time), but deeply flawed by the core premise. Everything in this is cheap - and that's exactly how Coppola wanted it. The two characters live cheap lives in a gaudy, fake city. Their sentiments are as corny as they come and they chase escape in the arms of cartoon characters. At the end of the day, it's hard to keep a film going on such a lightweight concept.

Alongside that, Coppola had the supreme intelligence of getting Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle to add musical counterpoints. This is Waits at his best, or at least his most accessible. Nastassia Kinski puts in a lovely turn as the waif-like circus girl.

So I was again struck by how delightful it is, but found it dragging from the mid-point onwards.

Having said that, fans of Coppola and Tom Waits at the very least should watch it. The soundtrack (which I don't have) must be sensational.
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on 13 September 2010
A beautifully made and gorgeous piece of cinema. They don't make them like this anymore, tremendous use of colour! Certainly not a film for everyone but definitely one for a true cinema fan.
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on 16 February 2011
If it's story you want, this film may not be for you. There's not a lot of story here. If it's impressionism you want then this is a great impression of a moment. Don't take it too literally and you have a sublime emotional journey through the souls of two simple and likable people. I loved it. It could easily be the most simple story in the world but it's infused with a gentle symbolism that gives it more to enjoy. Coppola fans may wonder where the rest of the signature characteristics are. Fans of tricky camerawork and lighting symbolism will be pleasantly surprised.
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