B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
Unseen for over twenty years, Francis Ford Coppola's delirious Las Vegas spectacle depicts two pairs of lovers (Teri Garr and Frederic Forrest, Nastassja Kinski and Raul Julia) who fall passionately and comically under the spell of the gambling town. Controversial at the time of its original release, the entire film was shot on soundstages at Zoetrope Studios in Hollywood, where massive scale reproductions of Las Vegas were built. Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor). Original songs and score written and performed by Tom Waits. Newly restored and remixed print, reedited by Coppola.
  Looking Back At One from the Heart

I'd have to say that in many ways, One from the Heart was the antidote to Apocalypse Now. That film had been so tough; so thoroughly frightening; so strange in its exploration of morality that I wanted very badly to make a film that was its opposite. Something that was more like a fable; more like the musical comedies I used to direct in college.
Also, I had come to the conclusion in the last days of Apocalypse that the cinema was about to go through an extraordinary change—it was able to become electronic. I was sure that movies were going to be shot and edited digitally, and would make use of the many facilities of an electronic medium.

I envisioned a 'live cinema,' some new as-of-yet undemonstrated form that used the methods and principals of the great live TV performed in the fifties by such legendary directors as John Frankenheimer. Anyone who's seen his work in that period, such as The Comedian or The Turn of the Screw, can understand how tempting it would be to mount an entire full-length piece of cinema basically in real time. I became very enthusiastic about creating a 'studio of the future' which would facilitate working in this way and combining elements of stage craft, music and dance and yet be able to use cinematic elements of montage and mis-en-scène much in the way that Frankenheimer successfully did
years before.

We began to prepare the way to actually do such an experiment, one in which the sound design and musical elements would be added during what was essentially a live performance of the pieces. The sets would all be built on stages and lined up in proximity according to the sequence of scenes in the script. This was the first film to assemble modern electronic equipment to be used in this way, and the film brought back Jerry Lewis' original idea to mount TV cameras on film cameras—now known as 'video assist'—to allow scenes to be 'switched' (edited) during a live performance. Of course, the final method of making the film was forced to back up a little; our great cinematographer didn't really want to use as many cameras at once as would be necessary; and the sets began to be too extensive to allow the actors to run from one to the next without a break—and of course, a roll of film in those days would run for only ten minutes, so a total live cinema experience was somewhat impossible. Still, we made One from the Heart as close to that idea as humanly possible, and although the result may be a bit wacky, there is I hope, a charm of its own.

August 2003


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