Movie Inspiration of the Week – One from the Heart (1982)

Costume designer Ruth Morley

Considered by many Coppola’s worst movie and one of the biggest flops in film history, eventually leading to the director’s, and his company Zoetrope’s, bankruptcy, One from the Heart is a flamboyant and artificial musical following Frannie ( Teri Garr) and Hank (Frederic Forrest) 5th anniversary celebrations in their hometown Las Vegas during a 4th of July weekend.

one-heart_14 I can clearly see nothing is clear
I keep falling apart every year
Lets take a hammer to it
There’s no glamour in it
Is there any way out of this dream

one-from-the-heart-4Frannie works at Paradise Travel Agency and dreams of flying off to Bora Bora while lending her vivid imagination to the thematic window displays she sets up while Hank is the owner of a junkyard called Reality.

outsideI’m as blue as I can possibly be
Is there someone else out there for me
Summer is dragging its feet
I feel so incomplete
Is there any way out of this dream

Having met 5 years before over the 4th of July, reality has settled in and Frannie and Hank now struggle with the increasing boredom and disillusionment over each other. After an argument, Frannie decides to leave, taking refuge with her best friend Maggie (Lainie Kazan) while Hank finds solace near his best friend Moe (Harry Dean Stanton) and both decide to reinvent themselves through perms and haircuts, tailored funky suits and enticing red dresses and present new and alluring self-images to new prospective partners.

wp-1486323267133.jpegBecause I know I’ve been swindled
I never bargained for this
What’s more you never cared about me
Why don’t you get your own place
So you can live like you do
And I’m sick and tired of picking up after you

wp-1486321838868.jpegTake all your relatives and all of your shoes
Believe me I’ll really swing when you’re gone
I’ll be living on chicken and wine after we’re through
With someone I pick up after you

wp-1486321952651.jpegI got upset
I lost my head
I didn’t mean the things I said
You are the landscape of my dreams
Darling I beg your pardon

wp-1486321720320.pngWhile Frannie finds the excitement and adventure she’d been craving for with Ray (Raúl Juliá) the dark and handsome lounge pianist/waiter, Hank finds his new idealized partner in the otherworldly beautiful Leila (Nastassja Kinski) who decides to abandon her circus troupe.

wp-1486321792965.jpegSo little boy blue
Come blow your top
And cut it
Right down to the quick
Don’t sit home and cry
On the fourth of July
Around now you’re
Hitting the bricks

wp-1486322237699.jpegYou can’t unring a bell Junior
It’ll cost you to get out of this one Junior
She’s got big plans that don’t include you
Take it like a man

img_2228Everything is over the top and cartoonish and obviously fake. And it’s even maybe a little soppy and oversentimental and corny but it’s a tale of ordinary lives taking place in an extraordinary setting and narrated by a wonderful Tom Waits soundtrack.

wp-1486322737718.jpegI can’t tell
Is that a siren or a saxophone
But the roads get so slippery when it rains
I love you more than all these words can ever say
Oh baby
This one’s from the heart

img_2234While it might not be Coppola’s best, for me, in all its artificiality and melodramatic extravaganza, One from the Heart, is the musical that we, sometimes, can’t resist playing in our heads. We might not be able to sing but once in a while, we just can’t resist the daydreaming fantasy of having our little ordinary life soundtracked and choreographed.

wp-1486322927535.jpegI’m so sorry
That I broke your heart
Please don’t leave my side
Take me home
You silly boy
Cause I’m still in love with you

wp-1486321736590.jpegIn the end, Frannie does not board the flight taking her first to Los Angeles and then to Bora Bora with Ray. She goes back to Hank. True love always wins, or that’s probably the way a musical should end or, again, we like to believe the artifices we see on screen are real.

Photos via


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: