Picks and Pans Review: One from the Heart

updated 02/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

The previous films of Francis Coppola have never been known for innocence, sweetness or romance. To fill the gap, the director has risked his reputation, his fortune and his own Zoetrope Studios on this $26 million musical. His reputation, of course, will survive; if Coppola had done only the Godfather films, his place in film history would be assured. This, though, is a misguided, unmagical pastiche. Thanks to Dean Tavoularis' snazzy studio sets and the neon blaze of Vittorio Storaro's photography, One From the Heart glitters, but it is assuredly not gold. Set in a fantasy-land Las Vegas on the Fourth of July, Armyan Bernstein's inane screenplay tells of a bored couple, played by Frederic Forrest and Teri Garr. They declare their own independence by having affairs with others—he with a gorgeous circus acrobat (Nastassia Kinski) and she with a Desi Arnaz-type lounge entertainer (Raul Julia). There is a jazzy score by Tom Waits, sung by Waits and Crystal Gayle on the sound track, but they never appear, and the effect is finally alienating, like watching a film while plugged into Walkman earphones. Vincente Minnelli's old MGM musicals often used stylized sets, but he decorated them with illustrious stars like Astaire, Kelly and Garland. Coppola has built a handsome home for a movie, but left it essentially uninhabited. Are audiences to be attracted by their love for art direction? Perhaps next time Coppola can open his heart without losing his head. (Not rated)

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