One From the Heart: Reprise (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A couple has a fight after living together 5 years in Las Vegas. They go out and celebrate 4th of July, each with a new partner. Breakup?

May 23, 2024 15 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Christopher Bligh

Plot: What’s it about?

In the early 1980’s Francis Ford Coppola, coming off the Apocalypse Now debacle, decided to find an easier way to make a movie. His belief is that it was easier in the forties during the heyday of the studio system. So he hatched a plan to have his own studio complete with technological advances, creative freedom and a short shooting schedule to get movies out at a swifter pace than most studios at that time would. His first venture was an ambitious combination mixing theatrical setups from the stage on film. With the big sets and the bright lights of Las Vegas, this looked to be one for the ages. This was to be one of the most different musicals. This is One From The Heart.

Fran (Teri Garr) is a window dresser in a travel agency with dreams of getting away from the city of the big gamble to a more relaxing atmosphere. Her longtime boyfriend Hank (Frederic Forrest) feels more comfortable where he is, so comfortable that for their Fourth of July anniversary when she got him two tickets to Bora Bora, he got the last share of their house from his best friend, giving him and Fran sole ownership. This doesn’t settle too well with Fran and after five years decides that her and Hank are done as a couple. Meanwhile, Fran encounters a mysterious man named Ray (Raul Julia) that gives her promises of a song and dance performance across the way while Hank encounters Leila (Nastassia Kinski) and with the assist of his best friend Moe (Harry Dean Stanton), takes a chance to move on after Fran. Little do they know that the Fourth of July ,with all it’s excitement and all it’s promises, is one day that reminds them that it’s hard to move on with someone else when their past reminds them of how much they miss each other and how difficult it is to let go. It goes to show that breaking up is hard to do.

As a film, it’s a curious and ambitious movie. If it’s one thing I know about Francis Ford Coppola as a director is that he is the master of doing so much with so little and here there were some of those moments in this film, especially in the parallel storytelling of the paths both Fran and Hank take through the Fourth of July night in Las Vegas. The sets by his longtime set designer Dean Tavoularis are eye popping and a thing of beauty. There’s nothing like the wonderful sight of neon light on a set and it is in high form in this film. The colors pop and never distract too much from the flow of the film which admittedly is uneven at first but then picks up after a few minutes and stays that way until the end.

It’s not as grabbing as most musicals are. Maybe that’s because it’s an unconventional musical that let’s the music move the story along rather than having the actors break out in song (although a few have brief singing moments). The music, written and composed by Tom Waits, is quite different bringing a bit of a noirish touch to the musical which is evident in the title theme that sounds similar to the theme of Body Heat. This is the first of three movies in which horns and neon lights go well together (the other two being Blade Runner and Brazil).

As for the acting, all are decent in their performances but the real standout is the late Raul Julia in the role of Ray. He is a charming match for Fran and even bounces into a dance number with her and brings that kind of sex appeal that Hank lacked. He also has one of the best intros to a character that I’ve seen in a musical since Richard Gere’s intro in Chicago. The difference being that it’s quiet, beautiful and brings the film to life with the lights on cue.

If there’s one thing I disagreed with it was the ending. It would also probably be the viewer’s choice as well but being that this is an ironic musical and being that it is unconventional, the expected ending would not be the case and a more unexpected one would be more the choice than the obvious. With a movie that borders on fantasy and reality, it would’ve been interesting to see how much further it would’ve gone in Fran’s fantasy. In the end, all the viewer still has is reality and all the fantasies are pipe dreams.

Video: How does it look?

If ever there’s someone who’s going to do a meticulous restoration of one of their films, I think we can all agree that Francis Ford Coppola is “that” guy. In the days of HDTV’s and films stretching (literally) far and wide we’ve got this 1982 film that’s shown in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio of days gone by. But it’s a beautiful-looking picture. Both cuts of the film benefit from this new 4K master and it shows on the most basic level. Shadows are darker, colors pop and so on. It’s a surprisingly colorful film. Debris, dirt and grain are all but a thing of the past. Flesh tones appear warm and natural as well. This might not hold a candle to some of the modern-day films, but this is absolutely the best the movie has ever looked.

Audio: How does it sound?

The track of One From The Heart is remastered DTS HD Master Audio and it is a stunner. The dialogue comes out sharp from all channels as well as the background effects and the music comes out better than most sounded movies of the eighties without the occasional muteness. Even the voices of Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle come out sharply on this track as well as the isolated score track where you can hear the songs and the score without the dialogue. The one upshot of the 5.1 track is that the music outweighs the dialogue in a few scenes, but that’s a minor flaw. It’s very good all the way through.

Supplements: What are the extras?

We get a very robust selection of extras spread across both discs. The 4K disc has new features while the Blu-ray has previously-released material.

Disc One (4K)

  • Audio Commentary – He is a great director that is an even better commentator. He fills his track with some great stories about the difficulties getting the film out as well as the playfulness on the set with the actors and the crew. It’s also interesting to know of the intended projects that would link to this film as well as what happened to the neon sets for this film. Let’s just say a film that came out not too long after in the eighties got a hold of them and also made great use of it. It’s a great track and more than worth the listen.
  • The Look of One from the Heart – Obviously a production design featurette that focuses on the physical look and feel of the film, why some scenes were shot the way they were and so forth.
  • The Cast of One from the Heart – Harry Dean Stanton, Teri Garr, Raul Julia and Nastassia Kinski just to name a few. This new feature takes a look at the actors that made this movie work.
  • The Choreography of One from the Heart – Any feature that opens up with Gene Kelly will have my attention. And to anyone who’s seen this film, it’s a perfect introduction. We get some comments from Kenny Ortega among others. This is a great segment.
  • Reinventing the Musical: Baz Luhrmann One from the Heart – From the man who gave us Moulin Rouge! we get a 25 minute feature that focuses on the “musical.” It’s another great piece that’s sure to please.
  • One from the Heart: Reprise, Restoration Comparison – I love these. I always like doing before and after comparisons and this plays right to my interests. We get a side by side look at this version as compared with the one released in 2003. The difference, as one might guess, is stunning.
  • 2024 Trailer

Disc Two (Blu-ray)

  • The Making of One from the Heart – Features some scenes from the set of Zoetrope studios going into the cast and crew filming along the sets as well as Coppola at work with everyone with great loyalty and not the slightest bit of negativity for Coppola
  • The Dream Studio – This twenty-eight minute look into the dream that Coppola had to return to the time of the studio system with this movie being the first (and ironically the last). It’s looked like a great plan and it was interesting on how Coppola looked to get to the high standards of technology as well as open the art of filmmaking to a wide range of young people including future director Michael Lehmann who represents the only present day interview and is known for going on to direct such classics as Heathers and Hudson Hawk (common with the H movies). It also goes through the budgetary struggle and the end result being less than expected. It also made me hunger for the days that films were shown at Radio City Music Hall. It’s narrated by Teri Garr and it quite fascinating despite it’s demise. It’s also great to see interviews from The Merv Griffin Show and the old Late Night with David Letterman show.
  • The Electronic Cinema – Nine minutes of how Coppola looked to edit films on the same day they were shot using old techniques from the live television days during the eighties and how Coppola wasn’t far off on that dream becoming a reality.
  • Tom Waits and the Music from One from the Heart –  It’s quite a match with the putting together of the material along with the inclusion of Coppola with the occasional song. He’s a unique artist and his pairing with Crystal Gayle is intriguing. (Note: Coppola would re-team 10 years later with Waits in front of the camera for Bram Stoker’s Dracula as Waits played Renfield)
  • Deleted Scenes – These range from alternate openings and endings to more arguments amongst the characters and alternate versions of scenes that were already present in the finished cut. It also gives some insight into what the Radio City Music Hall audience got to see on that cold January night. I think the deleted scenes are very good and I preferred the original opening to the one that was chosen for this cut.
  • Videotaped Rehearsals – We see four instances with the actors and the preparation they go through sans the dressing of the characters and makes one wonder why this movie didn’t do as well with the few difficulties on the set.
  • Francis Ford Coppola Speaks to the Exhibitors – If you want to see Francis gets testy with a question from one reporter, this one is for you.
  • Press Conference at the Studio – From February of 1981 where a video demo is shown on a screen (I miss the color bar under the Zoetrope title).
  • This One’s from the Heart Music Video
  • Stop-Motion Demo – This three minute featurette shows the making of the title sequence and it has the visual effects co-ordinator present day discussing how they used this technique both in the film and the featurette. It’s a cute piece and a good one at that.
  • The Tom Waits Score: Alternate Tracks – This does make the viewer wonder what it would’ve been like had the music gone this way for this film. It’s all audio and an interesting listen.
  • 2003 Theatrical Trailer
  • 1982 Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

Francis Ford Coppola brought us The Godfather (and its sequel) as well as Apocalypse Now. Granted, One from the Heart might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but this new version breathes new life into this classic and we even get a new slew of features. For fans of this film, this is a no-brainer.

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