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Coppola, Francis Ford: 5-Film Collection
DirectorFrancis Ford Coppola
Release Date(s)1979-2009 (December 4, 2012)
I’ll just get this out of the way and say that this is obviously Lionsgate wanting to gather together all of the films of Francis Ford Coppola’s that they have the rights to and putting them all into one set. It’s actually not a bad idea, but you do look at the titles and wish that some of his other more prestigious work was among it all. Despite that, this is a very good set, and features the first Blu-ray release of One From the Heart, so the set has that going for it at least.
Since I’ve talked at length about Francis Ford Coppola’s work elsewhere, I’ll skip the usual summaries and get into the Blu-ray discs themselves. Housed inside you’ll find four discs, with Disc 1 containing Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now Redux (via seamless branching), Disc 2 containing The Conversation, Disc 3 containing Tetro and Disc 4 containing One From the Heart. By the way, these discs aren’t numbered in any fashion. This is just the order that they’re listed in on the artwork. If you already own the previous Lionsgate Blu-rays of these titles then you should know that you’ll be buying the same discs over again. Again, One From the Heart is the only film in this set that hasn’t been released before, so if you’re wanting a copy of that particular film then you’re essentially buying a 4 disc set for one disc. Unless, of course, you don’t already own any of them. In which case, this should be a great package for both fans who don’t own the films in high definition already or for those eager to see what all the fuss is about.
Disc 1 – Apocalypse Now/Apocalypse Now Redux
This disc is the same as the Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure and Two Disc Special Edition Blu-ray releases. As Bill covered previously, the picture on display is fantastic, as is the audio, so there’s little to speak of on that front. For both versions of the film, you have the English 5.1 DTS-HD track, as well as subtitles in English, English SDH, Spanish and French if you need them.
The audio commentary with Francis Ford Coppola is the sole extra on the disc, which is enough for this set, I suppose. But as you’ll soon discover, the other films in this set have many more extras included with them. However, Apocalypse Now already has a fantastic release with great extras elsewhere. So what you’re looking at with this film, as far as the extras go, is a catch-22. As I stated before, previously owning any of the discs in this set will partially make up your mind about wanting to pick it up or not.
Film Rating: A+/A
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A+/A+/D+
Disc 2 – The Conversation
Probably the grainiest film in this set is The Conversation. That’s not a complaint on my behalf though. It’s a simple observation. People expecting a perfectly smooth presentation are likely to be disappointed. Then again, if you’re buying this set then you’re the kind of person who doesn’t think of those kinds of things as being flaws, so there you go. It’s not an entirely crisp presentation either, but it has a strong color palette and plenty of image detail to go around. The audio options on this disc are unique (as opposed to the other discs) in that there are two tracks to choose from: English 5.1 DTS-HD and the Original Theatrical Mono, with subtitles in English, English SDH in Spanish. As per usual, I prefer the original mono over the surround, but the latter does have some pretty impressive moments, mainly with the sound effects and score.
Extras include two audio commentaries: one with Francis Ford Coppola and the other with editor Walter Murch; the Close-Up on The Conversation archival featurette; two screen tests: one with Cindy Williams and the other with Harrison Ford; the No Cigar featurette; the Harry Caul’s San Francisco: Then and Now photo montage; an interview with David Shire by Francis Ford Coppola; an archival interview with Gene Hackman; Script Dictations From Francis Ford Coppola in seven parts (Introduction, Opening Sequence, The Life of Harry Caul, The Convention, Introduction to Frank Lovista, Jack Tar Hotel, Police Station Ending); and finally, the film’s theatrical trailer.
Film Rating: A+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A+/A+
Disc 3 – Tetro
Shot on digital in high definition, Tetro is probably the cleanest and most detail-oriented in the entire set. It’s mostly a black and white film, but it has a level of clarity that few films like it ever manage to achieve. Blacks are deep and pixel free, and the image is, of course, grain free. There doesn’t seem to be any digital enhancements to it at all either. It too carries an English 5.1 DTS-HD track, and subtitles in English, English SDH and Spanish. The soundtrack won’t be a stand out, and it isn’t much of an enveloping presentation, but it gets the job done.
The extras that have been included are an audio commentary with Coppola and actor Alden Ehrenreich; the following featurettes: The Ballet, Mihai Malaimare, Jr.: The Cinematography of Tetro; The Rehearsal Process; Osvaldo Golijov: Music Born From the Film; and finally, La Colifta: Siempre Fui Loco (I’ve Always Been Crazy). There’s also the Fausta: A Dream in Verse segment and the Tetro End Credits.
Film Rating: A-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A+/A/A
Disc 4 – One From the Heart
One From the Heart makes its debut on Blu-ray in stunning clarity. Being a full screen presentation, this one is certainly not hampered by not being widescreen. It has the look of a smaller movie trying to be a big movie, and the screen format reflects that to me. Detail is abundant, grain levels are even and the film’s color palette is stunning. All of the wonderful backdrops and lighting schemes come across well with a nice even contrast. The black levels may not be as deep and as dark as one would expect, but overall, it’s a lovely presentation of a film that many have forgotten. Audio options include only an English 5.1 DTS-HD track, as well as subtitles in English SDH and Spanish. The soundtrack itself is really well-defined. It’s dominated mostly by score and it leaps from the speakers with great clarity. It’s not a perfectly surrounding experience and the dialogue is sometimes a bit muddled, but it’s mostly by design. Overall, it’s a very pleasant soundtrack with a heavy emphasis on the score.
Extras include an audio commentary with Francis Ford Coppola; an Isolated Score audio track; the following featurettes: The Dream Studio, The Electronic Cinema and Tom Waits and the Music of One From the Heart; The Making of One From the Heart archival featurette; three deleted scenes; videotaped rehearsals; six alternate tracks of Tom Waits’ score; a videotaped press conference on the film at Zoetrope Studios; Francis Ford Coppola introducing the film to exhibitors; the This One’s From the Heart music video; a Stop-Motion demo reel; and both the 1982 and 2003 theatrical trailers.
Film Rating: B+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A+/A+
And that about wraps it up, but like I said previously. Someone wanting an exclusive high definition copy of One From the Heart and/or buying previous releases all over again will be the real sticking point for a lot of people on this one. You can’t beat a nice collection like this though, that is unless you round up a lot of other Coppola titles and include them, as well as all of the previously-released extras for Apocalypse Now. I don’t really see that happening, but you never know. The bottom line here is that if you don’t already own these films on Blu-ray, do yourself a favor and pick this set up. This is a great little film collection, especially for those who’ve yet to experience them.
- Tim Salmons