Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

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flyonthewall2983
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Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:41 am

I personally think that any movie made after the fact that is this dark and yet this epic owes alot to this film.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Faux Hulot
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#2 Post by Faux Hulot » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:57 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Get it.
Two votes for that. The cut is 4:50 in length and a good 45 min. of that is the beach landing alone. Lots of great stuff unavailable elsewhere, and for my money, cuts of certain scenes that are superior to the Redux version (especially the "stranded Playboy bunnies" sequence). Really, too much fascinating stuff to enumerate. If you're a fan at all, it's a must-see.

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#3 Post by tavernier » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:59 pm

Instead of creating a new thread, I decided to add this here:
NEW ACQUISITION: APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX

Museum of Modern Art, October 7 - 8

Originally released in 1979 at 153 minutes, Apocalypse Now earned eight Academy Award nominations, and two wins for Best Achievement in Cinematography and Sound Editing. Apocalypse Now Redux, which premiered in May 2001 at the Cannes Film Festival, contains forty-nine additional minutes of footage. The extended version shows Captain Willard and his military escorts as they journey deeper into the unfamiliar and grotesque territory of renegade Colonel Walter Kurtz's Vietnam. A lengthy interlude at an isolated French colonial plantation introduces a holdout family struggling to retain their genteel, aristocratic ways in the midst of terror, violence and the seeming deconstruction of civilization. The ensuing dinner scene becomes a prescient moment for Willard who preoccupied with his impending meeting with Kurtz can only imagine how surreal that experience will be based on his encounter with the delusional colonialists.

A limited number of 35mm dye transfer prints of Apocalypse Now Redux were made by Technicolor. This processing technique saturates the natural colors of the Vietnamese landscape and imbues Vittorio Storaro's cinematography with a lush, languid and ultimately ominous atmosphere. The dramatic visuals and the intricate soundtrack underscore the operatic nature of this cinematic epic. A recent acquisition, this rare 35mm print was generously donated by Technicolor.

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#4 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Oct 20, 2007 10:48 pm

Romat wrote:And did he really make a lot of money off of the Redux? It didn't even get a decent theatrical release in the U.S.
One has to remember Redux was released (or had been released by then) around 9/11. By then, I'm sure even hardcore fans of the film were affected enough by it to think twice about seeing it.

Then again, that's just my opinion of why it didn't do so well the 2nd time around.

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#5 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:02 pm

I'm not aiming to redo or undo your personal feelings about Coppola or his films-- nor am I interested-- just stating what the flat factual record was regarding his feelings for the deleted scenes such as the French Plantation scene in particular. He hated it, thought it was an utter failure, was not happy with the performances delivered. That's why he did what he did viz this material when he originally made the film: based on some very very strong, near-tantrum reactions to the material.

I personally do not at all buy that he "didn't know if the film was good or not". You're entitled to believe it-- I just don't. Coppola was a very smart, superinsightful man whose improvisational method was part of his genius as well as his madness. If he didn't know how good he was he would never have taken the huge amount of risk that he did. He knew his mind lived in that rarified place where masterpieces are born.. he knew he saw what the greatest filmmakers in the world saw, he knew he knew how to do it, knew he knew how it was done. He oozed a huge magnitude of Knowing He Knew The Deal. He was an old fashioned sort of Rennaissance man, a Michaelangelo, full of gesticulation and interesting turns of phrase and digression.. yet was extremely shrewd and pragmatic when it came to ballyhoo and negotiation. He thrived on having so much at stake, while tottering on oblivion-- it seemed to be part of his conception of what a young, invigorated, dedicated, and very sincere artist was all about. And for him it was 1000% correct because that's who he was back then. He knew he responded well to struggle, to beating odds, to having supermuch at stake. In fact as the 80's came on, a see a progressive dislocation from that struggling persona-- which seemed to atrophy that instinct.

I compare REDUX to the original cut of the film, and, just as I see the young Coppola an incredibly brilliant filmmaker who was virtually incapable of making an insincere and aesthetically unengaging move between GOD 1 and APOCALYPSE.. a filmmaker whose instinct has all but faded from the elder Coppola of today, I see the editing choices in the original cut of the film absolutely and 100% on the money... every single piece that the elder Coppola put back into the film in REDUX, I looked at those in HOD back when it came out and absolutely 100% thought removing them was the right decision. Further affirming the difference between the elder and the younger.

But at bottom I don't even fully buy this as an aesthetic re-evaluation. I truly believe REDUX was motivated twofold: first, for financial reasons. Secondly, for a near-immobilized, once great artist to re-associate himself with his former self, and that self's past glories. But slipping into the work of the younger self is not a recipe for recalling the instincts and intellect.. and heart and soul.. of the former self.

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#6 Post by Belmondo » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:45 pm

Anybody remember Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert getting into arguments about "special knowledge"? An example would be a Vietnam Vet criticising a war movie in which the characters called their rifles "guns" instead of "weapons".
Well, I am a Vietnam Vet, and I feel strongly that the position taken by Coppola at the time regarding the deleted scenes was correct (as described in Hearts of Darkness), and his more recent thinking (on the commentary track for Complete Dossier) is revisionist history of the worst kind.
The movie was well nigh perfect in its original theatrical cut and Coppola's comment at the time was that this was his "nightmare vision" of the war. And it was a vision that resonated with many of us because we knew that Coppola had nailed it; even in scenes that critics derided as being over the top. Think the Robert Duvall character was a bit overplayed? You have my word as a (former) officer and a gentleman that he was TYPICAL of field grade officers who led from the front, were completely nuts, and loved their men. No, we didn't go surfing, but we did have a "pizza chopper" come in at dusk with some goodies. Yeah, bro, it was crazy, and Oliver Stone's "Platoon" was generally more realistic, but the original "Apocalypse Now" both captured the experience and turned it into a work of art.

So much of this was lost in the "Redux" version that every time I see a new DVD offered with the "unedited director's cut" I have an instant acid flashback. The French Plantation scene has more problems than being poorly lit; it simply joins the other originally deleted scenes as being, at best, too much of a good thing, or at worst, unnecessary additions to themes already stated.

In other words, I agree completely with HerrShreck, but since my "special knowledge" of Vietnam brought me nothing apart from the realization that war was not as much fun as all those John Wayne movies had led me to believe, I can do nothing more than anxiously await the release of "Hearts of Darkness" which shows that not only certain war movies, but certain documentaries about the making of certain war movies, can also approach art.

Peace

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#7 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:42 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:every single piece that the elder Coppola put back into the film in REDUX, I looked at those in HOD back when it came out and absolutely 100% thought removing them was the right decision.
Including the new Kilgore introduction? I agree that the rest of the additions are superfluous, but Kilgore's appearance is much improved. In the original film a soldier points him out and Sheen and co. merely walk over and find him standing there. In Redux, however, he comes off a chopper and with bravado immediately begins hollering orders. It's a great introduction to a memorable character, and it makes the original version of this seem limp by comparison. I can only account for the excised introduction as an issue of running time.

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#8 Post by Romat » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:04 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:But at bottom I don't even fully buy this as an aesthetic re-evaluation. I truly believe REDUX was motivated twofold: first, for financial reasons. Secondly, for a near-immobilized, once great artist to re-associate himself with his former self, and that self's past glories. But slipping into the work of the younger self is not a recipe for recalling the instincts and intellect.. and heart and soul.. of the former self.
That is interesting. I'm sure he had multiple reasons for re-editing these things. Your second motivation seems even more plausible.
Because he seems to be revisiting many of his films now on dvd and the ones he re-cuts aren't just the ones that'll make him more money. At the same time he can make plenty of money off a fancy Godfather boxset with loads of extras and leave the films themselves untouched.

I think it's ego or other things, more than "director's cut=$$$$".
If that was the formula, why no Dracula director's cut? That movie was financially motivated in the 1st place, and it made as much money as Apocalypse in the theater. Seems a no-brainer if a recut is gonna make him more money. Yet he re-cuts "The Outsiders" and "One from the heart" instead.

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#9 Post by Dylan » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:18 pm

The French Plantation scene has more problems than being poorly lit
I must say that I actually believe the French Plantation portion is one of the best-looking scenes in the entire film (which is why I'm a supporter of it remaining in the Redux). I have no idea what Coppola envisioned it to look like originally, but to me that's about as beautiful as Storaro's lighting gets.

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#10 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:28 pm

Romat: You're a romanticist viz a viz Coppola. You're entitled. But I can tell you Paramount would have told Francis and Ego, and his film, and his dye transfer restoration processes in 70mm, and Storaro, and IMAX to go take a flying whoooosh off a giant wine barrell if there was not a large amount of money to be made in exhibition, then disc One of Redux, then Disc Two, then Hi Def, then the doc alone, then the doc in conjunction with REDUX, then the doc in conjuction w the Theatircal Cut, then some superatomic collectors box on down the line.

Coppola is a businessman before he is afilmmaker.. at least nowadays. His first film in a decade, and a small one. His monstrous project fell thru-- the man needs money like all big businessmen do. If he cared so deeply about The Art of Film he'd resign his antiquated interests in the atrophied old cut of NAPOLEON and allow the BFI and film history to progress with all full health. But no-- he wants a piece of that pie, and wants it his way to boot, and since he cant' have it, the project is dead.

You've got to understand the way these things work, man. You don't think they had meetings about undertaking this hugely expensive restoration of the film, and recutting, and said "We'll do this for arts sake, and plan a REDUX dvd.. then see what shakes later with the doc and the original cut of the film.", do you? Then the studio said later on down the line "Oh yea APOCALYPSE! I forgot! something like a 'dossier' would be cool, because we can pair REDUX w the original,"... then they realized "OOps, we forgot HOD, now let's put that out.." These staggered, thin releases, each one deliberately holding out on a crucial piece of the pie, are shrewdly planned. You see this on so many titles.

These duplications are planned according to a release schedule, and they make a ton of money. This is why REDUX was done with an inordinate amount of investment and attention. They knew they'd generate a huge amount of interest in the film, which is a beloved masterpiece, and take it on the road. Then put out the first disc of REDUX. And of course the theatrical cut restored. Then the rerelease of both films together. Then the documentary to keep the momentum going. Probably the year following there will be "Ultimate Editions" with the HOD doc with the films and a new documentary about the impact and history of the film with UCLA professors, and Scorcese or something like that (versus the Dossier docs w the participating artists talking about Making Of).

All this dough and the chance to reassociate himself with his past glory makes this a slumdunk for FFC.

Asking "Why not a recut of Drac" is a good question that illuminates my point. It's not considered a masterpiece that would draw masses of folks into the cinema to justify the massive expense of excavating the elements and essentially redoing the film from scratch. The studio probably wouldn't finance an expensive project like this for this film because the interest isnt as wide. But anyhow, who knows if he cut huge masses of material to reinsert as he did w AN?

Yet, as you can see just this month, that didn't prevent the studio from reissuing the film DRACULA in a typical superatomic bubblicious hypo collectors edition.

EDIT: As to the Plantation scene, I find it an utter bore. I think the acting is awful, and the substance of the script (Milius machismo to the nth) just banal. (This is OUR land.. kick us out of our houses and well fight in a jungle.. kick us outa the jungle and we'll fight in a ditch.. remove the ditch and well blow up helium balloons and dangle in midair firing RPG's yadda). I find the Out Of The Mist appearance to signify the fact of their anachronistic mindset utterly banal and well nigh a visual shortcut straight outa The Incredible Hulk comics or something. The pose the whole family is in, the neckerchiefs fluttering in the wind... the opium... the wine... a couple of snails and frog legs and we're off and running!

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#11 Post by Dylan » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:51 pm

a couple of snails and frog legs and we're off and running!
You know, the dinner table scene in the first half of Bertolucci's 1900 (shot by Storaro) looks a lot like the Plantation scene here, plus it has fried frog legs.

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#12 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:57 pm

..and have Colonel Kurtz walking across the length of the table like the kid... whereby it woulda split in two by the time he got halfway!

Maybe Dennis Hopper shooting up a speedball and moaning with pleasure ("Taking his bang with a whimper,") while walking across the table, his bare feet spilling onion soup left & right?

you gotta be kidding me

#13 Post by you gotta be kidding me » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:33 pm

I just find Willard's getting high with the lady totally out of character.

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#14 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:42 pm

you gotta be kidding me wrote:I just find Willard's getting high with the lady totally out of character.
You gotta be kidding me, literally. Did you miss the first 7-8 minutes?

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#15 Post by Belmondo » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:00 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
you gotta be kidding me wrote:I just find Willard's getting high with the lady totally out of character.
You gotta be kidding me, literally. Did you miss the first 7-8 minutes?
More special knowledge (sorry). Willard was a junior officer, a Captain, and all of us got every bit as drunk as he did in the opening scenes. None of us ever got high and his character never would have risked losing his "edge" by doing so, particularly while on a mission.

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#16 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:19 pm

It's quite alright.

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#17 Post by Dylan » Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:11 am

..and have Colonel Kurtz walking across the length of the table like the kid... whereby it woulda split in two by the time he got halfway!

Maybe Dennis Hopper shooting up a speedball and moaning with pleasure ("Taking his bang with a whimper,") while walking across the table, his bare feet spilling onion soup left & right?
I guess combining Apocalypse Now with 1900 would result in the most gloriously ludicrous film of all-time. Let's throw in a little roller skating from Heaven's Gate while we're at it.
Including the new Kilgore introduction? I agree that the rest of the additions are superfluous, but Kilgore's appearance is much improved. In the original film a soldier points him out and Sheen and co. merely walk over and find him standing there. In Redux, however, he comes off a chopper and with bravado immediately begins hollering orders. It's a great introduction to a memorable character, and it makes the original version of this seem limp by comparison. I can only account for the excised introduction as an issue of running time.
I absolutely agree, but I also think it's a more seemless inclusion compared to the more overt presence of the bunny's and the plantation, which is why it's not as discussed or fought over as those, but I believe most fans will agree that at the very least the extended Kilgore intro is much more powerful than the abruptness in original version (which I like very much, too).

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#18 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:07 am

Dylan wrote:I guess combining Apocalypse Now with 1900 would result in the most gloriously ludicrous film of all-time. Let's throw in a little roller skating from Heaven's Gate while we're at it.
Let's just throw something in from The Big Bus too, if anyone remembers that.

you gotta be kidding me

#19 Post by you gotta be kidding me » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:46 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
you gotta be kidding me wrote:I just find Willard's getting high with the lady totally out of character.
You gotta be kidding me, literally. Did you miss the first 7-8 minutes?
Note that he refuses a joint from the crew members once on his way upriver. I don't think it's a deal-breaker in terms of the overall film, but...

Maybe it was the drugs and the pussy - always a deadly combo - that made him lose composure.

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#20 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:03 am

you gotta be kidding me wrote:Maybe it was the drugs and the pussy - always a deadly combo - that made him lose composure.
I'll believe that. I think it's at this point, he starts to break away from the army, and does the mission out of pure curiosity. When he tells her he's not going back to America when the war is over made me feel that he was becoming more and more an island unto himself. The hypocrisy of the war, of going on a dangerous mission to kill an American, the death of Clean, all gets to him. And by the end when he shuts off the radio, he's not the same man he was in the beginning of the film.

Having said that, I feel a bit humbled when it comes to Belmondo's special knowledge. Closest thing to a jungle I've ever been was the time I was in the middle of Maryland when my train was stopped a couple of miles away from the nearest city.

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#21 Post by Ishmael » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:00 am

Mr_sausage wrote:Kilgore's appearance is much improved. In the original film a soldier points him out and Sheen and co. merely walk over and find him standing there. In Redux, however, he comes off a chopper and with bravado immediately begins hollering orders. It's a great introduction to a memorable character, and it makes the original version of this seem limp by comparison. I can only account for the excised introduction as an issue of running time.
I vastly prefer Kilgore's original introduction. The Redux version is just a movie cliche: here's Superman! Kilgore has such a huge personality that to give him a big introduction as well is just over the top. The subtle introduction is a nice touch. He takes over the scene immediately anyway, so why force the issue by immediately telling the audience that he's a bad ass?

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#22 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:05 am

I don't find much of that convincing, but here's something that stood out:
Ishamel wrote: He takes over the scene immediately anyway, so why force the issue by immediately telling the audience that he's a bad ass?
So in your preferred cut Kilgore "immediately" takes over, as a "bad-ass" I would assume, but it is wrong for Redux to let Kilgore "immediately" take over...as a "bad-ass?"

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#23 Post by Ishmael » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:43 am

Mr_sausage wrote:So in your preferred cut Kilgore "immediately" takes over, as a "bad-ass" I would assume, but it is wrong for Redux to let Kilgore "immediately" take over...as a "bad-ass?"
Scenario One: You walk into a room and discover somebody powerful standing around and generating a badass atmosphere simply by his mere presence.

Scenario Two: The person walks into the room holding a gun and stands there, announcing his badassness.

Scenario Two is a Schwarzenneger movie. Scenario One is the orginal cut of Apocalypse Now.

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#24 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:06 pm

Ishmael wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:So in your preferred cut Kilgore "immediately" takes over, as a "bad-ass" I would assume, but it is wrong for Redux to let Kilgore "immediately" take over...as a "bad-ass?"
Scenario One: You walk into a room and discover somebody powerful standing around and generating a badass atmosphere simply by his mere presence.

Scenario Two: The person walks into the room holding a gun and stands there, announcing his badassness.

Scenario Two is a Schwarzenneger movie. Scenario One is the orginal cut of Apocalypse Now.
You seem unaware of the ridiculousness of this line argument. Namely, you wish me to believe that the Kilgore of the helicopter entrance and the Kilgore of a few minutes later are different people (Schwarzengger vs., I don't know, Steve McQueen?) doing remarkably different things. This is nonsense. Redux does not couple a loud-mouthed braggart with a calm, cool presence, as you would have us believe. Kilgore behaves in the same bravado fashion in both introductions, is indeed a consistently over-the-top character. The difference is that in Redux we actually get a proper introduction to the character--one which is indeed in character--whereas in the original cut we clearly come in mid-scene. The latter is not a character introduction, it's incidental.

Your theory of "standing around looking cool" versus "bursting in with a gun" may be true, in theory, but it is not true of Apocalypse Now, nor is it applicable to the character, who is as far from 'silent coolness' in his scenes, including the introductions of either cut, as is possible. If you were to ask Apocalypse fans whether Kilgore was the type to burst in with a gun, or the type to stand around chewing a match, they would choose the former in a second.

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#25 Post by Ishmael » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:05 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:You seem unaware of the ridiculousness of this line argument.
What is the purpose of this hostility? In two out of three of my posts here, I've said "I think" or "I prefer." Let me make this clearer: I'm not trying to establish some absolute and final judgment on what the best way is to introduce a particular character. I'm just doing what you were doing: stating a personal preference on an Internet message board. Is there some personal issue here for you? Are you Francis Coppola or Walter Murch?
Mr_sausage wrote:Namely, you wish me to believe that the Kilgore of the helicopter entrance and the Kilgore of a few minutes later are different people (Schwarzengger vs., I don't know, Steve McQueen?) doing remarkably different things.
I'm not talking about the character, I'm talking about how the character is introduced. Obviously the character is the same in both cuts. I just think the original film's introduction is more subtle and less cliched: it's like he's a human being rather than a professional wrestler. He may behave the same way later, but what Coppola is telling me to think about him in each introduction is different. Essentially, I'm not being force fed the idea that he's a macho stereotype in the original introduction. I may decide that on my own later--and you may argue that that's what he is regardless of how he's introduced--but I find that little bit of ambiguity to be a better directorial choice. Or, look at it this way: if Coppola had introduced him in the heroic pose (like John Wayne's intro in Stagecoach) but then later showed him to be anti-heroic, then there would be some irony--and therefore, complexity--in introducing him as a superhero. But if he's just going to be introduced as Mr. Macho, then he goes on to behave as Mr. Macho... well, what have I learned except that I've seen Coppola repeat a shot I've seen a thousand times elsewhere without adding any new emphasis to it?

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