Coppola-Brando-Conrad - Heart of the Apocalypse
Joseph Conrad's novella 'Heart of Darkness' is adapted here by director Francis Ford Coppola ('The Godfather', 'Rumble Fish') and screenwriter John Milius ('The Big Wednesday'). Coppola makes 'Apocalypse Now' (1979) his own journey into the heart of darkness. Set in the jungles of war-torn Vietnam, Coppola depicts the madness of war using Conrad's novella as inspiration.
The insanity of war is depicted through Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), an army officer gone mad and living deep in the jungle with local natives. A war-weary Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent on a mission to track down and execute Kurtz. He takes a small group upriver, who include (Larry Fishburne and Frederick Forrest). The group first rendezvous with Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) who will transport them to the Nung River.
This is the famous 'surfing' scene where Kilgore and Co. launch an air strike on a stretch of beach while Wagner's 'Flight of the Valkyries' emits from their helicopters, and soldiers surf amidst the battle. Duvall is famous for saying: 'Charlie don't surf!'. He is not worried about the enemy strength or position: he orders them to attack, to take the town and its beach. Nearby in the jungle there is a Napalm strike that pretty much ends the battle. Kilgore's other classic speech here: 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning ... The smell, you know that gasoline smell ... Smells like victory!' (Robert Duvall, 'Apocalypse Now' quote wr. John Milius).
Light fades into darkness as Willard and his crew make their way up the river, in search of Kurtz. The remainder of the film (known as Act. II) concentrates on the experiences of the crew between the beginning of the boat trip and when they meet with a deranged war photographer (Dennis Hopper), who is living with Kurtz, referring to the Colonel as a great philosopher and god-like creature who has great influence on people. Greater than mere mortal men. Scattered aroung the jungle village a severed limbs and heads. Scattered around a Buddist temple. Kurtz's home.
He offers explanations to Willard for his motives and actions.
He is clearly insane.
Willard has to now complete his mission. Kurtz offrs him a machete. The final scene is set to 'The End' by The Doors - that, and a symbolic slaughtering of a water buffalo.
Coppola has made some of the greatest films in cinema history: 'The Godfather', 'Apocalypse Now', 'The Godfather II', and 'III'. He has also made some additional classics such as Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', S E Hinton's 'The Outsiders' and 'Rumble Fish', and 'The Rainmaker'. For 'Apocalypse Now' much of the source material came from Joseph Conrad's classic novella 'Heart of Darkness' and small slices of Conrad's 'Lord Jim', an idea that came from friend and director John Milius. 'Apocalypse Now' received eight Academy Award Nominations, out of which the film achieved two wins. The film regularly rides high on the list of 'Top 100 Movies' of the last '100 Years' lists.
This 'Redux' edition includes an extra 49 minutes of film. Originally cut for cinemas. It contains a new chapter on anticolonialism. Extra battle scenes. Sex scenes in the helicopter following the 'Playboy Playmate' dance scene. There are many other scenes only now available. Long. But worth it.
Fantastic movie - a must see
Having converted most of my old video collection to DVD I was thrilled to find this film gem in digital format. you'll be gripped by the amazing cinematography. I would recommend the director's cut that includes scenes about the relationship between the lead character and his estranged wife and helps you to understand the motivation behind his decision. The run time is 183 minutes for the directors cut and 120 minutes for the cinema version. I was, however, disappointed by the lack of extras, which any fan of this classic would expect to be included. There's only a 20-minute interview with the director and other shot "making-of" vignettes.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Truly Film Noir
If you have seen this only on TV or not at all buy this. The extended
version is better than the short. The extra sequences are interesting.
The second bunnygirl sequence tells a tale of the ironies of US freedom.
The French plantation sequence though extremely improbable touches on a
part of Vietnamese history.It also implies that US involvement in Vietnam
was just another instance of the short term fixes that US policy has tried
leading to the need for yet another fix worse than its predecessor.
The acting is good:the photography better without the special effects that
spoil many recent films.
This film has no feel good factor. If you can watch the Yorkshire TV
documentary Four hours in My Lai you will see a man who really experienced
'the horror'of the conflict.
Apacalupse Now Revisted - Redux Version
Having seen this movies in 1979 when it was first released in Britain and then watched it on TV I was unsure what the director’s intentions were as far as the ending were because the endings were different.
The version I saws ended with the orders ‘Apocalypse Now’ that brought in a B52 air strike that bombed the camp, which seemed appropriate to me.
The Redux version adds 45 minutes material that adds substance to the story and makes it more understandable and enjoyable and explains the ending that is different to the one I saw originally.
The reality of Vietnam can only be understood by those who were there at the time but this movie gives some idea of what it must have been like.
The DVD was readily available on eBay with and was good value.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Excellent film, with a political and artistic view
This is a really good film, and I must recommend it to anyone who likes artistic films or dark humour. I decided to buy this film after I saw a friend's copy, and when it it finally finished at 1:30am, I was left sitting in silence all through the entire credits. The redux version of Apocalypse Now is what its director, Francis Ford Coppola, wanted it to be. Its a lot longer than the original, and whether it is too long is simply a matter of taste. The main battle scene near the start is one of the best in any war film, with Hueys and Littlebird helicopters flying all over, but the film does not concentrate on being a realistic portrayal of war; instead it makes everything larger than life and becomes an anti-war war film. It is beautifully shot with a stunning soundtrack to go with it, with music from The Doors, Wagner and The Rolling Stones all in one film. Buy it!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.