“One From the Heart” is the film that forever changed the trajectory of Francis Ford Coppola’s career. The filmmaker was coming off four all-time classics back-to-back (“The Godfather,” “The Conversation,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Apocalypse Now”) when he decided to make a lavishing musical — one which he financed through his own Zoetrope Studios — about a pair of lovers residing in Las Vegas who call it quits after five years and set out to enjoy a wild Fourth of July with their potential new partners.
Like many of Coppola’s more ambitious undertakings, “One From the Heart” proved to be way more expensive and labor-intensive to realize than originally expected. It was also a major box office flop, forcing Coppola to spend years getting by as a glorified director-for-hire just to pull himself out of debt. All the same, it’s one of the most incredible-looking films of his career and a fitting influence for “Joker: Folie à Deux,” given their similarities.
According to Lawrence Sher, the images in Coppola’s musical “became a conversation starter for me and Mark Friedberg the production designer and Todd [Phillips] as we scouted in those early days.” He added:
“Even if it’s not a reference that you’re going to take on set and say ‘I want it to look like that,’ it’s like brain food. It’s dream food.”
Personally, I wasn’t that high on “Joker.” It’s brutal and disturbing, sure, but much like the Joker himself, it doesn’t believe in anything. You could reasonably argue that’s the point, but Phillips sure seems to think he’s saying something profound as you watch it. Still, these specific musical influences have me curious to see how “Folie à Deux” shakes out, if perhaps against my better judgment.
“Joker: Folie à Deux” dances its way down a flight of stairs and into theaters on October 4, 2024.