Apocalypse Now Redux - Plantation Scene

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PatD, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. PatD

    PatD Extra

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    I just recently watched the DVD of AN Redux. During the French Plantation sequence, I began thinking about "Hearts of Darkness", in my opinion, the greatest documentary ever made about the making of a movie. It shows Coppola during the filming of this sequence. At the end of the fiming, he calls the french speaking cast together and proceeds to tell them that he is very unhappy with their acting ability, and generally is unhappy with the whole plantation sequence, and that it will not be in the finished film. I wonder what changed his mind?

    PatD
     
  2. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I thought this was the only extra scene in Redux that should have been left out. It slowed the flow of the movie - but maybe this was intentional.

    What exactly is this documentary I keep hearing about? Can someone tell me if I can buy it on VHS?
     
  3. HankM

    HankM Second Unit

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    Pat is right, HOD is the greatest documentary about the making of the film. It may be out of print. Making this movie was a wild ride for Coppola. Brando over weight, Sheen stone cold drunk on his birthday, the typhoon that ruined sets, a crazed out Dennis Hopper.
     
  4. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    DOUBLE POST THIS!
     
  5. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    This was one of the reasons why in the top 10 fave DVDs and Top 5 Disappointments of 2001 I put AN REDUX as a disapointment. Technically I LOVE owning this DVD and love this movie, however I was disappointed with the fact that aside from the trailer there was nothing else. I mean why not throw in a DTS Soundtrack, Commentary, and this "Heart of Darkness" documentary that everyone is talking about (which I have not seen). Don't get me wrong, I enjoy owning the DVD, but I was lamed out that it just had a trailer on it and really nothing else.

    Does the HOD Documentary talk about Sheen being on LSD during the opening and really putting his hand through the mirror and cutting himself?
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I was disappointed in AN:R. I think those added scenes should have been left out as they really impeded the flow of the movie. The attempt at humor (Willard's theft of Kilgore's surfboard) rings hollow as does the plantation fling between Willard and the French woman. I don't know, these scenes were interesting to see, but they don't belong back in the film. On the subject of Hearts of Darkness, I'm gonna have to dig out my old VHS dub from the depths of my closet and watch it again...
     
  7. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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    In my opinion, the French Plantation sequence is the only scene that belongs IN the film. It seems like most people dislike it because it stops the narrative flow of the film. It does do that, but it also adds a lot to the movie. The French Plantation sequence fits in with the "journey back in time" theme that Coppola visioned. The scene also tells you what happened to Clean's body. I always wondered about that until I saw the 5 hour workprint version of the film with the French Plantation scene in it. The French Plantation scene continues the tone of the film and adds more depth to it without changing the character of Willard. The scene where Willard steals the surfboard and the new Playboy scene change Willard's character and do not fit in with the rest of the film.

    His character stays the same in the French Plantation scene.
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    ----The French Plantation sequence fits in with the "journey back in time" theme that Coppola visioned.---

    I don't quite get how you figure that Coppola was visioning a "journey back in time". I never get the feeling that this film is a journey back in time. Every time I watch this film, I have the impression that this is a journey into insanity and just when you think the insanity cannot get any worse or more bizarre, another act shows that it can.

    I have to admit, I really liked the quality of AN:R when it came to the technical side. AN:R is the best this film has looked in a long time. The detail was topnotch and the colours were fantastic. I wish that the original cut of this film had that kind of detail and colour reproduction. It it did, it would be an automatic buy.

    The scene additions in AN:R leave me seesawing on whether I want to buy this version though. I felt that all of the added scenes did nothing but explain a few minor details, like what happened to Clean after he was killed and the reason for them to stop at the bridge looking for fuel. One of these scenes, the Plantation scene, actually seems to be detrimental and in direct opposition to what the rest of film seemed to be saying originally.

    Watching the original cut of this film, I always got the impression that Coppola was saying that the Americans shouldn't have been over there fighting someone else's war. The plantation scene with all of the expository dialogue going on started making me think that Coppola wasn't trying to say the war was insane and unwinnable. It started giving me the impression that what Coppola was really trying to say was that if you are going to fight a war, then you should fight to win and the way to win was to cut out the "comforts of home" (ie: the one year stints, the beer, the steaks etc.). You started getting the impression that Coppola actually thought that the Americans should have been there fighting but that they were just going about the wrong way because they were treating it like it was some big joke, while "Charlie" was being deadly serious. Willard's internal dialogue through the whole movie indicates that he is cynical about the war and the generals running it, yet, when he learns that the Americans were supposedly instrumental in creating the VC, he seems surpised. Considering that everything he has witnessed during his journey upriver reinforces his belief that the war is insane, why would that revelation be surpising? To me, you would think he would have thought "it figures...it fits right in with the rest of the fucked up mess over here".

    I cannot fathom his reasoning for reinstalling the "Playboy Bunny" scene. It actually does nothing to throw light on anything, other than the fact that "dumb" and "bunny" seem to go together, at least IMO. I don't see it really adding or taking anything away from Willard's character.

    AN:R is still a good movie....I just think the original was much better and more focussed in it's message. I wish Coppola would do for the original cut what he did for the re-release.
     
  9. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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    Someone should start a new thread in the movies section on this.

     
  10. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    I absolutely love this disk. The movie itself is so damn compelling, that I'm not longing for extras. Like all the great films I own, the DVD only requires the film itself.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have HOD but it will come eventually. Perhaps its rights are owned by someone else.

    My only criticism of the disk (and its a BIG one) is that yo u are not able to watch either cut of the film. Seems trivial to me to make that option happen - I would thing there is a "map" of scenes that could contain different sequences. I would like my regular viewing of AN to be the original version. I found the extra scenes to be interesting.

    As for the Playboy Bunnies scene, the thing I got out of that scene was that base. It was complete mayhem. No CO, no accountability. Soldiers seemed to be doing nothing, even hiding from the combat.
     
  11. PatD

    PatD Extra

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    Brad

    You have to see the documentary. In the scene where Sheen puts his fist through the mirror, it clearly shows that he was not on drugs, but that he was drinking heavily, and that the fist through the mirror was not planned, but the cameras were kept rolling to capture this remarkable improvisation. He did indeed actually cut his hand. Coppola states in the documentary that the french plantation sequence was meant to convey the notion of the boat going back in time up the river. I personally found this sequence to be an interesting aspect to the story. My only question is if Coppola did not think at the time that this sequence was good, why did he decide to reinstate it?

    PatD
     
  12. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    Damn you CDnow for not having my AN:R DVD at my house by now! (Guess I can't complain though....I did get it for free through a Gift Certificate [​IMG] However, I should have some right to complain since I ordered it about 2 months ago!
    Haven't seen this movie in a very long time so I remember nothing, but I'll be looking out for this scene
    Mike
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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  14. Andy W

    Andy W Stunt Coordinator

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    FYI – For laserdisc fans, the “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” documentary was released by Paramount in 1992, catalog number LV83081. One may be able to find this laserdisc on an auction web site.

    I agree this is a gripping documentary.
     
  15. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

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    The BEST part of HOD is when Coppola is on the phone

    and talking to his people back in Hollywood about Sheen's

    heart attack. Coppola is going nuts about the news getting

    out and the film being stopped, he rants that if Sheen is

    dead and Coppola says he is alive, when then Sheen is fine.

    Brondo shows up and doesn't have a clue about the story,

    he will only film for a set amount of time and then takes

    days having Coppola explain what should motivate him.

    They then spend days filming Brondo doing free form and

    hope that something can be put together.

    Hopper is so out of it, Coppola rides him for being out of it. Coppola can then only films in short segments.

    HOD does not pull a single punch. The LD is great.
     
  16. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    HOD blows the friggin' doors off of that so-called "honest look at filmmaking" docu-fluff in The Phantom Menace DVD. Movie documentaries like HOD don't get much more raw and truthful. Rare to see a famous director or cast members lay bare their soul and inner demons for the world.

    I forget, but I think it either won or was nominated for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Academy Awards.

    I have that LD too. It's not leaving my collection until I know for certain it's being released to DVD uncut.

    I'm in agreement that the Coppola of present day should have taken a tip from the Coppola of the 1970's (the better of the two directors) and left the film pretty much alone and just restored it (and presented it at 2.35:1). However, I am glad the theatrical cut and Redux are in my collection.

    Dan
     
  17. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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  18. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Enrique,

    I'll admit I haven't seen Hearts of Darkness in a while, but I don't recall Brando not having a clue about the story. What I do recall is him getting there and Coppola telling him he doesn't have a script for him. "Should we spend 10 days trying to come up with a script and then 4 days shooting, or should we shoot two weeks of improvisations between Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen?" Coppola asks Brando, or something close to that. People are so quick to blame Brando, but it's very clear from the documentary that he showed up to find there was no script. That's not his fault. Also, Coppola has always claimed Brando showed up and hadn't read the book "Heart of Darkness" as he'd promised, but Brando denies that in his autobiography -- he says he did read the book, and that's what gave him the idea to shave his head. Two sides to every story, I guess.

    After seeing the movie at Universal Citywalk (and trying to ingnore the fact that Nicolas Cage was in the audience), I felt the only new scenes that really belonged back in the movie were the brief scene with the guy circling overhead in the helicopter, shouting out weird messages (right before the tiger scene), and the additional Brando scene. I can't really evaluate the French plantation sequence yet, because frankly, I couldn't understand a damn word they were saying. (One reason I'm looking forward to buying the DVD.) But I did think it seemed out of place in the movie.
     
  19. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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  20. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

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    I really enjoyed the new cut, but the Plantation scene went on WAY too long and the political background establishment was far from subtle.

    I did notice something odd about this sequence, though. The boat discovers the plantation in the thick fog. The entire sequence is filmed in a very dreamy, flowing fashion. Then, upon completion, Willard is back on the boat in a dense fog. Does anyone else think Coppola intended this to be a dream sequence of sorts?

    Another clue... the majority of the sequence revolves around Willard, meaning that it could have easily sprung forth from his imagination. The behavior of Chief at the funeral could very well be Willard's interpretation of Chief's personality and dignity. The woman's speech in bed could easily be seen as Willard's conscience as he proceeds on his mission to kill a fellow officer.

    I'd really be on board with this theory if not for one thing... The U.S. flag handed to Willard at the funeal shows up again later in the film on the boat. Oh well.
     

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