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The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola

Gene D. Phillips

Publication Year: 2014

WITH A FOREWORD BY WALTER MURCH Gene Phillips blends biography, studio history, and film criticism to complete the most comprehensive work on Coppola ever written. The force behind such popular and critically acclaimed films as Apocalypse Now and the Godfather trilogy, Coppola has imprinted his distinct style on each of his movies and on the landscape of American popular culture. In Godfather, Phillips argues that Coppola has repeatedly bucked the Hollywood "factory system" in an attempt to create distinct films that reflect his own artistic vision -- often to the detriment of his career and finances. Phillips conducted interviews with the director and his colleagues and examined Coppola's production journals and screenplays. Phillips also reviewed rare copies of Coppola's student films, his early excursions into soft-core pornography, and his less celebrated productions such as One from the Heart and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. The result is the definitive assessment of one of Hollywood's most enduring and misunderstood mavericks.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Foreword: Collaborating with Coppola

Walter Murch, film and sound editor

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pp. ix-xiv

It disappeared long ago, but in 1972 the Window was still there, peering through milky cataracts of dust, thirty-five feet above the floor of Samuel Goldwyn's old Stage 7.1 never would have noticed it if Richard...

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pp. xv-xvi

First of all, I am grateful to Francis Ford Coppola, who was willing to talk with me at the Cannes International Film Festival, for reading the précis from which this book was developed and for reading through all of his...

Chronology for Francis Ford Coppola

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pp. xvii-xx

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Prologue: Artist in an Industry

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pp. 1-4

At 7:00 PM on the evening of May 7, 2002, Francis Ford Coppola took his place in a special box overlooking the auditorium of Avery Fisher Hall in New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The occasion was...

Part One: Hollywood Immigrant

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1. Point of Departure: The Early Films and Screenplays

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pp. 7-35

"Hollywood's like Egypt," the late producer David O. Selznick once remarked, "full of crumbled pyramids. It will just keep crumbling until finally the wind blows the last studio prop across...

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2. Going Hollywood: You're a Big Boy Now and Finian's Rainbow

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pp. 36-52

The collapse in the 1960s of Hollywood as the center of mass entertainment in America was precipitated by the advent of television, which became America's principal source of entertainment for the mass...

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3. Nightmares at Noon: The Rain People and The Conversation

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pp. 53-84

Warners-Seven Arts was satisfied with Coppola's direction Finians Rainbow, particularly his filming of the musical numbers. What's more, although the picture was not a box-office bonanza, it earned $5.5 million in its initial

Part Two: The Mature Moviemaker

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4. In a Savage Land: The Godfather

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pp. 87-111

When Francis Coppola first considered filming Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather, he perused the book and found it a rather sensational, sleazy crime novel. But, then, Puzo was not aspiring to create a work of...

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5. Decline and Fall: The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III

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pp. 112-142

When The Godfather became a runaway hit, Coppola's earnings from the film's profits amounted to a small fortune. So he could now afford to move the offices of American Zoetrope, his independent film production ...

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6. The Unknown Soldiers: Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, and Gardens of Stone

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pp. 143-180

Apocalypse Now was originally conceived by George Lucas and John Milius as a film about the Vietnam War when Francis Coppola was just starting American Zoetrope. In early 1970 Coppola presented to Warner Brothers a ...

Part Three: Artist in an Industry

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7. Exiled in Eden: One from the Heart

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pp. 183-201

Although both of the Godfather films were productions originated by Paramount Pictures, Coppola continued to maintain his own independent production company through which he initiated projects, such a ...

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8. Growing Pains: The Outsiders and Rumble Fish

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pp. 202-225

In the fall of 1980 Coppola received a joint letter from the librarian of Lone Star High School in Fresno, California, Ellen Misakian, writing on behalf of several of the students who also signed the letter. After ...

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9. Night Life: The Cotton Club

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pp. 226-244

Robert Evans, who was production chief at Paramount when Francis Ford Coppola filmed The Godfather there, in due course left his position to become an independent producer, releasing films through

Part Four: The Vintage Years

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10. The Past as Present: Peggy Sue Got Married and "Rip Van Winkle

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pp. 247-260

At this juncture Francis Coppola still considered himself a hireling who was compelled to accept projects brought to him by the studios because he was not in a position to originate projects of his own. Still facing bankruptcy...

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11. The Disenchanted: Tucker: The Man and His Dream and New York Stories

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pp. 261-282

Preston Tucker, the maverick automobile inventor who was the subject of Coppola's biographical film, first came to Coppola's attention when, as a child of eight, he saw the first Tucker automobile on display in...

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12. Fright Night: Brum Stoker's Dracula

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pp. 283-299

Because Winona Ryder had had to bow out of Godfather III because of illness, she was anxious to work with Coppola in another film. When she read James Hart's screen ...

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13. The Vanishing Hero: The Rainmaker and Jack

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pp. 300-312

While waiting for his flight to Paris to take off from JFK in New York, Francis Coppola bought a copy of John Grisham's novel...

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Epilogue: The State of the Artist in the Industry Today

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pp. 313-324

Francis Ford Coppola learned during his career that a director not only has to work hard to achieve the kind of artistic independence that qualifies him to be an auteur, but also that the director has to work just as hard to...


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pp. 325-344

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 345-352


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pp. 353-366


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pp. 367-382

Image Plates

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pp. 405-428

E-ISBN-13: 9780813146713
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813123042

Page Count: 424
Publication Year: 2014