We all love Francis, and I think his career is one of the closest to Welles’ in the modern day. Yet, Welles never gave up on making films. Francis has, he prefers to make wine now. I know he has his reasons.
Visionary was battered around about Francis, and he was. Writer, director, technologist, producer, entrepreneur – maybe he just ran out of steam from doing too much, too quickly, and he was way ahead of his time.
During his career, which had ups and downs, he had one period where he was making any film which was offered to him, to starve off bankruptcy when his company Zoetrope extended its line of credit too far on One From The Heart, a little film which cost way too much. Rumblefish is one of the films he made during the period when he needed the cash.
Rumblefish is a slight story, about brothers in a small town. Coppola shoots it like Touch of Evil or Citizen Kane. It’s one of the nicest looking films I’ve ever seen. He also invests the film with far too much emotion for its slight subject, but this isn’t a criticism – it’s the film’s strength. The small story becomes epic, mythic.
The music is some of the best ever recorded for a film in my opinion. Performances by Matt Dillion and Mickey Rourke are dreamy, poetic and right on the money. My childhood crush Diane Lane is great and Tom Waits is in there (along with Nic Cage).
I can watch this film any day of the weak, and it’s been a huge influence on my writing – chiefly my short film Family Style.
The trailer is below.
So, 75 films to go…
Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.