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Finians Rainbow

Fred Astaire , Petula Clark , Francis Ford Coppola    G (General Audience)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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A funny thing happened to Finian's Rainbow in between its debut as a Broadway musical in 1947 and its appearance as a film in 1968. After 21 years, its theme of racial tension in the American South was no longer cutting edge, and the fact that its heroes are a group of sharecroppers called the Rainbow Valley Tobacco Cooperative dates it even further. Add a number of subplots and the heavy hand of a 29-year-old Francis Ford Coppola directing his first and only musical, and the two-and-a-half-hour running time feels bloated. Hermes Pan (best known for the classic Astaire-Rogers movies) is credited with choreographing the overbusy musical numbers, but he was reportedly overruled by Coppola at every turn. Still, there is a lot to enjoy in this movie, most notably Fred Astaire in his last lead role in a musical. Fred plays Finian McLonergan, an Irishman who has traveled to America in hopes of planting a pilfered pot of gold near Fort Knox and watching it grow. Even at 69, Fred shows he is still capable of a sprightly step and warbling "Look to the Rainbow." Another plus is the casting of '60s pop icon Petula Clark as his daughter, as she sings with an unaffected loveliness. Finally, the score by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg includes two of the best Broadway songs ever written--"Old Devil Moon" and "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"--as well as the comic ditty "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love." --David Horiuchi

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:VHS Tape
People seem to either love or hate this movie. And that's understandable. On the one hand we have beautiful cinematography, and some truly classic songs sung and danced by top talent. I LOVE the title song Look to the Rainbow. But then on the other we have a director who can't seem to make up his mind whether he wants to film this movie in the great outdoors (get a load of those huge musical numbers featuring enough people to have a convention), or indoors (in sets that feel like they were swiped from Camelot or Brigadoon). On the one hand we have some great actors Fred Astaire, Tommy Steele, and Petula Clark (I think I'm in love). And let's not forget the at times hilarious dialog ("It's an angel! An Irish angel.)
But what really makes this a great movie is the way everyone involved put all their heart and soul into their role. That and the glorious use of widescreen and color (why this movie isn't out on dvd I will never know).
But again, the switching back and forth from studio set to outdoor helicopter shot feels...strange. And one or two of the musical numbers and do seem to drag (just a bit). And man, the plot of this movie sure is out there (burying gold stole from faery-land near Fort Knox as an experiment?) Some of the characters are a little hard to strange as well (a lovely mute girl who talks by dancing and a Leprechaun who finds himself turning into a human?). But if you can get over the low points (or perhaps just unusual points) and just embrace it for what it is (and especially if you love musicals), I think you'll find Finian's Rainbow to be worthy purchase. Now if only they would just release it widescreen on DVD...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Performances In A Deeply Flawed Film April 10 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Opening on Broadway in 1947 with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (who wrote the lyrics for 1939's THE WIZARD OF OZ), FINIAN'S RAINBOW was an unexpected smash that generated one pop classic after another--"How Are Things In Glocca Morra?," "Old Devil Moon," and "Look To The Rainbow" to name but three. But when talk turned to a film version, not a single studio in Hollywood would touch it: although the story was fantasy, it was also extremely satirical, contained elements that had a decidedly socialist edge, and made one of the most wickedly funny statements on racism seen up to that time. With Hollywood operating under the production code and the nation drifting into the communist paranoia of the 1950s, the whole thing was impossibly hot. And so FINIAN'S RAINBOW remained off the screen for over twenty years... until 1968, when a sudden splash of popular screen musicals prompted Warner Brothers to bankroll it.
The plot is deliberately ridiculous, and finds Irishman Finian McLonergan (Fred Astaire) and his long suffering daughter Sharon in Tennessee, where Finian plans to bury a crock of gold stolen from a leprechan (Tommy Steele) on the theory that the land around Fort Knox will make the gold grow. But things take an unexpected turn when they arrive in Rainbow Valley, where they encounter a commune-like community of black and white tobacco sharecroppers who are doing battle with a viciously bigoted Senator (Keenan Wynn.) And when daughter Sharon is outraged by the Senator's racism and happens to be standing by the hidden crock of gold--she accidentally "wishes" the Senator black!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite movie May 27 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I have a hard time understanding why several other reviews keep saying that the themes to this story are outdated -- wishful thinking, perhaps. But unfortunately, the themes of bigotry, prejudice and hatred are still alive and well and living in the U.S. today (should anyone doubt this, consider that the first successful murder conviction in the south against a white man for killing a black man occurred in the 1970's!) Abuse of power and the overwhelming gap between the poor and the rich are also as healthy as ever.
Sure, there are some specifically outdated elements -- sharecropping, for instance. And the tobacco subplot isn't really very PC nowadays, though it's pretty funny. But what's important is still contemporary.

The acting is marvelous, and the chemistry between Fred Astaire and Petula Clark is very strong, making Sharon's instant infatuation with Woody much more believable than it might otherwise be. "He's just like you!" And Og is wonderfully comical with just a hint of a serious edge, making him utterly loveable. Though probably my favorite bit of acting in the show is Howard's complete non-expression in the scene where he is being taught how to "act black".
There is a plot hole big enough to drive the Death Star through, I admit -- but I choose to see it in a slightly different light. If Og made two of the wishes -- well, you figure it out. I like to believe that maybe things aren't quite what they seem.
All in all, I think it's a wonderful, delightful and moving story and I've loved it passionately since I was six.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly stimulating fare March 12 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Finian's Rainbow has a way of building on the viewer and listener with each new encounter, though an objective study of its merits makes it hard to determine just why. Maybe it's the casting of such characters as those played by Astaire, Steele and Wynn, who seem to embody archetypes woven throughout the literature of the screen. The film certainly has its share of all-out exuberance, to suggest something rightfully sited in such Summer of Love days as 1968. So many of the scenes, too, are of folks with so little formal social structure, aside from that imposed by Senator Rawkins, his troopers and by analogy, his dogs. One often has the image of folks with too much time on their hands, looking for yet another reason to have a party. So it is, into this waiting collection of hedonistic yet well-intentioned expectations that Og the Leprechaun can inspire such furious action. The whole set of affairs is a surreal one, and even ridiculous at times, given a basic knowledge of American pop culture, only the viewer cannot help but be swept into the momentum of the assorted proceedings, both musical and verbal alike. While it may look contrived in many places, Finian's Rainbow's exaggeration is something the soul seems to want, and it is the natural tendency of the mortal man, after all, to be wishing while on other men's property.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cast In An Early Coppola Film
I saw this in the theatre with a parent when I was a youngster and enjoyed it very much. Picking up the DVD is certainly a pleasant trip back in time for me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Movieman, Montreal
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the dancing gone?
My mother saw this movie in the theatre and has the original soundtrack on record, so it seemed a great gift idea to buy her this movie years back on VHS. Read more
Published 22 months ago by kathleen Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Finian's Rainbow
Despite formal reviews, I find this movie light, fun and entertaining. It's one of my favorite musicals. If you are a musical fan at all and have not seen this one.... Read more
Published on April 17 2012 by mrsLG
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the Worst Musicals I have Ever Seen
Let me say something before I go into how bad this movie really is. I am a seriously big Fred Astaire fan, and I can honestly say that 30 out of 31 of his musicals have been... Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by Mark Steven Fisk
5.0 out of 5 stars Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..........
What the....? I thought this was supposed to be one of those musicals like Singin In The Rain or Anie Get Your Gun. Thank goodness it's not. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Melting_Pot
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizzare 60's Musical
Although the story is very complicated, I will try to tell it the best I can. Two Irish immigrants move to a backwoods town of bizarros, in order to bury some stolen gold. Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by HeadbangerDuh
5.0 out of 5 stars an enchanting film
Finnian's Rainbow," is a truly enchanting and magical film. It involves romance comedy and a leprecaun with a pot of gold. Fred Astaire is wonderful in it. Read more
Published on May 4 2003 by Rosella Ann Myles
5.0 out of 5 stars an enchanting film
Finnian's Rainbow," is a truly enchanting and magical film. It involves romance comedy and a leprecaun with a pot of gold. Fred Astair eis ownderful in it. Read more
Published on May 4 2003 by Rosella Ann Myles
3.0 out of 5 stars Really strange musical
Some of the songs are pretty good (Look to the Rainbow and How are things in Gloca Morra) and it's always nice to hear Petula Clark and watch Fred Astaire do his thing. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2002 by Andre M.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite musicals
I love this movie; it's adorable. I never get tired of it, though I've seen it 10+ times. The choreography and songs are worth it alone; Fred Astaire doesn't miss a step (pardon... Read more
Published on July 25 2002 by Wrenn11
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