Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay: E. Y. Harburg
Release: Warner Archives
Finian’s Rainbow is a delightfully racist musical about two ignorant Irish immigrants who think that Fort Knox is a mystery garden which grows wealth.
From Warner Archives
He wears a ratty old cardigan instead of tails, a battered felt hat in place of a topper – but one glimpse of those agile feet and you know he’s Fred Astaire. The great entertainer sang and danced his last musical lead in Finian’s Rainbow, director Francis Ford Coppola’s exuberant movie of the 1947 Broadway hit.
Astaire plays an Irish rogue who plants a stolen crock of leprechaun gold in the soil near Fort Knox to reap what he thinks will be a rich harvest. In tow are his spirited daughter (Petula Clark), a love-struck leprechaun (Tommy Steele) and a bigoted Southern senator (Keenan Wynn) transformed by misbegotten magic. The treasurable Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg score includes “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?,” “Look to the Rainbow,” “If This Isn’t Love” and “Old Devil Moon.” Watching it, you’ll be in clover. Four-leaf all the way.
Finian’s Rainbow is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s early films. It is a glorious and enormous piece of classic technicolor history. Sadly, once you get beyond the visuals you are left with little more than a series of old songs with moments of racism. It is not clear, watching the film, if this was intended to decry history, as a slice of life, or unintended. This may be covered in the commentary but I had no interest in watching it a second time in quick succession to learn.
The film is lucky to have the cast that it does. Watching Fred Astaire dance and hearing him sing will never get old. The remaining musical principles all performed capably. The script was a dodgy and this may be what pulled the film down.
At best I could recommend this as St. Patrick’s day film, but there are better options. Finian’s Rainbow is a film for serious collector. If that is you it is available, with thousands of friends, at WBShop.com.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 10 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 3 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 7 – Sound: 6 – Story: 6 – Script: 7 – Effects: 5 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 7 – Lasting: 5