An Irish immigrant and his daughter move into a town in the American South with a magical piece of gold that will change people's lives, including a struggling farmer and African American ci... Read allAn Irish immigrant and his daughter move into a town in the American South with a magical piece of gold that will change people's lives, including a struggling farmer and African American citizens threatened by a bigoted politician.An Irish immigrant and his daughter move into a town in the American South with a magical piece of gold that will change people's lives, including a struggling farmer and African American citizens threatened by a bigoted politician.
Odd, but lovely
Whimsical is not a word I get to use often, but that's exactly what Finian's Rainbow is. Based on the 1947 stage musical it's part fantasy and part political satire. The plot follows the quintessential Irishman Finian(Fred Astaire in his last full screen role) and his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark) as they basically flee to America with a pot of gold stolen from the leprechaun, Og (Tommy Steele). After an amazing opening credit sequence ("Look To The Rainbow"), they arrive in "Misitucky" which is supposed to be near Fort Knox, to bury the gold in the belief that it will multiply. The small hamlet of Rainbow Valley becomes their home, a kind of Tobacco Road with very poor but very happy hippie-like inhabitants. Here Sharon meets her love interest Woody (Don Francks) Add Keenan Wynn as the villain, Senator Hawkins, a racist Southern stereotype that during the course of the story turns black. Several minor plots weave in and out, creating a rich and unique film. Astaire used to sound stages and carefully planned dance numbers balked at dancing outside in a field and the director, Francis Ford Coppola (an odd choice, but what's done is done) tried his best to meet his demands. Ironically the field sequence, which comes early in the film is beautiful and very well done by the choreographer Hermes Pan, who was subsequently fired from the film. Petula Clark clearly steals the movie. The camera loves her in this and her natural beauty and performance are such a pleasure to watch. Astaire, who was criticized cruelly for his appearance (he was 69 at the time) is as usual charming and no one danced like he did. Francks holds his own and makes a nice compliment to Clark. Tommy Steele's performance rolics between delightful and way too over the top. Beautifully filmed, it does suffer from jarring "this is real, this is fake" scenery but if you just go with it, it's not that bad. The DVD presents Astaire's dance numbers complete and full body (something Astaire always insisted on but was overlooked in the original release) Finian's Rainbow is known now more for many of it's songs than itself as a whole, but it's still very much worth a look, especially if you love musicals.
- Apr 14, 2008
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