A mysterious Irishman, Finian, and his daughter arrive one day in a small Southern town of sharecroppers and plant a stolen crock of leprechaun gold.
Release Date: 15-MAR-2005
Media Type: DVD
Rebecca T. from MENIFEE, CA Reviewed on 9/20/2019...
Love this movie but badly damaged so could not finish watching it. I have a DVD cleaner
but even that didn't help.
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Richard S. (richs1141) from MANTECA, CA Reviewed on 10/23/2009...
Very good family movie. My wife and I enjoyed it very much.
Wonderful Performances In A Deeply Flawed Film
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 04/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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!Unlike the 1947 stage show, the big screen version of FINIAN'S RAINBOW tanked at the box office, and it is little wonder: both producers and then-novice director Francis Ford Coppola made a host of very basic mistakes with the material, the first of which was not keeping the film consistently within its original 1940s context; they instead give it a 'contemporary' tone that not only undercuts the fanciful storyline but makes many of the story's elements seem heavy-handed. In the process they manage to blunt the edge of the original in a very significant sort of way. There are also a number of cinematic problems with the movie, which feels awkwardly filmed and still more awkwardly edited, and the film visibly shifts between outdoor set-ups and studio soundstage sets in a very uncomfortable sort of way.All of that said, there is still a great deal to enjoy in FINIAN'S RAINBOW--the aforementioned score for one and the truly memorable performances for another. Astaire is timeless, Tommy Steele almost walks away with the show, Keegan Wynn--in spite of some rather ill-advised make-up--gives a memorable performance as the bigoted Senator, and Al Freeman Jr. is absolutely hilarious in the sequence where he applies for the job of butler in the Senator's home--I laugh just thinking about it! But the real revelation here is Petula Clark. Best known as a pop singer, Clark is perfection as Sharon McLonergan; it is a tremendous pity that she was never again so well-cast on screen. And together they manage to gloss over most of the film's weaknesses; if you're a musical fan, you're likely to enjoy it.A word of warning, however. At present, FINIAN'S RAINBOW exists only on videotape, and while the VHS release is not bad per se, it is also pan-and-scan. Admittedly, the cinematography wasn't much to begin with, but purists (of which I am one when it comes to ratios) will be frustrated."
NICE RESTORATION FOR ASTAIRE'S LAST MUSICAL FILM
W. Budris | Rosedale, NY | 03/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been waiting to see a decent print of FINIAN'S RAINBOW for sometime. Though not an all-time favorite, I do like the score, and I'm a huge Petula Clark fan. Other video versions I've seen were poor pan-scan versions with horrible color and bad sound. Warners has done the film justice. Widescreen, 5.1 Surround and a trip down memory lane with Francis Ford Coppola, the director.
An interesting note, this is the first time I am aware of where the lead actress in the film has dubbed the foreign language track. Petula Clark, being a marvelous singer in several languages, had a huge French-language career going at this time, parallel to her English-language one. Also being an actress from childhood, she fits perfect as Sharon here. However, this is the first time I've heard her French vocals of the score, as well as the dialog. The male leads are other artists (one doing a bad Chevalier for Astaire), but it is definitely Petula in French, as well as the original English soundtrack. This is an absolute treat and collectible for all Petula fans around the world.
Hurray for Tommy Steele!!
Gary F. Taylor | 08/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was neat to see Fred Astaire (I like old movies) and TOMMY STEELE! He was my favorite character in "Finian's Rainbow", also my favorite in "Happiest Millonare." I think Tommy Steele's character, Og, was one of the most interesting. This movie has romance, comedy, and drama. The main male character,Mr. Mclanagan,(Fred Astaire)came from Ireland to America to bury the crock of gold he stole from the leprachans back home. He also brings his daughter, Sharon, along (Petula Clark). Og (Tommy Steele) is the leprechan who follows Mr. Mcglanagan to America. Mcglanagan finds this out after he buries the crock. "Oh, give it back Mr. Mcglanagan," Og pleads, because now that the crock has left Ireland all the leprachans are turning mortal including himself. He has grown so much that by that scene his pant cuffs are above his ankles. Mr. Mcglanagan is too greedy and refuses to give it back. Sharon, on the other hand falls in love with a tobacco share cropper, Woody, Og falls in love with Sharon, and then Sharon, angry with the unfair way the senator was treating blacks, made a big wish on the senator and the crock granted it. It makes a whole mess of problems, because now the neighborhood thinks Sharon is a witch. My favorite scene is when Og woos Susan, Woody's mute sister, since Sharon's already taken by Woody. He thought Susan was Sharon at first, though, because when her back was turned she looked like Sharon: Og:I'm 99% mortal now, and my feelings for you, . . it's a frenzy, a frenzy! Ah, but it feels better just bein' near ye, the scent of the air the touch of your hand, oh the miracle of it, the miracle of it, the sweet, sweet, miracle of it! (He reaches for her hand to put it to his cheek and Susan pulls away startled) She loves me! Her hand fits me cheek! Oh, Sharon you are the only one, the only one! (He sees her face) Wha- but- you're not Sharon at all! You're Susan "the silent." . . yet I feel the same frenzy for you. . is this what it's like to be mortal? Is every girl the only girl? Huh! I'm beginin' to like it! (Then breaks into a funny song) This one of my favorite movies as you can tell!!"
My favorite movie
Strategos | 05/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."