Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Apocalypse Now - The first and last great 'Nam movie?

Of all the movies about the Vietnam War, there's no greater example than Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola's sprawling epic from the mists of 1979.

A troubled and expensive production, the visually stunning and intellectually stimulating Apocalypse Now still bewitches. Who can forget the psychedelic Do Lung Bridge or Colonel Kilgore's airborne cavalry charge?

Written by Coppola, John Milius and Michael Herr, Apocalypse Now was loosely based on Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella Heart of Darkness. George Lucas is said to have come up with the concept and was originally cited to direct the movie. However he had to defer directorial duties to Coppola as a result of his increasing involvement with a certain galactic saga, forcing him to swap GI's and Viet Cong for Stormtroopers and Ewoks..but that's another story.

For soundtrack duties Coppola kept it in the family with father Carmine twiddling the knobs on a variety of bubbly, whooshy and whoozy synthesisers. In the context of the movie, the soundtrack seems at odds with the era and the action and yet completely in keeping with the otherworldly environment and madness.
A single cd was issued of the soundtrack as a double cd set, which not only contained extracts of the soundtrack but also dialogue from the movie, so the listener is presented with an aural version of the film.

In the privacy of a darkened room with a few candles and maybe a rice cooker bubbling away with the odd incense stick, disc one and disc two will transport you to the steamy jungles of Cambodia.