Perhaps best known for his intense, propelling Apocalypse Now, the Academy Award-winning The Godfather trilogy, and the timeless American Graffiti, Francis Ford Coppola is one of the greatest living directors, cementing himself a high-tiered place in cinematic history. Not has he inspired his own children Sofia and Roman to make films of their own (The Virgin Suicides, CQ, etc.) his gritty, unforgettable dialogues on war and seamless adaptation of Mario Puzo’s stories will undoubtedly influence generations to come. Here at EPIX, we have a few lesser-known Coppola films, and for any cinephile out there, you may want to check them out if you haven’t already.
Though it’s rumored that he had his hand in quite a few nudie films, Coppola’s first legitimate endeavor into the world of moviemaking was with the Roger Corman-produced Dementia 13. The Pope of Pop Cinema and Coppola didn’t agree eye-to-eye after the film’s completion, but that aside, it’s a solid B-movie first effort, especially if you’re into the bizarre, haunted family type of story. Following a widow to her husband’s family in their castle, an axe murderer goes awry in this delightfully corny whodunit tale.
One of Coppola’s most recent films is the critically acclaimed Tetro from 2009. Starring Vincent Gallo as an estranged brother living in Argentina and existing as a poet, the story quickly catapults from a family reunion to a chilling family mystery. The monochromatic shots only enhance each character’s intensity; this is Coppola’s best work in years.
Though technically The Terror was directed by Coppola collaborator and friend Roger Corman, he’s listed as an uncredited director, along with the one and only Jack Nicholson. Famous for reusing sets and costumes from other films of the time, the 1963 horror flick featured Nicholson and Corman-regular Dick Miller, the former of which becomes involved searching for a beautiful woman, who turns out to be a ghost. Filmed the same year as Dementia 13, Coppola certainly got an early start in working with supreme talent.
Coppola did not direct 2000’s widely-panned Supernova, Walter Hill did (under a pseudonym upon the film’s release, no less), but he was called in during production to help with editing on the film. Though it boasts an all-star cast including James Spader, Angela Bassett, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Robin Tunney, a $90 million budget, and some of the greatest living directors having worked on it in some capacity, Supernova was only able to make back less than $15 million of that total, and was picked apart from every direction.
Alas, Coppola fanatics, depending on what mood you’re in today, pick the film that best suits your cinematic needs. Here’s hoping that there’s another Godfather or The Conversation type film in FFC’s future.