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FINIAN’S RAINBOW

Director: FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA

U.S.A. • 1968 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 144 MIN


CELEBRATIONS, FRANCIS COPPOLA’S UNDERRATED MUSICAL DRAWS ON IRISH MYTHOLOGY FOR ANOTHER OF HIS EXPLORATIONS OF AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN DREAM.
Irish emigrant Finian (Fred Astaire) and his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark) journey to America with a pot of gold stolen from a leprechaun. They pitch up in Rainbow Valley, a rural co-operative near Fort Knox that’s inhabited by black and white farmers and a redneck sheriff. There is intrigue involving taxes, a couple of romances, race relations, and the pot of gold. Rainbow Valley embodies the utopia promised by the American dream, and by the genre of the musical, which has long been concerned with evoking this dimension of American ideology. Yet this utopia coexists with the rabid racism of the Deep South setting and is shown from the beginning to be dependent on economics. The presence of gold in Rainbow Valley puts the inhabitants in a position to live off credit and indulge in an orgy of consumerism.
Equally intriguing is the role of Glocca Morra in the film, the subject of one of its hit songs. At first, Glocca Morra is where Sharon and Finian have come from, but at the end, when Finian leaves Sharon and her new husband, he is heading for a mythical Glocca Morra of the future. As the song ‘Look to the Rainbow’ makes explicit, utopia is always to be found somewhere else. It would be wrong to imply that all this works out as a coherent allegory in Finian’s Rainbow, but much of it is implied in the warm musical sensuousness of Coppola’s lovely film.

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