Francis Ford Coppola adapts Finian's Rainbow from a popular musical that originally appeared in 1947. It is a film that you feel cannot help but appeal, from its opening with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark seen against a montage of gorgeously photographed famous American landscapes (even if Coppola was refused location shoot money and inserted them after going AWOL from the studio lot and taking a camera with him around the Napa Valley area). Unfortunately, Finian's Rainbow also remains resolutely unmoving. It writes its feelings bolder and larger than life in the way musicals do and in so doing becomes so predictable there is no room for any finesse or subtlety one simply loses interest in the film when you see every part of it falling into place. Neither the songs, nor the choreography are anything special, although all the dancing through the countryside is at least conducted with enough spacious camerawork and energy that it sometimes manages to work off on the audience.
Fred Astaire, clearly cast for wily likeability and wangling bowlegged fluidity more than any ability to deliver a convincing Irish accent, appears to be having a good deal of fun. Tommy Steele, a minor British pop star of the 1960s, overacts horrendously, while at the other end Petula Clark, another (better known) British pop star, seems as flat and detached from her acting as she is from any emotion in her singing (although she, along with Fred Astaire, both received Golden Globe nominations for their roles).
Most interestingly, the film serves as a melting pot of cultural influences. Sometimes it is ungainly at doing so particularly in seeing traditional Irish music as played by a brassy light orchestra but nonetheless delivers an appealing revue culled from areas as diverse as the musical to Irish traditional, gospel and barbershop.
Francis Ford Coppolas other films of genre interest are: the re-edited Russian sf film Battle Beyond the Sun (1963), the psycho-thriller Dementia 13/The Haunted and the Hunted (1963), the time travel film Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), the stylish Bram Stokers Dracula (1992), Youth Without Youth (2007) about a man who is miraculously rejuvenated, and the ghost story/vampire film Twixt (2011). Coppola has also produced work within the genre from George Lucass debut feature THX 1138 (1971), the alien visitor tv movie The People (1972), the ghost story Haunted (1995), the tv mini-series White Dwarf (1995) set on an alien world, Andrei Konchalovskis epic mini-series version of The Odyssey (1997), the X Files ripoff tv series First Wave (1998), the Hawaiian supernatural revenge film Lanai-Loa: The Resurrection (1998), Agnieszka Hollands Catholicism and miracles drama The Third Miracle (1999), Victor Salvas Jeepers Creepers (2001) and Jeepers Creepers II (2003), and the eccentric Hal Hartley monster movie No Such Thing (2001).