Francis Ford Coppola's magnum opus Apocalypse Now was ladened with problems and difficulties before and after filming. These problems ranged from those having to do with the cast and crew, to those having to do with the circumstances surrounding the filming, to those having to do with the script, to those dealing in direct regard to the very sanity of all of those involved with Apocalypse Now. Despite the myriad of problems that contributed to this acclaimed film's failure, Apocalypse Now still became a success in its own right, and a true classic by any director's standards.
Joseph Conrad's 1902 novel Heart Of Darkness is the striking story of Captain Marlow, an English ship captain who is sent into Africa to track down and collect the debts of an ivory trader identified as Mister Kurtz, a man who may or may not have gone insane along his eventful journey (Conrad). In this novel Marlow is faced with treachery from the Company, hostile as well as friendly natives, and the impending meeting with Kurtz himself. Marlow becomes obsessed with meeting Kurtz and communicating with him after reading the personal history of the man, and hearing all the remarkable stories about Kurtz told by Englishmen and Africans alike (Conrad). This fascinating story is the one that inspired original screenwriter John Milius to write the first drafts of Apocalypse Now in 1969 (Behr). Orson Welles originally planned to write, direct, and star in his own version of Heart Of Darkness back in 1939 (Behr). The problem arose when the Mercury movie company pulled out of the project citing Welles' inability to keep the film to be within their strict budget (Virtanen). Welles decided to give up on the project and decid...
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... all signs pointed to Apocalypse Now's sure failure, that failure never came. Francis Ford Coppola not only did not receive the "F" he assured himself that he would, he created a film that is uniquely his, and that remains loyal to its many parents, but also reflects Coppola's inner self unlike any other artists mirror.
Behr, Fax (Writer, Director), & Hickenlooper, George (Writer, Director). 1992. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse [Film]. Showtime/ Paramount.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer. 1986. Buccaneer Books, inc. Cutchogue, NY.
Coppola, Francis Ford (Director, Co-author). 1979. Apocalypse Now [Film]. American Zoetrope/ United Artists.
Virtanen, Panu S. (1997). Apocalypse Now Tribute Page. Retrieved July 2nd, 1997 from the World Wide Web: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/9067/apocal.html.
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