EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|RAIN PEOPLE, THE (director/writer: Francis Ford Coppola; screenwriter: based on the short story "Echoes" by Francis Ford Coppola; cinematographer: Bill Butler; editor: Barry Malkin; music: Ronald Stein; cast: Jimmy Kilgannon (James Caan), Shirley Knight (Natalie Ravenna), Robert Duvall (Gordon), Marya Zimmet (Rosalie), Tom Aldredge (Mr. Alfred), Andrew Duncan (Artie), Robert Modica (Vinny); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ronald Colby/Bart Patton/George Lucas/Mona Skager; Warner Archive Collection; 1969)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Early personal road movie from director Francis Ford
Coppola ("The Godfather"/"Tetro"/"Rumble Fish"), with arty pretensions.
It was produced by the director's San Francisco based independent
company American Zoetrope, aiming to film counter-culture projects. Coppola wrote the
free-form screenplay based on his short story "Echoes," which
resulted in a lot of ad- libbing.
Alienated and confused pregnant Long Island housewife
Natalie Ravenna (Shirley Knight) runs away from her hubby (Robert
Modica) in her station wagon. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike she picks up
athlete Jimmie Kilgannon, who reveals he has suffered brain damage during a
football game. She drives the simple-minded youngster to West Virginia,
where he's been promised a job by his former girlfriend's father (Andrew Duncan). But the family is unsympathetic to the
lad's condition, so Natalie
convinces him to accompany her to
Chattanooga. Once there, he wants to remain as her protector. Unable to
dump him, the odd-couple head to Nebraska. Here the story gets a bit
far-fetched and ends in tragedy, as Natalie gets involved with widowed darkly lustful motorcycle
highway policeman Gordon (Robert Duvall).
The slight script and the
lethargic pace are overcome by the committed lead performances, as the
actors show their vulnerable side that likens them, we are told, to
people made of
rain: "The rain people are made
of rain, and when
they cry, they disappear altogether." Don't ask me what that means, but
it sounds good! The film's heavy symbolism is a bit too Freudian for
me, but I appreciate the effort to make art out of soap opera episodic
dramatics and also relish the eerie location shots that give the film a
REVIEWED ON 7/28/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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