Tucker: The Man and His Dream

WHEN THEY TRIED TO BUY HIM, HE REFUSED. WHEN THEY TRIED TO BULLY HIM, HE RESISTED. WHEN THEY TRIED TO BREAK HIM, HE BECAME AN AMERICAN LEGEND. THE TRUE STORY OF PRESTON TUCKER. 

After World War II, Detroit engineer Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) figures he can build a ”car of the future”, but his project turns into an unacceptable challenge to the big three automakers. It’s easy to see what attracted Francis Ford Coppola to this reality-based drama – both he and Tucker are entrepreneurs willing to fight the system. Coppola’s plan was wildly ambitious (could the story be a big-screen musical?), but in the end he settled for a more conventional albeit lively biography. Many of the film’s ingredients are however outstanding, including Bridges’s energetic performance as the visionary, Martin Landau in a terrific supporting part and the period details.

1988-U.S. 110 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Fred Fuchs, Fred Roos. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Screenplay: Arnold Schulman, David Seidler. Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro. Production Design: Dean Tavoularis. Cast: Jeff Bridges (Preston Tucker), Joan Allen (Vera Tucker), Martin Landau (Abe Karatz), Elias Koteas, Frederic Forrest, Christian Slater… Mako, Dean Stockwell. Cameo: Lloyd Bridges.

Trivia: Co-executive produced by George Lucas. Jack Nicholson was reportedly considered for the lead.

Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Landau). BAFTA: Best Production Design. 

Last word: “We’ve faced the same problems Tucker did. For more than 20 years we have been fighting to get people behind our films and fund them. The studios thought ‘Star Wars’ and ‘American Graffiti’ were off the wall. We’ve struggled with Zoetrope, been broke and rich.” (Lucas on the ups and downs of his and Coppola’s careers, The Sun-Sentinel)

 

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