Director's Influence on Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Director's Influence on Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Francis Ford Coppola's original vision for this film was a musical, but after setbacks he found his way to creating a picture that is an ode to Frank Capra films. This was George Lucas' suggestion for the style of the film which Coppola took to. This style was about the American Dream. That anything was possible. And this is what you feel in this film, the possibility. Tucker himself is a man of great charisma and energy. But we see that he keeps this going in himself day after day. Thus the element of creating a character that embodied the American Dream was critical to the story coming to life on screen.

Technically Coppola uses a very distinct imagery motif throughout the film. We see him transition from one location to another location with the pan of the camera. First it's when Tucker flips his hat from the dining room table into the factory, i.e. the dream becoming reality. Then we see a photograph of a group of men fall to the bedroom floor before we enter the room with these men. A picture becoming flesh and blood. And we watch as Abe calls Tucker to tell him not to come home. The camera pans from a diner with Abe to Tucker's location. It shows how innovation (of the telephone) has connected us. How photographs have changed the way we view the world and how a dream can become reality. They are all used very specifically by Coppola in order to further enhance the themes of the film.

We also watch Coppola use imagery to show what is happening inside of his characters. One example of this is when Abe admits that he was in prison for fraud to Tucker. Coppola uses the corner of the Tucker factory to create a crossroads for the men. With Abe walking off screen left he has condemned himself, but Tucker stays at the fulcrum and thus this shows that he hasn't yet chosen one way or the other regarding the character of Abe.

Lastly, Coppola creates a satirical style film that transitions into realism in the courtroom scenes. The satire makes it all seem like it's too wild to be true. But, that is the point of Tucker's dream, that it was wild and innovative and felt almost absurd. That is until he did it. Cinematically, the picture says just this, that it always seems to be impossible until it is done.

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