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Jonathan Reed
Jonathan Reed

Tucker: The Man And His Dream (1988)



Despite helming his "labor of love", Coppola was insistent that Tucker: The Man and His Dream would be his last Hollywood project. He reiterated a long-held dream of his own, embarking on a "period of amateurism and experimentation as a Hollywood dropout".[34] One unexpected effect of the film's release was a renewed interest in the Tucker automobile and a boost in the collector's value of the Tucker 48;[16] in a 2008 auction, a low-mileage example topped the $1 million mark.[35]




Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)



Tucker is played by Jeff Bridges with a big, broad smile and a knack for finding hope even in the ash heaps of his dreams. He lives in the center of a large, cheerful family, with a wife (Joan Allen) and a brood of kids who seem cloned directly from those late-1940s radio sitcoms where somebody was always banging in through the screen door and announcing that he smelled fresh apple pie.


Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1945. Engineer Preston Tucker dreams of designing the car of future, but his innovative envision will be repeatedly sabotaged by his own unrealistic expectations and the Detroit automobile industry tycoons.


This movie appeared on John Waters' list of top 10 underrated films. I was pretty into it in my early 20's. Tucker's Jimmy Stewart-like optimism and tenacity was endearing. Everything is so shiny and Rockwell-Esque. While it's certainly a great technical achievement it's a little too squeaky clean for my taste today. But it borders on self-parody, which is why I think Waters took to it. Maybe it is a little underrated but it's still a Coppola film. I always feel a little cold after watching Peggy Sue Got Married, and I get it a little bit of that from watching this too. Some kind of detachment and an "I don't care" sensation. Maybe I'm just getting tired of men and their dreams.


Based on a true story. Shortly after World War II, Preston Tucker is a grandiose schemer with a new dream, to produce the best cars ever made. With the assistance of Abe Karatz and some impressive salesmanship on his own part, he obtains funding and begins to build his factory. This Lucasfilm-produced film also has many parallels with director Coppola's own efforts to build a new movie studio of his own.


Tucker: The Man and His Dream is an affectionate, but overall slight biography released in the late 1980s. The screenplay focuses on Preston Tucker, an individual determined to introduce a new kind of car to the American public but who faces all sorts of trials and tribulations in realizing his dream. As an underdog in the automobile industry, this sort of drama should have been endlessly fascinating, with many opportunities for grandiose storytelling. However, the movie ends up a mild disappointment. Considering the talents of a director like Francis Ford Coppola, I expected something approaching cinematic greatness (perhaps not the level of Apocalypse Now or The Godfather movies - and yes, I am including Part III), but instead ended up with surprisingly superficial, contrived entertainment. The film is hampered by Hollywood cliches, including one-dimensional, stodgy, old corporate executives and politicians who are only slightly less caricatured than Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, as well as a climactic courtroom scene where treacly, but eloquent speeches by Tucker himself substitute for effective closing arguments. When the court erupts into cheers after the delivered verdict, it is obvious that our emotions are being shamelessly manipulated.


Jeff Bridges stars as Preston Tucker, a pioneer of automobile manufacturing in the 1940s. The Tucker Torpedo was well ahead of its time, with disc brakes, seat belts and fuel injection, all new innovations. The big three auto makers plotted against Tucker, not thrilled with the new competition. A real life courtroom drama ensues with a David vs. Goliath like battle with crooked politicians, bad journalism and a man with a big dream. Coppola put his heart and soul into the making of Tucker, much like the subject did into his car. This film is a fine example of bringing to life a man with a dream who never gave up; very inspirational.


Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) is an engineer designer in Detroit. During WWII, he designed a fast armored car which was rejected but he does earn a small fortune producing his aircraft gun turrets. With his wife Vera (Joan Allen), son Preston Jr (Christian Slater), and others, he decides to build his revolutionary car of the future but he faces savage backlash from the big three Detroit carmakers and government officials as well as a backstabbing board.Director Francis Ford Coppola is all about ingenuity and the underdog. Despite its ending, the movie is upbeat and old fashion in its feel good sensibility. It's a lesser known entrepreneur but it is very much a heroic American story. This movie could have been done by Frank Capra. This is for car fans and anyone rooting for the dreamer.


Francis Coppola had ambitions to take on the major studios and failed.His experience lead him to make the film of Preston Tucker who wanted to make better and safer cars after World War 2 and failed as the big boys of the motor industry flexed their muscles and crushed the little guy with big ideas.The film was a hit with the critics but failed to gain much headway with the public. It is beautifully filmed like a homage to those Preston Sturges films and the colourful Douglas Sirk films.It has a wonderful zippy script and a mesmerising performance from Jeff Bridges who should had got an Oscar nomination.Bridges brings a lot of pizzazz to a guy with big ideas and a big drive. He is ably supported by Martin Landau, Joan Allen, Frederic Forrest and even his own father, Lloyd Bridges turns up as a sinister politician.It is heartbreaking to see such dream and ambitions crushed by government and big industry and it's a theme revisited by Martin Scorsese when he later made The Aviator, the biopic about Howard Hughes, a character who also features in this film.This is surely one of Coppola's most underrated film's and one of Bridges best performances. 041b061a72


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