Cinephiles know that the making of Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal Apocalypse Now nearly drove its creator mad. Over the years, the film has continued to haunt Coppola. It was originally released in 1979 at a lengthy two-and-a-half hours, but that version of the film never sat well with the director. In 2001, when Coppola was offered the opportunity to release a remastered version of the movie in cinemas and on DVD, he sat back down at the editing table and made another cut that weighed in at more than three hours. Other versions of the film floated around, including a 289-minute bootleg version that included footage that was not in the 1979 or the 2001 versions. These revisions have left Apocalypse Now in a kind of odd cinematic limbo; it is one of the most important and influential films of all time, and yet no one is quite sure which version of the film is the film.
What does this all have to do with Dallas? Well, nothing, really, except that to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary, Coppola has released yet another cut of the film which he is calling the final cut, and it will be screened in Dallas at the Texas Theatre on Wednesday, August 21. To celebrate the opening, the filmmakers who run the Texas Theatre have released a new trailer they shot themselves for the film.
In a brief two-and-a-half minutes the trailer re-imagines the plot of Apocalypse Now. In this version, instead of a Navy boat floating down a dank, swampy river in Vietnam, the theater’s staff cruises down Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff. A search for a rogue colonel in the jungles of Vietnam morphs into a journey into the heart of the Texas Theatre, where a mad programmer has taken over operations. The short film captures the mood of Coppola’s movie, the charm of the neighborhood, and the Texas Theatre crew’s wit. It features nostalgia shots of Charco Broiler, El Ranchito, and Home Run Pizza; a shirtless sergeant who loves the smell of popcorn in the morning; and a final, on-stage encounter with a very passable Marlon Brando. Whether or not you want to see the latest Apocalypse Now (if you like movies, you should), you can’t miss this homage.