‘Finian’s Rainbow’ shines on Blu-ray

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

In his first major motion picture directing job, Francis Ford Coppola took on the Broadway musical hit Finian’s Rainbow. The 1968 film stars Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele, and Don Francks, along with a delightful musical score with memorable songs that have stood the test of time. The movie was nominated for several awards, including two Oscars.

This is the story of greed, bigotry, and love. It’s the story of Finian McLonergan (Astaire) and his daughter Sharon (Clark), recent immigrants from Ireland who settle in a small town in the south. The time is the 1940s. Bigotry in the south was the rule of the day and smoking was not taboo. In fact, tobacco plays a big part of the story.

Finian left Ireland with a pot of gold he stole from a leprechaun named Og (Steele). Unbeknownst to Finian, without his pot of gold Og is slowly becoming mortal. The leprechaun follows Finian and Sharon to America to regain his gold and return to being a leprechaun. But Finian has buried it and won’t return it until he makes more gold. Foolishly believing that by burying it close to Fort Knox, his wealth will grow.

In the meantime, Sharon meets Woody (Francks), who, along with his partner Howard (Al Freeman Jr.), is developing a menthol-flavored tobacco. They are in their own search for wealth. The trouble is, the tobacco won’t burn. Then it won’t smoke. Without this new product, the town will be taken over by the local politician, Senator Rawkins (Keenan Wynn), the utmost bigot.

As all of this is going on, everyone is upset with the bigotry of the senator and the officials. Sharon vocally wishes he was black, and unbeknownst to her, she was standing on the ground where the crock of gold was buried when she shouted at him. Poof. The senator becomes a black man. The pot grants 3 wishes, and, well, that was the first. Two more to go.

As the story unfolds and the senator learns about bigotry first hand, Sharon and Woody fall in love, Finian anxiously awaits his big fortune, and Og turns mortal which means he has feelings. The delightful score will have viewers humming throughout the film. If you don’t already have the soundtrack, after watching this film you will most likely buy it.

“How Are Things in Glocca Mora?” “Look to the Rainbow,” “If This Isn’t Love,” “Old Devil Moon,” “When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love,” and other great songs play throughout the film.

Finian’s Rainbow is a delightful musical, albeit a bit dated. Nevertheless, it will leave viewers singing and smiling when the final credits roll.

The bonus feature is an introduction and commentary by Coppola. He discusses making the film and the reason why there is an introduction and intermission. The movie was originally shown as a “road show” which meant it was a special event and something more than a simple movie. The history of Hollywood and the film play out as the director talks about Finian’s Rainbow.

Finain’s Rainbow is rated G and is part of the Warner Archive Collection. It can be ordered at their website.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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