It's tempting to view Coppola's version of the destruction of a self-promoting American original by the big corporations as a personal metaphor: Preston Tucker's visionary 1948 automobile went the way of Zoetrope Studios. Whatever, Tucker is a visually dazzling piece of cinema, though about as psychologically profound a portrait of post-war American optimism as a Saturday Evening Post cover. Emphatically, this is not the reverent Paul Muni-Warner Brothers treatment, though it does fling period biopic devices at the screen in exhilarating handfuls. Coppola's dreamer is determinedly loveable, surrounded by moiling dogs and family. Tucker (Bridges) also imbues his crew with fierce loyalty, most movingly embodied by cringing Abe Karatz (Landau), who confesses that he got too close and caught his dreams. Even Howard Hughes (Stockwell), recognising a kindred spirit, offers valuable advice under the wings of his chimerical Spruce Goose. The Motown monopoly works through corrupt Senator Ferguson (Lloyd Bridges), and drags Tucker to court, but not before 50 beautiful cars of the future roll off the production line, causing even the partial judge to smile. The cinematic sleight-of-hand parallels the bombast of its hero, but you never get a glimpse of either visionary.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Arnold Schulman, David Seidler|