The Films of Petula Clark
Finian's Rainbow
Released October 9, 1968 [US]
Musical - 141 minutes


SYNOPSIS:
Twenty years after its opening on Broadway, the musical FINIANíS RAINBOW made its debut on film thanks to Francis Ford Coppola. The movie stars Fred Astaire as Irishman Finian McLonergan, who steals a pot of gold from the leprechaun Og (Tommy Steele) and, with his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark), brings it to Rainbow Valley in the fictional southern state of Missitucky. Sharecropper Woody Mahoney (Don Francks) and the rest of the community of Rainbow Valley are fighting to keep their land and tobacco crop away from the greedy, racist hands of Senator Billboard Rawkins (Keenan Wynn) and his assistant, Buzz Collins (Ronald Colby). Ogís magical pot of gold causes more trouble than good when Sharonís wish that the senator would know what itís like to be black comes true. The rest of the potís wishes are quickly used up trying to undo the trouble. The hit song "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" is one of the highlights from the musical score. This was Fred Astaireís last full-length musical, and he is a delight to watch.
CAST:

Fred Astaire
Petula Clark
Tommy Steele
Don Francks
Keenan Wynn
Barbara Hancock
Al Freeman Jr.
Ronald Colby
Dolph Sweet
Wright King
Louis Silas


.....Finian McLonergan
.....Sharon McLonergan
.....Og the Leprechaun
.....Woody Mahoney
.....Senator Billboard Rawkins
.....Susan the Silent
.....Howard
.....Buzz Collins
.....Sheriff
.....District Attorney
.....Henry

Press book

FILM NOTES:
  • Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  • Written by E.Y. Harburg & Fred Saidy (also play)
  • Filmed at Warner Brothers Studios
  • The film was nominated for an Academy Award in two categories:
    -Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation)
    -Best Sound
  • Petula was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy
  • Trailer

SOUNDTRACK:
  • "Look To The Rainbow /How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"
    Sung by Petula Clark
  • "This Time of The Year"
    Sung by Al Freeman, Jr. and chorus
  • "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"
    Sung by Petula Clark
  • Look To The Rainbow"
    Sung by Fred Astaire and Petula Clark
  • "Old Devil Moon"
    Sung by Don Francks and Petula Clark
  • "Something Sort of Grandish"
    Sung by Tommy Steele and Petula Clark
  • "If This Isn't Love"
    Sung by Don Francks, Petula Clark and chorus
  • "That Great Come-And-Get-It Day"
    Sung by Don Francks, Petula Clark and Chorus
  • "When The Idle Poor Become The Idle Rich"
    Sung by Fred Astaire and chorus
  • "Rain Dance Ballet"
  • "The Begat"
    Sung by Keenan Wynn and Gospel Trio
  • "When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love"
    Sung by Tommy Steele



LP soundtrack




Radio Interview

PROMOTIONAL TAG LINES
  • If all you want out of a movie is a great, big, wonderful time - just follow the rainbow - whistle the songs - and join in the fun.
  • Let yourself glow.
  • Quotable quote:   "Fairyland was never like this!"

REVIEW EXCERPTS:
  • This pretentious whimsy defeated Francis Coppola--though he tries valiantly, he sinks the movie with stolid action sequences and gushy lyrical effects. It's Fred Astaire's last musical and a sorry farewell. The story, of a leprechaun and a southern senator who turns up in blackface, dated horribly in the long interim between the Broadway run and the screen mounting, but the Lerner and Lane score remains catchy despite the moldy book. With too much of Tommy Steele, Don Francks, and Keenan Wynn, and not enough of Petula Clark, who had every right to a distinguished career in musicals (1968).
    Dave Kehr - The Chicago Reader

  • Laser Disc Review      Its score is intoxicating, its direction superb, and its peerless star was poignantly featured in what was clearly yet effectively a swan song performance, but Finian's Rainbow fell into the musical black hole of the late sixties that was created by the weighty popularity of The Sound of Music. It is sometimes difficult to convince people they should see the movie at all, let alone suggest that it contains as much magic as the best musicals ever to come out of Hollywood.
          The movie was directed by Francis Ford Coppola as a widescreen film and certainly requires letterboxing to transmit its splendors. As we pointed out in our review of Mame, it is difficult to pull off big dance numbers outdoors, but Coppola does it consistently and with considerable success, never allowing the backgrounds to overwhelm the dancers, but never moving in so close to the dancers that the backgrounds could be mistaken for sets. The framing and setting is ideal for Fred Astaire as well, because he can exercise his talent without worrying about a precise delivery. One number, however, is more effective on the scanned-and-cropped version and can even be used as an example of the few advantages cropping sometimes provides. When it is cropped, the Don Francks and Petula Clark number, "Old Devil Moon," changes from a standard romantic duet to an intimate and passionate ballad, with the faces of the stars filling the screen so tightly they seem unable to draw away from one another. It may not be what Coppola intended, but it was what made us first fall in love with the film in the first place.
    Doug Pratt- DVDLaser.com

  • Whimsical Burton Lane-E. Y. Harburg musical fantasy about racial injustice was ahead of its time in the late '40s on Broadway, embarrassingly dated 20 years later, but Coppola and an attractive cast work wonders with it in this imaginatively filmed, widescreen winner--perhaps the best movie musical of its era. Harburg's lyrics remain elegant and witty, and Astaire is fun as the transplanted Irishman whose leprechaun comes to life in the American South. Try to see it in a theater. Panavision.
    Leonard Maltin


    French poster

    American poster


  • Miss Clark invites no comparisons, bringing to her interpretation of Sharon her own distinctive freshness and form of delivery. There are those moments when she appears a trifle too sophisticated to be clogging up and down the hillsides or to be the product of rural birth, but they are dispelled when she fights her way through directorial obstructions with Don Francks through the bewitching "Old Devil Moon," cavorts through "If This Isn't Love" with the ensemble or caresses into ownership the standout "How Are Things in Glocca Mona." "Look to the Rainbow" replaces an overture and becomes a rapturous, if unsteadily focused, journey across America by Miss Clark and Astaire.
    John Mahoney, Hollywood Reporter, October 9, 1968

  • Fred Astaire and Petula Clark star in writer Joseph Landon's maiden film production, in which young director Francis Ford Coppola and vet choreographer Hermes Pan have worked capably to sustain a light, pastoral musical fantasy. . Miss Clark. in her American film debut, has a winsome charm which comes through despite a somewhat reactive role.
    Wanda Hale, New York Daily News, date unknown

    The screen version of Finian's Rainbow is a disappointment, especially to those of us who saw and cherished the musical in its first go-round 21 years ago at the 46 Street Theater. Overproduction is the culprit... Astaire's dancing partner is Petula Clark. Finian's daughter, Sharon. As the transplanted colleen. not as sure as her father of finding happiness in this land of gold, Miss Clark gives a good performance and she sings the beautiful songs like a nightingale.
    Variety, October 9, 1968

  • Considering what Francis Ford Coppola was working with in Finian's Rainbow - a socially conscious whimsy fantasy operatta - he has done pretty well, or probably as well as could be done short of rethinking the whole thing, and then it would hardly be Finian's Rainbow... Petula Clark is lovely in her first big number though the spectres of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy hover over her duets with the stolid Don Francks.
    Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, October 19, 1968

  • But the terrible truth is that Finian's folklore was always fake, its sentiments always bogus, its social consciousness always a clumsy embarrassment, and we always knew it. This is not to deny the show its enduring charms and several new ones as well. Petula Clark looks lovely as Finian's daughter and sings beautifully, with an occasional startling reference to the phrasing and timbre of Ella Logan's original performance.
    Joseph Morgenstern, Newsweek, October 21, 1968