On occasion, this distance between music and story breaks down, and the conventions of Broadway shows come into play – there's a big dance number on the Strip, with Fran and Ray to the fore, and a fantastical interlude when Hank conducts a fanfare of car-horns. It's in these moments that One from the Heart is most alive. Watching them makes you wish that Coppola had opted to make an all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood musical in the MGM tradition rather than this strange, arty cross-breed.
As it is, with hardly any opportunity to take part in the razzle-dazzle, Hank and Fran become, to different degrees, bystanders in their own film. Never the most charismatic of actors, Frederick Forrest plays Hank as such a slow-witted boor, you're only too eager for Fran to see the back of him. Fran is a much more winning character, but even Teri Garr – one of the most accomplished comediennes of her era – struggles to impose herself.
And yet, despite it's all too evident flaws, One from the Heart is impossible to dislike. It has charm, high spirits, a complete absence of cynicism and all kinds of incidental pleasures. Anyone who relishes the high-gloss, neon-kissed look of Eighties cinema will be drawn to the sheer beauty of this film. Fans of Tom Waits's earlier work will love the soundtrack. Admirers of Garr will be pleased to see her in a leading part when she was all too often relegated to supporting roles. There's even Harry Dean Stanton with a perm. Just don't expect The Godfather of musicals.