The true story of a great American visionary who was thwarted, if not destroyed, by the established order, Tucker represents the sunniest imaginable telling of an at least partly tragic episode in recent history.
Tucker’s life and career present so many parallels to Coppola’s own it is easy to see why he coveted his project for so long. Industryites will nod in recognition of this story of a self-styled genius up against business interests hostile to his innovative ideas, but also will note the accepting, unbelligerent stance adopted toward the terms of the struggle.
After World War II, seemingly on the strength of his enthusiasm alone, Tucker got a small core of collaborators to work on his dream project, which he called ‘the first completely new car in 50 years’.
With a factory in Chicago, Tucker managed to turn out 50 of his beauties, but vested interests in Detroit and Washington dragged him into court on fraud charges, shutting him down and effectively ending his automobile career. As his moneyman tells him, ‘You build the car too good.’
Flashing his charming smile and ouzing cocky confidence, Jeff Bridge’s Tucker is inspiring because he won’t be depressed or defeated by anything.
1988: Nominations: Best Supp. Actor (Martin Landau), Art Direction, Costume Design