Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Woody Allen as Danny Rose
BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (1984). Written and directed by Woody Allen.

A group of well-known comics sit around and talk about the past, and one of them (Sandy Baron) tells a long story about the theatrical agent, Danny Rose (Woody Allen), which comprises most of the film. Danny is a struggling agent who is now pinning his hopes on one client, Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), who had one hit record in the fifties and has been trying to make a comeback ever since. Things are finally going Lou's way, thanks to Danny, but there are complications. The very much married Lou has fallen in love with his mistress, Tina (Mia Farrow), and Tina is coveted by another man whose gangster brothers mistake Danny for her boyfriend. But there's an even worse betrayal in store for Danny. Broadway Danny Rose is one of Allen's best films, in which he portrays one of his most sympathetic characters, a decent man who cares perhaps more about his clients than he should and has a good heart. Mia Farrow and Forte are also right on the money in their portrayals of a hard-boiled woman who develops a conscience, and a vain man who gets a second chance and to Hell with everyone else. Allen's use of gangsters in his movies can be, as I've noted, tiresome, but that doesn't seem to be a problem in this picture. There are numerous fine supporting performances in the movie, but I especially liked Herb Reynolds as Barney Dunn, one of the world's worst ventriloquists. This was Forte's first and only film (he also had two television appearances, playing himself on Billions) and he's quite good -- he was basically a lounge singer and piano player when he was discovered by Allen; like Lou, he had one recording yeas in the past.

Verdict: A lovely movie. ***1/2.


angelman66 said...

This is one of the best, agreed! Need to see this again. I think that Mia Farrow's character is brilliantly played, it is Mia's best comic performance in my opinion.

William said...

You're right; She is excellent in this! Looking back, it's a shame that their wonderful working and personal relationship went to shit in such a bad way.