Friday, January 17, 2014


I saw BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (1984) when it was first released, back in the days when I never missed a Woody Allen film. I hadn't seen it since until I watched it again this afternoon. It's a minor Allen film but a very good one and I found myself laughing aloud several times while watching it.

Allen plays Danny Rose, a talent manager who handles the lamest of the lame acts. His clients include a blind zyxlophone player, a one-legged tap dancer, a one-armed juggler, a husband and wife balloon folding act, a lady who plays drinking glasses, a bird act, you get the picture. His main client is Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), a washed up lounge singer who is desperately trying to mount a comeback with Danny's help.

Lou has a gig at the Waldorf Astoria. Milton Berle will be there and there's a chance for Lou to get a spot on Berle's television special and open for him at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. The afternoon of the performance, Lou asks Danny to pick up Tina (Mia Farrow), Lou's mistress, and bring her to the show. Tina is the widow of a mob enforcer and the object of affection of a minor mobster. Through a case of mistaken identity, the hoods think Danny is Tina's lover and a wild chase ensues with Danny and Tina pursued by two would-be hit men.

Danny and Tina have a hilarious adventure and finally end up at the show. Lou does well but he's decided to dump Danny at Tina's insistence and go with another manager. Danny is devastated, his career practically ruined. He spends Thanksgiving at his apartment serving frozen turkey dinners to his other clients. But an unexpected knock on the door changes things.

Shot in gorgeous black and white by Gordon Willis BROADWAY DANNY ROSE features various locations in New York City and New Jersey as the setting for the film. Allen's narrative conceit is to have the story told by a bunch of real-life comics who are sitting around a table and eating at the Carnegie Deli. The comics include Sandy Baron, Corbett Monica, Jackie Gayle, Morty Gunty, Will Jordan, Howard Storm and Jack Rollins. Full of one-liners, slapstick humor and heart, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE is a winner. Recommended.

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