Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Broadway Danny Rose

Broadway Danny Rose; Comedy, USA, 1984; D: Woody Allen, S: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte

A group of people are dining in an restaurant and talking about the life of manager Danny Rose: after a lot of unsuccessful clients, Danny finally got lucky with Lou, a forgotten Italian middle aged singer. Although Lou wasn't popular when Danny started arranging his career, a wave of nostalgia hit the period and he became more and more famous. One day, before a major singing act, Lou tells Danny he wants to see his ex girlfriend Tina again. Danny goes to Tina's apartment to try to talk her into attending the show, but she refuses. He follows her to a party where a few mafia members mistake him for Tina's lover so they decide to eliminate them both. After they kidnap them on the street and place in an empty apartment, the two of them manage to escape and attend Lou's act. Then Lou finds another manager, but Tina falls in love with Danny.

Filmed between excellent "Zelig" and the masterwork "Hannah and Her Sisters", Allen's comedy "Broadway Danny Rose" leaves a pale impression compared to those two. Leaving the strange decision to film the story in black and white aside, Allen made the biggest mistake by writing such a thin screenplay; the first third of the story is boring and almost none of the gags seem to work, in the second the film starts to come alive to finally become amusing and interesting in the last third, queueing the only three excellent jokes near the end, among them being the one in which Danny becomes so sick on a ship that he starts "feeling his lunch from the 1956". Obviously, by incorporating mafia members into the chase subplot, the author wanted to take a fresh departure from his demanding comedies, even though it wasn't his terrain. When he makes a brilliant film, it overshadows Allen's caprice, like his constant casting of his lovers in the main role or his nervous moves, but here those caprices were not masked at all. Allen was nominated for an Oscar almost every year during that period, and here he scored a nod for best screenplay and direction in 1984, but more for credit than for a shaky comedy with little stand out virtues. Judging by that, "Ghostbusters" should have been nominated for best picture.


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