Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen, 1984)
In my illness that is cinephilia I have to admit to have more than one vice. But the most vile of them all is the fact that I am a completist. I like to watch all the movies a director has made all along his career. Even if it is as expansive as Alfred Hitchcock or Ingmar Bergman and even if it was shortened like Andrei Tarkovsky or Stanley Kubrick. When I like a director’s major films I tend to look to his underappreciated ones and watch them and most of the time like them. The same thing happens with Woody Allen a writer director who writes and direct at the pace of one movie per year since the early 1970’s has made easily more than forty films and seems to not even slowing down today.
Broadway Danny Rose is not an underappreciated movie from the Woodman and it just is in the shadow of his greater work of the likes of Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Stardust Memories. Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a career manager of theatrical acts such as a one footed tap dancer, the worst ventriloquist of all time, and an has-been singer named Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). Rose invests himself in his lazy acts like crazy and he thinks that Lou could make a great return and even asks Milton Berle himself to get a chance with Lou. But the thing is that Canova has felt in love with a blond american italian lady (Mia Farrow) and it might ruin his mariage. But the worst thing is that the night when Lou must perform in front of Berle his mistress discover his wife and kids and doesn’t want to go to his show. So Danny goes all the way to Jersey to pick her up and be the beard (cover up) so she can come and Lou would perform.
Like many of Allen’s films of the era, it mixes comedy and drama. Mostly comedy here but the balance between the two is well handled and he gets great performances from his actors. Believe it or not, but I like to watch Allen play, or be himself, on the screen. I like his witty jokes and limited acting that brings an unique voice to his characters that are only possible in a Woody Allen world. He can do what he wants and I’ll watch the movie. With even more interests if he’s in it!
As aforementioned it is far from being is most obscure film and it is a near masterpiece. The superb cinematography by Gordon Willis is outstanding with his black and white that Allen liked to pull in the 1980’s. It is more artsy and maybe pretentious for some but those movies are timeless and capture a great film in an eternal bottle.