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4.5 out of 5 stars
Broadway Danny Rose [DVD]
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VINE VOICEon 28 March 2007
One of Woody Allen's finest films and a personal favourite of mine, this is a beautifully understated tale of an everyman talent agent and his relationships with his endless line of spectacularly awful theatrical acts. Danny Rose is played with a baffled kind of innocence by Allen in what is probably his most sympathetic role as a bumbling loser. And he is excellent, toning down his usually caustic barbs (fret not, there're still some belters) in order to bring out the sweetness of Rose's nature. Mia Farrow enjoys one of her best Woody-written roles as the sharp-tongued moll of Nick Apollo Forte's alcoholic lounge singer, bringing considerable warmth to a character that may have eluded other actresses. Forte himself brings presence and heart to the film, deserving all he brings on himself and yet somehow never turning you against him.

It has always been a strength of Allen's that his characters can still draw you in, even if they are fundamentally unlikeable or shallow. This fits in well with the bittersweet tone of 'Broadway Danny Rose' that has a ominous message of lost hope and dreams behind the humour. The final scene between Allen and Farrow at Rose's squalid flat is one of the best I have ever seen, with hardly a word passing from their lips and still managing to make you ache with a contrast of feeling. The banter of the coffee shop comedians is also a clever touch, with Rose clearly considered an example of failure, yet is spoken of with warmth and appreciation.

For me, this film is a meditation on ambition and the repercussions of chasing your dreams. No-one gets what they want, in the way that they want it but all are affected in the pursuit of something better.
33 Comments| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 October 2017
Very funny, I love Woody Allen especially his early films
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on 10 July 2017
One of his best.
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on 23 July 2017
Classic Allen!
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on 14 March 2017
This film on Blu-ray completely blew me away, partly because of the B&W cinematography which I imagined in my ignorance to have been by Carlo Di Palma- but it was actually Gordon Willis. One reason I made that error was because this film to my mind was so Fellini!
What make some of Woody Allen's films a bit lame, are the superfluous un-funny rants and dialogues which in this film are restrained and under control. The other thing that does not work in Woody Allen is the sloppy way he directs hard action chase sequences, again in this film these are done in an Italian style; this works well for me. I would even say this is actually Woody Allen's best film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 January 2017
On the surface and for nearly all the movie, Woody Allen’s 1984 comedy looks like, feels like and is a hilarious tale told retrospectively in a New York delicatessen by a professional comic to his fellow comedians, reminiscing about a hard-working Broadway theatrical agent called Danny Rose, played by Allen with his customary boundless energy and rapid-fire delivery. With an almost paternal benevolence Danny Rose supports a small number of struggling acts which include a blind xylophonist, a balloon folder, a wine-glass musician, piano-playing birds and Lou Canova – an overweight, middle-aged has-been crooner with a drinking problem. This convoluted tale concerns the latter and a potentially break-through gig. The pace of the movie is unrelenting as Danny finds himself unfortunately embroiled with a mafia family after discovering that Lou has been adulterously dating the girlfriend of a New Jersey wise guy. As the narrative becomes more absurd and preposterous Danny’s humanity and optimism shines through but when his loyalty and trust is betrayed it comes with a palpable jolt, as Allen’s genius as a film maker reveals itself. Although we have laughed at this gregarious ‘loser’ throughout the film we have gained a respect and affection for his worldview and are outraged by the actions of people he has tried to help. The ending is wonderfully perplexing and sublimely moving. This is one of my favourite movies – a perfect balance of laughs and pathos – which I inevitably watch every couple of years.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 August 2017
Just finished watching this fabulous bittersweet film (again). From Woody Allen's 'golden age', when practically all his films were fabulous.

Beautifully filmed in black and white, extremely funny, yet also steeped in saudade, that joyful melancholy that is one of the hallmarks of many of his best works. The titular character, Danny Rose, is a fast-talking wise-cracking loveable loser of a theatrical talent agent, managing a roster of oddball acts. Like his family of performers, he exists in limbo, somewhere more successful than the amateur hobbyist; professional, but not exactly top-drawer.

The film is presented via the reminiscing table talk of a bunch of New York performers, as they recall Danny Rose, whilst discussing their own careers/profession, at an eatery (the Carnegie Delicatessen Restaurant). The story revolves around Danny's management of Lou Canova, a has-been crooner, and how, when arranging a big gig for him, he becomes 'the beard' for Canova's mistress, Tina Vitale (Mia Farrow, giving a superb performance), a sassy brassy dame, with connections to 'the mob'.

The story is an excellent one, all the actors perform wonderfully, it's beautifully filmed, it's funny, it's touching, moving. It's Woody Allen at his best. It's sublime.
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on 18 October 2016
I loved this film back in the day. However, either my tastes have changed in the last 40-odd years or the film itself hasn't stood the test of time because apart from a few chucklable scenes it bored me to death. I bought it as part of the Woody Allen Collection so I hope the rest of the films provide a spark.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 25 March 2012
Each time I see a new Woody Allen I keep thinking the bubble will burst, but each time it turns out to be an amazing experience. I think I saw too many of the 90s films before the 70s and 80s, perhaps, but the earlier decades seem to have brought forth his best work. Even then I find the most famous of all, perhaps, Manhattan, is less satisfying than this one, which I believe is much less well-known. I wonder whether it isn't the presence of Mia Farrow that raises them into a special category - they seem to work so well together onscreen. Here the story is close to perfection, with Allen in a less middle-class milieu than we usually find him, but finding an equally rich vein of humour as a theatrical agent. His clients are all doing eccentric, quite lovable acts like bending balloons into shapes, with little success, but he never stops encouraging them. The ones who do better also tend to leave him. Out of this situation he ends up on the run from the Mob with a moll who is dating a singer on his books, and mayhem ensues. The invention is terrific and Farrow is almost unrecognisable as the blonde with the big shades, full of prima-donnishness, yet giving a suspicion that maybe she would be different if she could just get rid of the glasses ... all the brilliance lies in this suggestion! And in Allen himself, of course, who is a kind of genius. How many people in the history of film have been able to write and act with such humour and vision? It is a fantastic film - and I normally dislike anything to do with gangsters - and I'd be amazed if anyone didn't like it!
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on 4 June 2017
I had not seen this film for many years - a really heartwarming comedy with Woody Allen at his best. Who can ever forget the mantra "Star, Smile, Strong"! Cleverly directed with some good gags and marvellous sayings from uncles and ancestors thrown in - absolutely priceless!
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