Broadway Danny Rose was the third Woody Allen picture that Mia Farrow made with her then-companion, a relationship that generated a remarkable string of comedies and dramas which allowed the actress to play a wide range of different women in roles richer than just about anything she had ever been given before. Their now contentious public relationship is really a private matter (or should be), but there’s no denying that Woody and Mia made a slate of wonderful films together over a period of ten years. Broadway Danny Rose is really the first of that string that offered Mia a role worlds apart from her previous film and television characters.
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
Subtitles: English SDH
Run Time: 1 Hr. 26 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 04/08/2014
Broadway Danny Rose is a very funny and sometimes touching lark of a film. Woody’s title character, a former comedian who has become a small-time agent with the puniest clientele in show business, is a marathon talker with an oversized heart. He treats all of his acts, no matter how shoddy or bizarre, with acclaim and enthusiasm (and with acts like a water glass player or a smoking penguin, enthusiasm is quite an impressive feat). The story of Danny Rose is set up as a series of flashbacks by a group of older comedians (Sandy Baron, Corbett Monica, Jackie Gayle, impressionist Will Jordan) trying to top each other by telling the funniest story about the hapless talent agent. Baron’s tale takes center stage for most of the film’s brief 86-minute running time. It has to do with Danny’s one chance at making the big time by engineering the comeback of a washed-up 1950s lounge singer named Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). Lou is a supreme egotist whose every wish must be fulfilled, but so great is Danny’s belief in Lou that he will go to any lengths to see that Lou’s appearance at the Waldorf Astoria leads to a lucrative contract with Milton Berle in Las Vegas and then on to Hollywood.
The Production Rating: 4/5
During the hectic hours leading up to Lou’s debut, Danny has to fetch Lou’s mistress Tina (Mia Farrow), fend off a couple of Mafia hit men who think he and she are a couple, and sober up a tipsy Lou who’s taken to the bottle hours before his opening. Danny’s relationship with Tina and Lou’s ultimate betrayal of Danny make up the film’s bittersweet second half earning great sympathy for the tiny bespeckled man with a motor in his mouth and lifting what was just a talky comedy into another plane entirely fully justifying its place among Allen’s better works of this period in his career.
The casting is unusual and unexpected. Mia Farrow is, of course, the astonishing find of the movie by turning the dreamy, cotton candy-ish aspect of her speech which had previously been her forte into a brittle Jersey twang that jolts and has great spark to it. Allen wisely keeps Farrow in sunglasses for most of the movie for without them, the game would be over: her eyes convey the dewy, sympathetic empathy which Farrow had always used in her screen characters but which now would be completely inappropriate for Tina who puts herself first and foremost with not a thought to anyone else’s feelings or well being. Nick Apollo Forte is a revelation as Lou Canova. Although he was previously a songwriter (two of his songs are featured numbers for Lou in the movie), this was his first acting assignment, and he excellently conveys the delicate blend of confidence and insecurity that so many performers have and adds to the depth of his character by not trying to gain any audience sympathy for what he does to Danny. He also boasts a sub-Sinatra style crooning talent which fits well with his character.
The film is presented in its theatrical 1.85:1 and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. The brilliant Gordon Willis lensed this film, and his black and white cinematography is simply breathtaking (he even makes the swamps of New Jersey look inviting). Sharpness is superlative (Allen’s fondness for glaring, garish close-ups of sometimes unattractive people are a bit Fellini-esque, but details in their facial features and hair are certainly easily discernible). Blacks can be very deep, and whites are clean and appealing. Contrast is quite consistently maintained in this very film-like transfer. There are some fleeting white specks which dot the image from time to time, but otherwise the image is glorious. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix is very typical for Woody Allen films of the period: undistinguished mono. Dialogue is always easy to understand and is never compromised by sound effects or the eclectic music on the track. Nick Forte’s vocals also have better than average fidelity. No age-related problems with hiss or crackle could be ascertained.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Special Features Rating: 2.5/5
Isolated Score Track: presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0
Theatrical Trailer (1:07, SD)
MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)
Six-Page Booklet: contains a number of black and white stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s nifty observations on the film.
Broadway Danny Rose is one of Woody Allen’s significant bittersweet show business stories of life and love in New York City. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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