Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte, Gerald Schoenfeld, Craig Vandenburgh, Herb Reynolds, Edwin Bordo, Gina DeAngelis, Paul Grego, Frank Renzulli, Sandy Baron, Corbett Monica, Jackie Gayle, Morty Gunty, Will Jordan, Howard Storm, Jack Rollins, Milton Berle, Howard Cosell, Joe Franklin
Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a manager of artists, and although he's not very successful, he nevertheless goes out of his way to help his acts. So when Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), a singer who has a chance of making a comeback, asks Danny to help him with a problem, Danny helps him. The problem is that Lou is married but wants his mistress Tina (Mia Farrow) to be at his concerts. Danny agrees to be a beard in being Tina's date, but what he doesn't know is that Tina has casual mob ties, and when he is mistaken for Tina's lover, he becomes the target of the mob.
After the extraordinary (success of) "Zelig", Woody Allen came back with another black and white film that is quite brilliant.
In fact, "Broadway Danny Rose" is a charming, sweet and pretty funny film, and even though is not Allen's best, nor his funniest, the film's warmth captures the audience immediately.
When compared with most of Allen's filmography, there are a few things that stand out because different. First, I believe this is Woody's first picture with no criticism to the American society, even though it makes a huge satire, and teases careerism in show business.
Secondly, the character. Danny Rose is not the typical guy usually written and portrayed by Allen. He is a poor jew who knows what feeling guilty feels like, he believes in redemption and forgiveness - like his uncle Sidney used to say -, but at the same time sacrifices himself for what or who he believes in. There's still neurotic cynicism in everything he does, but there's also something more.
One of the great things about the film is Allen's choice of a narrator: a group of real-life show business comedians and agents (Sandy Baron, Corbett Monica, Morty Gunty) having lunch.
"Broadway Danny Rose" also has some memorable quote and remarkable comical situations such as Allen and Mia Farrow wriggling their way out of some ropes tying them together. Or the pathetic Thanksgiving party with Danny Rose's losers. Clients, I'm sorry, I meant clients.
As mentioned before, this is another one of those films where Woody Allen has used a gorgeous and inspired black and white photography from Gordon Willis, maybe to convince the audience the film is classic material. Well, maybe it is.
The film relies almost completely on the chemistry between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, instead of using the performances of a great cast. That doesn't mean the two leads doesn't do good. Allen does his thing and he's hilarious as usual, but Mia Farrow gives one of the strongest performances of her career, arguably her best one. Nick Apollo Forte was the perfect cast for Lou Canova.
"You know what my philosophy of life is? That it's important to have some laughs, but you gotta suffer a little too, because otherwise you miss the whole point to life." - Danny Rose