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July 8, 2014

Movie Review: Broadway Danny Rose (Blu-ray)

Review By: Mike Heenan

Perhaps it was the use of black and white film stock or the natural lighting of the recently deceased cinematographer Gordon Willis, but in many ways Broadway Danny Rose feels like a classic 70’s Woody Allen film. I’ve always believed his decline began around the time of the Soon Yi scandal, and he’s never really recovered the early magic of his 70’s output since, with the exception of a few films like Small Time Crooks and Midnight in Paris.

The film begins with comedians in a deli reminiscing over the olden days and agent Danny Rose, played by Allen, comes up in conversation.  They all trade stories about their dealings with him, and one comedian (Sandy Baron who you all may remember from Seinfeld as Jack Klompus), tells the “ultimate” end all story of Rose.  Rose is a loveable agent, the kind who sticks up for the underdog - the one who’ll never truly make it anywhere, just like Rose himself.  Rose takes to representing washed up crooner Lou Canova, a one hit wonder in the 50’s.  Rose gives Lou his everything in terms of representation and truly believes he’s on the cusp of a major comeback.  When Lou has money issues, Rose offers to defer his salary.  He also constantly gives Lou pep talks and bolsters his confidence.

Lou wants his mistress to be at a performance and asks Rose to be her beard at the performance because Lou’s wife will be there as well.  Mia Farrow plays the mistress Tina and gives a surprisingly excellent energetic performance. Farrow’s family is “connected” (think Sopranos) in the film, and they believe Rose and Tina are a couple, which leads to some conflict.  Scattered throughout the film are many great small appearances by random people such as Howard Cosell, Sammy Davis Jr, Danny Aiello, and Milton Berle as himself.

The presentation on the disc is excellent as always; you can’t go wrong with a Twilight Time Blu, at least from all the one’s I’ve seen.  The lighting style seems to have gone a more natural route rather than giant studio lights, and that leads to varying levels of grain, none of which are unacceptable in my opinion.  The soundtrack is a DTS MA mono; Allen has never been known for 7.1 style Michael Bay ear drum shattering soundtracks.  There is a second audio track with an isolated score, and also the theatrical trailer is presented, as well as a trailer for MGM’s 90th anniversary.  Definitely pick this one up if you’re a fan.

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