Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
A solid film, even by Woody Allen standards. Pays more screentime to the development of characters and story rather than just glib one-liners.
2 times a charm
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After my first viewing of Broadway Danny Rose, I was extremely dissapointed. I just didn't "get" it. I did not think it was about anything, and that it contained none of the humor, wit, and philosophical musings about life that Woody had so perfectly achieved before and since (see Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters). I couldn't have been more wrong. I decided to watch the film again, to determine exactly what about it that so many people loved so much . I was truly mystified. But during that second viewing, I really began to soak in the message about the lovable "loser" Woody plays, not to mention the fact that I couldn't stop laughing! How could I have missed this stuff before? This is Woody at his most subtle best, in a masterpiece comparable and perhaps even surpassing Manhattan (another one that took me a few times to appreciate).Bottom line: if you are looking for pure slapstick, watch Bananas or Sleeper. If you are looking for a deep, thought-provoking drama, watch Crimes and Misdeameanors. But if you are looking for a subtle charmer that deals with the little problems of life in an original, compelling way, watch Broadway Danny Rose (and Manhattan)."
Allen Stretches the Envelope. One of his most poignant.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Broadway Danny Rose', written and directed by Woody Allen, is, like `Zelig', one of his more unusual films, if by usual one means movies chocked full of familiar faces, familiar music, and familiar New York City scenes. Oops, the New York scenes are here, but none of the usual Hudson River shorelines, Central Park cityscapes, or famous skylines. In fact, aside from the Carnegie Deli and a very brief glimpse of the park just down the avenue, the most recognizable scene is the New Jersey meadowlands.
Aside from Allen, the only easily recognizable name on the marquee is Mia Farrow. And, if you didn't see her name, there is a good chance you would miss her on the screen, behind tinted, oversized glasses and a great, cheap blond wig. There are at least two very brief famous name cameo appearances from Milton Berle and Howard Cosell, but they are so short and done at such a distance you could be forgiven for thinking it was not really them.
This is so unlike a Woody Allen film that until I watched it again on the DVD and saw the writing and directing credits and the long list of Allen regulars on the crew, I thought this was like Allen's appearance in `The Front', where he simply appears as one of the lead actors, co-starring with Zero Mostel, and not as the writer / director.
The thing which gives it all away of course is Allen's classic nebbish character (which actually does not appear in that many movies, as Allen typically plays a very accomplished character in most films) and the great poignancy and pathos of the story. This was the great change to Allen's writing which came with `Annie Hall' and which is almost as big a part of all subsequent movies as the music, the New York settings, the ensemble cast, the one liners, the visual humor, and the great crew. There are a few other Allen fingerprints, such as the reuse of certain motifs. The repeating Thanksgiving dinner scene that also appears to major effect in `Hannah and Her Sisters' is here. The Italian mobster stock characters later seen in `Bullets over Broadway' are also here.
The third actor on the marquee, Nick Apollo Forte, is not only not well known, he appears, to my knowledge in no other Woody Allen films. I can only guess that Allen simply could not find a genuine over the hill lounge singer type among his stock characters, so he went out and hired a genuine over the hill lounge singer to play the role.
The story is all about Allen's character, a former Borsht belt standup comedian who takes up the job of talent representation with a stable of novelty performers such as a team of balloon animal twisters, a blind Xylophone player, a water glass player (shades of Miss Congeniality), a dressed up parrot wrangler, and a ventriloquist. His star act is the lounge singer who is married but is also in a very bumpy relation with a dipsy blond (Farrow) to whom he sends a single white rose each day. Throughout the course of the movie, agent Danny Rose (Allen) is hard at work trying to book Lou Canova (Forte) into a breakthrough gig, which he finally lands in a deal with Milton Berle (sealed on a streetcorner, probably along Broadway) for Canova to appear on a Berle special of nostalgia acts and to open for him in Las Vegas.
The real problem arises when Canova can't bear to perform at this very important gig unless blond girlfriend Tina Vitale is in the audience. Meanwhile, Vitale has lost patience with Canova's not leaving his wife, consults with a fortuneteller, and runs off to be with her Italian family of goodfellas in Jersey. Desperate to keep Canova up for his appearance, Allen runs after Vitale, is confused with Canova (based on the roses and his name) by Vitale's gumbah cousins, who set out to settle the imaginary score with Danny Rose.
The pathos develops out of Rose's turning the mistaken relation into a real one, when he stops pursuing Vitale for Canova, and seeks her out for himself.
The major conceit used in the movie is that the story is actually being told by a standup comic at a table of other comics, seated in the Carnegie Deli. Like so many of Allen's other movies, the conceit and the story come together at the end when Rose catches up to Vitale in front of the Carnegie Deli, just as the comedian's voice-over says that Rose finally attains celebrity by the Deli's naming a sandwich after him.
Contrary to the notes on the back of the DVD case, this movie has a lot less of Allen's philosophical topics than other works. It's strong point is rooted in the very bittersweet story which may have made the movie as difficult to watch as `Purple Rose of Cairo' if it were not for the fact that the Allen character gets the girl in the end.
This movie has lots of humor, but few of the strong one liners which appear in most Allen movies, even very serious ones such as `Crimes and Misdemeanors'. Most of the humor is situational, to coin a phrase. So, rather than providing a comedy relief, it simply maintains a light feeling, preventing the tone of the movie from getting too heavy.
I would say this is as good or better than at least half of Allen's movies, except that I have a hard time putting any of his works, other than `Love and Death', `Shadows and Fog', and `A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy' in the lower half of the list.
If you like Allen's movies, this is a `must see' to get the full picture of his range. "
Rediscover Broadway Danny Rose
Christopher Bushman | Portland, OR USA | 07/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I originally saw Broadway Danny Rose 20 years ago at a college movie night as a second run release just as it was about to fade into obscurity. I had fond (but dim) memories of this release and have tried to rent it over the years to no avail. I do not know whether it was just bad luck or whether this movie is truly obscure but I have never been able to find it for rent in the video stores.
I finally broke down and purchased the DVD and it was well worth it. Like Zelig, this early 80's flick is high-caliber Woody Allen in a modest package and seems to have gotten lost in the wake of the late 80's Woody Allen resurgence / renaissance of Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, etc.
Broadway Danny Rose is refreshing in that although Mr. Allen portrays a stock "Nebbish" character, he plays off an atypical leading lady in Mia Farrow's Brassy-Blonde Tina Vitale. Also very welcome is the supporting role of the has-been Italian lounge singer Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). Mr. Forte is the too good to be true real deal and one of the most original characters of any of Mr. Allen's films.
This entertaining film at once stands out in the Woody Allen cannon and sits comfortably in it. If you only saw this in the theater like me, do not let another 20 years go by. "
Could be Allen's Best Film
R. J. Marsella | California | 06/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is more subtle in it's humor than Woody Allen's earlier work but in my opinion it is one of his funniest and finest films. The Danny Rose character is a lovable mensch who is armed with a collection of family anecdotes and philosophy to suit any occassion. Allen is hysterical in the role of a fast talking yet struggling talent agent representing a variety of acts that are going nowhere. His big chance is an Italian lounge singer who had a hit record in the 50's. The singer is in love with the widow of a mafia 'juiceman" (played to perfection by Mia Farrow). When Danny Rose is sent to pick her up and escort her to a show at the Waldorf chaos ensues.
The story is presented as a reminiscence told by one of a group of older Jewish catskill resort type entertainers who are gathered at the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan trading Danny Rose stories.
One of the obvious strengths of this movie is the authentic NY patois whether Jewish or Italian. The scenes with Mia Farrow and Allen are extremely funny.
The film is in B&W."
an honest reviewer | 11/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are so many laughs in this film.Must be one of Woody Allen's best. I could watch it again and again and it never loses it's humor. Mia Farrow and Woody Allen are just perfect in their roles. Brilliant and highly recommended."