The Cotton Club is routinely eclipsed by the controversies that surrounded its tumultuous production, but the film itself offers abundant pleasures that should not be overlooked. If Apocalypse Now represents the triumph of... more » director Francis Coppola's perilous ambition, then The Cotton Club represents the ungainly glory of uncontrolled genius, as brilliant as it is out of its depth. As an upscale homage to classic gangster films it's frequently astonishing, cramming a thick novel's worth of plot and characters into 129 minutes, gloriously serviced by impeccable production design, elegant cinematography, and stylistic flourishes that show Coppola at the top of his game. What The Cotton Club lacks is cohesion. As written by Coppola and novelist William Kennedy (then enjoying the peak of his critical acclaim), the movie struggles to exceed the narrative scope of The Godfather, but its multiple early-'30s plot lines fail to form any strong connective tissue. It's three (or four) movies in one, with cornet player Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere, playing his own jazzy solos) drifting from one story to the next--loving a young, ambitious vamp (Diane Lane, with whom Gere shares precious little chemistry), enjoying the success of a hotshot hoofer (Gregory Hines), and protecting his brazen bother (Coppola's then-newcomer nephew, Nicolas Cage) from the deadly temper of mob boss Dutch Schultz (James Remar). Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne also score big in grand supporting roles, but The Cotton Club is perhaps best appreciated for its meticulous re-creation of Harlem's Cotton Club heyday, and the brilliant music (Ellington, Calloway, etc.) that brought rhythm to gangland's rat-a-tat-tat. --Jeff Shannon« less
mrteagarden | New Orleans, LA United States | 07/11/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The lines between jazz, bootlegging and race are blurred in Francis Ford Coppolas's wonderful 1984 feature set during the late 20's and early 30's in Harlem, NYC at the world famous Cotton Club. At long last, MGM has finally released The Cotton Club on its "Contemporary Classics" series. What this means is that die hard fans will get a reasonably priced DVD in the widescreen format but with virtually no extras included. MGM is notorious for being stingy on their DVDs. The theatrical trailer is included. You can watch the film in French or read French or Spanish subtitles. Nice hard case but only a card listing the cast and a brief description of the film, no booklet. As for deleted scenes: well, there aren't any. Unless you included a brief shot during the trailer or an exchange between Vince (Nick Cage) and Dixie (Richard Gere) in which Dixie asks "Why were you fighting niggers?" when he said "Why were you fighting the coloreds?" in the earlier version. This is not a restored version and the color has tinges of red from fade in indoor scenes, a few light scratches also visible. Still, one of the best movies ever. Wonderful musical scenes and a terrific cast featuring Gere, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, Lonette McKee, and Gregory and Maurice Hines. Usually ragged on for costing too much (it lost money in the theatre and was the most expensive film for its time) but for first time viewers (and there are a lot of you out there), I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. A must have for lovers of the film, but we can only hope a restored director's cut DVD with some of the many scenes that were cut from the film along with some commentary from the pricipals will be released in the future. Until then, enjoy this version and be wowed for 2 hours and 9 minutes."
Great movie but where are the deleted scenes?
dma333x2 | 07/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's great to finally have this movie on video in the widescreen format. However, I am disappointed that the deleted scenes which were advertised here and on MGM's official website are not on this DVD. It would have been nice to view them but I guess MGM decided not to release them at the last minute (perhaps a special edition DVD is in the works in the near future) or Coppola didn't allow MGM to release them. Perhaps he's planning to extend this film like he did with Apocalypse Now. Anyway, despite the missing deleted scenes, it's great to see this film again in its original aspect ratio with the theatrical trailer which ironically has brief moments of scenes that were deleted from the film."
Great music, acting, production
dma333x2 | Las Vegas, NV | 05/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Coppola all time greats. A must for any jazz fan. The sound track is also a must have. Coppola put a lot into this production; unfortunally it was underrated and under appreciated and never got the credit it deserved."
LONNETTE MCKEE STEALS THE SHOW!!
Kenneth Kapel | Chicago,Il, USA | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""THE COTTON CLUB" is one GREAT FILM!I loved everything about it,the cast,(even Richard Gere),the history of Harlem,the history of the rackets,the sets,the music,the dancing,but I especially LOVED the fantastic LONETTE MCKEE,who dominated every scene she appeared in.What beauty,what singing and dancing talent,what great emotional range of love,hurt,and tenderness she displayed, in this highly underrated(by the critics)motion picture.I cannot understand why she hasn't become a major star.Hollywood is notorius for it miss handling of actress,especially ladies of color and I guess Lonette is suffering the same fate as Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge,among others suffered,but that was over sixty years ago,you would have though that things would have changed.Bob Hoskins,Fred Gwynne,James Remar,Gregory Hines(as a hoofer and Lonettes' love interest),and Nick Cage are among the actors that add to the flavor of "THE COTTON CLUB".The GREAT GWEN VERDON has little more than a cameo as Geres and Cages mother.Diane Lane didn't do anything for me,but she wasn't bad as Dutch Schultzs' mistress,who falls in love with Dixie Dwyer(Gere).But this Lonettes' show and SHE STEALS IT!!"
Wish i could have been to one of those shows!
xen | ashland, oregon United States | 05/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"za za za zoom! the music, the cast and the dancing... gregory hines is absolutely un-hooked in this film. his unbearably cool tap solo centerpiece is filmed so well it is simply stupendous. it is spliced with the gangsters violence and the contrast between the art and destruction is astounding. this movie is bliss if you love jazz, dance and great cinematography. what a superior treat!"