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USA 1984
Directed by
Woody Allen
84 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Broadway Danny Rose

I must confess that this is my favourite Woody Allen film. It’s not that it is the highest percentage of one-liners but the balance between Allen’s love of the absurd and a touching story of “acceptance, forgiveness and love”  is just right.

Allen plays the titular character, a New York theatrical talent agent with a roster of the worst acts in the world from a blind xylophonist player to a piano-playing parrot and a one-armed juggler. His biggest client is a has-been crooner from the 50's, Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte) on the come-back trail. The thrice-married Lou has fallen for Tina (Mia Farrow) a brassy blond with Mob connections and when Lou asks Danny to be the “beard” and bring Tina to a gig at the Waldorf that could provide him with the leg-up he badly needs, Danny finds himself on the adventure of his life.

Danny Rose and Tina Vitali are hands down Allen’s most memorable creations. Both start off as caricatures but as a writer Allen gradually humanizes them in what in one sense is a brilliantly inverted romantic comedy, full of wry observation (the opening scene with a bunch of old school Catskills comedians jawing in the Carnegie Deli is wonderful) whilst both he and Farrow, at that time in a relationship, work beautifully together (upping the ante on their pairing the previous year in Zelig), with Farrow giving one of the most memorable performances of her career.  




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