Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

PG | 84 mins | Comedy | 1984

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Robert Greenhut

Cinematographer:

Gordon Willis

Editor:

Susan E. Morse

Production Designer:

Mel Bourne
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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant John Theofanis, a student at University of Texas at Austin, with Janet Staiger as academic advisor.

The working title of the film was Fall Project--Untitled at least as late as 11 Aug 1982, when a Var "Soundtrack" column reported that director-writer-comedian Woody Allen had used the Astoria Film Center for "extra filming." However, by mid-Sep the project was called Broadway Danny Rose , according to a 17 Sep 1982 DV news item that also reported it was the "first time in years" an Allen movie was named at the beginning of principal photography. A 6 Oct 1982 HR news item also made a point of Allen's "penchant for not titling a movie till it's completed."
       The DV news item also reported that Broadway Danny Rose was Allen's third film for Orion Pictures and that several key members of his previous production teams would return for the film: producer Robert Greenhut, executive producer Charles H. Joffe, director of photography Gordon Willis, designer Mel Bourne and film editor Susan E. Morse. Broadway Danny Rose marked Mia Farrow's third appearance, out of a total of thirteen, in an Allen production. She and Allen had been in a romantic relationship since 1980.
       A 19 Feb 1984 NYT article, reported that Allen, who started as a comedy writer, began performing as a standup comedian in Greenwich Village nightclubs in the late 1950s. Allen's manager, Jack Rollins, stated that ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant John Theofanis, a student at University of Texas at Austin, with Janet Staiger as academic advisor.

The working title of the film was Fall Project--Untitled at least as late as 11 Aug 1982, when a Var "Soundtrack" column reported that director-writer-comedian Woody Allen had used the Astoria Film Center for "extra filming." However, by mid-Sep the project was called Broadway Danny Rose , according to a 17 Sep 1982 DV news item that also reported it was the "first time in years" an Allen movie was named at the beginning of principal photography. A 6 Oct 1982 HR news item also made a point of Allen's "penchant for not titling a movie till it's completed."
       The DV news item also reported that Broadway Danny Rose was Allen's third film for Orion Pictures and that several key members of his previous production teams would return for the film: producer Robert Greenhut, executive producer Charles H. Joffe, director of photography Gordon Willis, designer Mel Bourne and film editor Susan E. Morse. Broadway Danny Rose marked Mia Farrow's third appearance, out of a total of thirteen, in an Allen production. She and Allen had been in a romantic relationship since 1980.
       A 19 Feb 1984 NYT article, reported that Allen, who started as a comedy writer, began performing as a standup comedian in Greenwich Village nightclubs in the late 1950s. Allen's manager, Jack Rollins, stated that "Woody knew this world as well as I did, because he was as much a part of it as I was." Rollins appears in the Carnegie Deli sequences with several other comedians. Comedian Milton Berle and television sports journalist Howard Cosell appear in cameos. Berle is also seen, as is Sammy Davis, Jr., in stock footage of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade that appears in the film. According to Woody Allen, A Biography , by John Baxter, Nick Apollo Forte, who portrayed "Lou Canova," was discovered by casting director Juliet Taylor when she saw the jacket of his self-recorded and distributed phonograph album.
       In Broadway Danny Rose , Allen brought together two film ideas he had nurtured for some time. Allen told biographer Eric Lax in Woody Allen, A Biography , of his desire to create a role in which Mia Farrow would portray "a brassy woman" and his idea for a story about a manager who "nurtures his clients, only to be abandoned by them in [their] first flush of success."
       17 Sep DV and 22 Sep 1982 Var news items stated the film was shot in New York City. A portion of the film was shot on location at a New Jersey "garbage dump," according to a 2 Nov 1982 Village Voice news item that also stated, erroneously, that Allen's character was "an alcoholic 47-year-old nightclub comic trying for a comeback." (That part was played by Nick Apollo Forte). A 10 Aug 1983 Var news item reported that pickup shooting occurred in early Aug 1983 in Studio 5 at Silvercup Studios in Long Island, NY. According to an 11 Aug 1983 DV news item, Allen directed a scene with himself and Mia Farrow at Silvercup on a closed set. Broadway Danny Rose was the first feature film to use Silvercup's new stage, according to a 9 Sep 1983 Back Stage news item. A 23 Nov 1983 Var news item reported that the musical score was mixed at National Video Center/Recording Studios' Edison Hall by music engineer, Roy Yokelson.
       Reviews were generally positive for Broadway Danny Rose . In the 16 Jan 1984 HR review, Arthur Knight praised Gordon Willis's cinematography "in glorious black and white." Sheila Benson, LAT 's 27 Jan 1984 reviewer, described the film's depiction of Danny Rose as a "love letter to a dogged kind of tenacity that you feel Allen admires." The 16 Jan 1984 Var review called Broadway Danny Rose "a delectable diversion," and the best of his recent efforts, "more complete than Zelig , more satisfying than A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy and certainly more everything than his disastrous Stardust Memories ." (See entries.)
       Allen was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) and won a BAFTA for Best Screenplay - Original. He also won a WGA award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Mia Farrow was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.
       According to 24 Jul 1989 Var article, a four-year legal battle arose over the tune, "Agita," which Forte performed and was given onscreen credit for composing. Wandra Merrell and Ray Allen sued Woody Allen, Orion and Vestron Video, claiming "Agita" "borrowed 49 of 52 notes from a verse of their song 'Pepino, the Italian Mouse,'" and asked for profits from the film and $50 million in damages. Forte maintained that the song, which is heard numerous times throughout the film, was his own original composition. 25 Sep 1987 HR and 10 Oct 1987 Billboard news items reported that a trial was set for 13 Oct 1987. The 24 Jul 1989 Var article stated that the defendants bought the rights to "Pepino" for $50,000 in 1988 in a retroactive deal, after which a judge dismissed the suit. The property was bought from SBK-EMI Music Publishing Co., but, according to the article, Merrell and Ray Allen received none of that money. They then sued SBK-EMI for breach of fiduciary responsibility. Although the suit was in pre-trial proceedings at the time of the Var article, SBK vice-president, Harold Rosenbloom issued a statement that their defense would "ultimately be successful." The outcome of the suit has not been determined. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
9 Sep 1983.
---
Billboard
10 Oct 1987.
---
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1982.
---
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 1984
p. 3, 47.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jan 1984
p. 1.
New York Times
27 Jan 1984
p. 8.
New York Times
19 Feb 1984.
---
Variety
11 Aug 1982.
---
Variety
22 Sep 1982.
---
Variety
10 Aug 1983.
---
Variety
23 Nov 1983.
---
Variety
16 Jan 1984.
---
Variety
18 Jan 1984
p. 22.
Variety
24 Jan 1989.
---
Village Voice
2 Nov 1982.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
The Comics:
Jack Rollins
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Still photog
Dailies processing by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative matching
Projectionist
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Chief set dresser
Set dresser
Master scenic artist
Const grip
Prop master
Prop man
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
MUSIC
Mus supv
Accordion soloist
Mus rec eng
National Recording Studios, Inc.
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Trans/Audio Inc.
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup des
Hair des
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Scr supv
Prod assoc
Asst to Mr. Kurland
Asst to Mr. Allen
Transporation capt
DGA trainee
Studio mgr
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Loc auditor
Asst loc auditor
Prod accountant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Agita" & "My Bambina" written and performed by Nick Apollo Forte.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 27 Jan 1984
Production Date:
20 Sep--17 Dec 1982 in New York
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
14 May 1984
Copyright Number:
PA212965
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex cameras by Panavision; Release prints by Deluxe Laboratories
Duration(in mins):
84
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26911
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, several veteran comedians bide their time at the Carnegie Deli, discussing the old days. Soon they are recalling theatrical agent, Broadway Danny Rose, and his motley assortment of minor league talent, including a blind xylophone player, a one-legged tap dancer, a one-armed juggler, balloon folders, and a blonde-haired virtuoso of the water glasses. After trading stories about Danny’s devotion to his clients, one of the comedians claims he has the greatest Broadway Danny Rose story, one involving Lou Canova, a has-been, overweight Italian-American crooner with a big ego, a drinking problem and one hit song from the fifties. The comedian tells his story: Danny, who is devoted to his clients, attends Lou’s nightclub performance and afterward is uneasy when the married Lou, who is saddled with alimony obligations from a previous marriage, purchases a single white rose from a flower shop for his mistress, Tina Vitale. Acquainted with Lou’s wife Teresa and their twelve-year-old daughter, Danny warns Lou against extra-marital affairs. The nostalgia craze has made it easier for Danny to book Lou on cruise ships and local television shows. When famous comedian, Milton Berle, tells Danny he is looking for talent for his nostalgia-themed television special and his Las Vegas opening act, Danny sees a chance for Lou to make a comeback and convinces Berle to attend Lou’s upcoming performance at the Waldorf. As Lou exercises on a treadmill to shed pounds, Danny works almost exclusively with him to prepare his performance, at the expense of his other clients. When Lou insists that he needs Tina at the performance to give him confidence, Danny considers it unwise because Teresa will be there. ... +


In New York City, several veteran comedians bide their time at the Carnegie Deli, discussing the old days. Soon they are recalling theatrical agent, Broadway Danny Rose, and his motley assortment of minor league talent, including a blind xylophone player, a one-legged tap dancer, a one-armed juggler, balloon folders, and a blonde-haired virtuoso of the water glasses. After trading stories about Danny’s devotion to his clients, one of the comedians claims he has the greatest Broadway Danny Rose story, one involving Lou Canova, a has-been, overweight Italian-American crooner with a big ego, a drinking problem and one hit song from the fifties. The comedian tells his story: Danny, who is devoted to his clients, attends Lou’s nightclub performance and afterward is uneasy when the married Lou, who is saddled with alimony obligations from a previous marriage, purchases a single white rose from a flower shop for his mistress, Tina Vitale. Acquainted with Lou’s wife Teresa and their twelve-year-old daughter, Danny warns Lou against extra-marital affairs. The nostalgia craze has made it easier for Danny to book Lou on cruise ships and local television shows. When famous comedian, Milton Berle, tells Danny he is looking for talent for his nostalgia-themed television special and his Las Vegas opening act, Danny sees a chance for Lou to make a comeback and convinces Berle to attend Lou’s upcoming performance at the Waldorf. As Lou exercises on a treadmill to shed pounds, Danny works almost exclusively with him to prepare his performance, at the expense of his other clients. When Lou insists that he needs Tina at the performance to give him confidence, Danny considers it unwise because Teresa will be there. However, Lou begs him to “be the beard” and pretend to be Tina’s date, so that her presence will not arouse suspicion. On the day of the performance, Danny ventures outside his comfort zone of Manhattan to pick up Tina, and when he arrives at her apartment, he finds her screaming at Lou on the phone, accusing him of two-timing her with a “cheap blonde” at the racetrack. She refuses to go to the performance, but Danny takes the phone and assures Lou they will both be there. Trying to convince Tina that her suspicions are unwarranted, Danny follows her to the home of her fortuneteller, Angelina, who urges Tina to resolve all her relationship problems. Acting on Angelina’s advice, Tina makes an hour-long drive to a large estate in the suburbs, where her family and others connected to a crime organization have gathered for a party. Intent on settling old affairs, Tina meets with her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Rispoli, who is unwilling to accept that their relationship is over and who, by stalking her, has learned about the single white roses she receives daily from her current lover. Presuming Danny is her new love interest, Johnny calls him “Danny White Roses,” but Danny insists he is only a theatrical agent. While continuing to urge Tina to attend Lou’s performance, Danny tells Tina how he has nurtured Lou’s career, by picking out his clothes and teaching him to budget money, and developing the way Lou tosses the microphone during a performance. When Danny demurs that he is not a Cary Grant in the looks department, Tina says she likes intellectuals and that he is a smooth talker. She adds that Angelina predicted that she would marry a Jew or someone musical. When Johnny captures the attention of the crowd and claims that Danny seduced Tina away from him, Danny and Tina feel compelled to escape from the party in Danny’s car. As they race away, Danny learns Tina’s husband, an underworld debt collector, was murdered by the mob. Shortly after they leave the party, Johnny’s mother declares a vendetta and sends her other sons, hit men Vito and Joe, after Danny. At a coffee shop, when Tina realizes they are being followed, she and Danny abandon the car and run through New Jersey flatlands to evade the brothers, and make their way to Manhattan by boat. On the other side of the Hudson, Tina makes a call and afterward warns Danny to lie low in a hotel for a few days. Balking, Danny insists he must get his pills and other items, so she accompanies him to his apartment. There, she suggests decorating ideas, such as a bamboo motif and zebra skins, to lighten up the dreary place. To support her ambition to be an interior decorator, Danny quotes his Uncle Morris, “the famous diabetic from Brooklyn,” on the importance of confidence. Tina then shares her philosophy, "See what you want, go for it,” adding that one should “do it to the other guy ‘cause if you don’t he’ll do it to you.” Danny says Tina’s philosophy sounds like the screenplay to the film, Murder Inc. , and counters with the words of his Uncle Sidney, “acceptance, forgiveness and love,” which he calls a real philosophy of life. The Rispoli brothers eventually catch up and kidnap Danny and Tina and take them to a remote warehouse where floats and balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day are stored. When the brothers threaten Danny with pistols, he protests that he is "just a beard." Under duress, Danny offers up the name Barney Dunn as the real lover, because he knows that Barney, the world’s worst ventriloquist, was scheduled to perform on a cruise ship and is therefore far from danger. When Danny and Tina are left alone, tied face-to-face to each other, they manage to wriggle loose, but as they leave the warehouse, they must dodge bullets fired at them. When a bullet hits a helium truck used to inflate the Macy's balloons, both the hit man’s threats and the intended victims’ pleas for mercy sound like the voices of cartoon characters. After escaping, Danny and Tina take a cab back to the theater to find Lou drunk backstage. At Teresa’s request, Danny makes his special concoction for counteracting drunkenness and, completely cured, Lou soon sings “My Bambina” from the Waldorf stage. In the audience, Danny shares a table with an approving Milton Berle and Howard Cosell, while another talent agent, Sid Bacharach, watches from another corner of the room. After his successful performance, Lou confesses to Danny that he is signing with Sid Bacharach and has Tina’s approval. Danny later learns that the Rispoli brothers beat up Barney Dunn, so he offers to pay Barney’s hospital bills. Tina moves in with Lou but finds she’s having bad dreams, a case of "bad conscience" according to her fortuneteller. When Lou’s success leads to television work in California, Tina refuses to accompany him. On Thanksgiving Day, Tina goes to Danny’s apartment and finds him serving frozen turkey TV dinners to his guests, Barney Dunn and his longtime clients. Although she apologizes and reminds Danny of his Uncle Sidney’s words of wisdom, "acceptance, forgiveness, and love," Danny rejects her. However, he then pursues her down the city streets, past the Carnegie Deli, and takes her back to his place. In the present, the Carnegie Deli comedians comment on the ultimate achievement of Broadway Danny Rose, "They named a sandwich after him--at this very deli." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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