BROADWAY DANNY ROSE—–Mid-range Woody. Several comedians (Corbett Monica, Sandy Baron, Jackie Gayle, Will Jordan) have a bull session in New York City’s Carnegie Deli, discussing the life and times of a legendary booking agent (Woody Allen), a decent but hapless guy who handled all the pathetic acts that no one else would touch. The anecdotal conversation turns to a tale of love & woe Rose figured in with an alcoholic has-been lounge crooner and his mob connected mistress.
Bits and pieces click, with plenty of smiles, but laughs beyond the chuckle zone are scattered and much of Allen’s nervous shtick was wearing painfully thin. The black & white lensing from Gordon Willis gives it the mock-documentary look of Zelig but to my eyes in this case it also seems to flatten things out.
Mia Farrow is good, playing against type as a tough broad. Nick Apollo Forte is choice as the authentically bad singer. A real lounge singer and piano player since he was a teenager (ongoing as of today), with no acting experience, this was his first and only movie role. Director Allen employed his usual wiseguy eye in filling out the bit parts. Milton Berle and Howard Cosell peek in.
From 1984, running 84 minutes, pulling $10,600,000, not enough tip against its $8,000,000 tab. It has fervent defenders, and drew fine reviews as well as two Oscar nominations, both to Allen for the direction and script, but for me it runs out of gas before long. I wanted to like it more.