Broadway Danny Rose Review
Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a struggling personal manager who represents a strange array of acts ranging from magicians to singers. He's devoted to them but sadly when they hit the big time they don't reciprocate it: every single one of his successful acts have left him. Not one to be deflated, Danny is really pushing his latest act, an italian singer called Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). Lou is a nice enough chap but a little over-emotional with an avid interest for both alcohol and infidelity. Tina (Mia Farrow) is his latest mistress and he needs her emotional support at a major gig he's playing for the TV. Danny lands the job of collecting her but of course nothing goes according to plan - she seems less than enthusiastic to help Lou out after she's found she's not the sole recipient of his affections. Will Danny manage to save the day and get his act signed or is it all going to end up pear-shaped once again?
The main acting trio are excellent in their interactions and acting. Farrow plays a very strong character who's quite out of her normal range but excels at it, Nick Apollo Forte in his sole film to date gives us a great rendition of Lou as a slightly nicer version of Tony Clifton, Andy Kaufman's infamous alter-ego and Allen closes the parade as a slightly familiar neurotic Jewish outsider who's bound to end up with the raw end of the deal. Gordon Willis' cinematogaphy is excellent as usual with some great use of B&W and some very inventive shots. The film itself has its flaws - mainly that it's hard to get overly excited by the story - and there's a certain lack of zest to the film but it does have a clear narrative structure unlike some of his earlier films. For some reason BDR tends to be quite an obscure Woody Allen and in some ways it comes through as an unusual Allen; it doesn't feature a Jazz soundtrack (an Allen trademark) but instead some retro 50s style songs sung by Nick Apollo Forte himself and there's no real major names appearing here. Still it's a stylishly filmed comedy from one of the masters of the genre but definitely not an essential Allen.
The image:The print used didn't seem to be in the best state and the image suffers from it. There are numerous black blemishes and some scenes feature some quite apparent grain. There's also some artificating going on the dark background but it's generally kept to a bearable minimum. However, the transfer is anamorphic which is an undeniable plus. The transfer's quality doesn't really take away from the film but one is left feeling that MGM could have given it a better treatment.
The sound:As usual the sound is the original mono. Woody finds no need for stereo recording so I can't really complain about the lack of it on this DVD. The soundtrack is clear and punchy during the musical numbers so no real quibbles here.
The extras:We're once again given an anamorphically transferred trailer. Not very well transfered really but hardly something I'd really get that upset about.
The menus:The usual menus set to a still from the film - basic and sober.
MGM seem set to release almost all of Allen's films from their catalogue which I can only feel happy about. However, these editions tend to feature pretty indifferent transfers and Broadway Danny Rose is no exception to this rule - in fact it may be the worst quality transfer I've seen from the collection. Still the film is watchable and Allen fans will buy this regardless to complete their collection.