The Cotton Club was a famous Harlem nightclub. This is the story of the people who visited this club as well as the people who ran it, and the film is generously peppered with the jazz ...
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A Sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Viet Nam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old Army buddy.
Francis Ford Coppola
James Earl Jones
Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie's discovery of his brother's near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond.
Francis Ford Coppola
The story is based on the novel by Leah Hager Cohen in which a couple's baby dies 57 hours after his birth and the parents try to return to their previous lives and struggle to regain a ... See full summary »
Trevor St. John,
The Cotton Club was a famous Harlem nightclub. This is the story of the people who visited this club as well as the people who ran it, and the film is generously peppered with the jazz music that made the Cotton Club so renowned in the 1920s and 1930s.Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com> with corrections by BSmith
Richard Sylbert claimed that he told Robert Evans not to hire Francis Ford Coppola because "he resents being in the commercial, narrative, Hollywood movie business". Coppola claimed that he had letters from Sylbert that asked him to work on the film because Evans was crazy. The director also said that "Evans set the tone for the level of extravagance long before I got there". See more »
During the montage song Ill Wind there is a shot of coins and bills being poured out. The dimes in the shot are Eisenhower dimes, a president in the 50's. See more »
In the original version, the opening credits were intercut with dancers performing "The Mooche." In the 2019 revision, the dancing is eliminated and the credits roll straight through, but have been joined with straight cuts rather than dissolves. Additionally, Coppola has changed his billing from "Francis Coppola" to "Francis Ford Coppola." Finally, restoration credits have been added after the end titles. See more »
It seems that the first murder is a bit shortened in the German Constantin Video release (FSK 16). See more »
Part fictional and part non-fictional, this lavish two-hour Francis Ford Coppola film spotlights the Cotton Club, the legendary, real-life Harlem jazz nightclub that flourished in the Prohibition era of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Richard Gere plays Dixie Dwyer, a young musician who works for mobsters, in an effort to advance his career. Dwyer falls in love with Vera Cicero (Diane Lane), the girlfriend of gangster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The Dwyer character is based loosely on real-life jazz trumpet player Bix Beiderbecke.
Throughout the film, various gangsters and bootleggers interact, sometimes violently, but much of the action centers around the Cotton Club, an establishment owned in real-life by Owney Madden, played in the film by actor Bob Hoskins. Madden would bring in Black performers to entertain a Whites-only clientèle, a truly racist policy, and a major plot point in the film's story.
The film's plot is somewhat muddled, the result of a less than stellar screenplay. And, as you would expect, the gangster characters are not terribly likable. But the film overcomes these script weaknesses with a captivating visual and musical style that is both tawdry and elegant. The corruption, the violence, and the implied sleaze are garish and tawdry to be sure. Yet, the Club's ambiance gushes with a certain elegance and glamour. It's a strange mix, but one that is entirely consistent with that era in U.S. history.
The film gets points from me for its lush, period piece costumes and production design, and adroit lighting, as well as all those jazz numbers, both sultry and flashy. Gregory Hines together with brother Maurice Hines provide some snappy tap dancing, some of which is improvised. Interestingly, their grandmother really did perform at the Cotton Club during its heyday. Also of interest in the film, viewers get to watch towering Fred Gwynne, who plays Frenchy, the oh-so-serious assistant to Owney Madden; the two of them engage in some interesting dialogue.
Although the script's story and characters are less than ideal, I enjoyed the film a lot, mostly as a result of the tawdry and elegant visual style combined with the lavish jazz numbers. If you're interested in gangster movies or the Prohibition era of American history, this film is a must-see.
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