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Paradise Alley (1978)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1978 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 3,142 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 5 critic

Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Big Glory
...
Annie
...
Stitch
...
Frankie the Thumper
Joyce Ingalls ...
Bunchie
Joe Spinell ...
Burp
Aimée Eccles ...
Susan Chow
...
Mumbles
Chick Casey ...
Doorman
James J. Casino ...
Paradise Bartender
Fredi O. Gordon ...
Paradise Alley Hooker
Lydia Goya ...
Bar Room Hooker #1
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Storyline

It's 1946 in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Cosmo Carboni, the eldest of the three Carboni brothers, is lamenting what he sees as them not living up to their potential. Big talking Cosmo hustles and panhandles for money. Brooding Lenny Carboni, an injured veteran whose sullen attitude stems from his time in the war, is an undertaker. And youngest Victor Carboni, the simple muscle-man who wouldn't hurt a fly unless he's annoyed, is an iceman. Victor looks to Lenny and his Chinese-American girlfriend Susan Chow as his voices of reason. After Victor holds his own against wrestler Frankie the Thumper in an arm wrestling match, Frankie who is seen as the strongest man in the neighborhood, and after seeing the lucrative wrestling matches - which are more like street fights without rules - at the underground nightclub called Paradise Alley, Cosmo gets it into his head that wrestling may be Victor's calling and a way for them all to get out of Hell's Kitchen for good. The brothers would act... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Carboni Boys. They haul ice, lay out stiffs and dance with monkeys. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hell's Kitchen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Directing was such a new job to Stallone on this project that several times, cast and crew were in position, ready to do their jobs but they could not. They could not because Stallone would forget to yell, "Action." See more »

Goofs

Tonga Fifita's surname is grossly misspelled in the end credits as Yociato. See more »

Quotes

Cosmo Carboni: Frankie! My brother who aint as handsome as you is as strong as Charles Atlas.
Stitch: Your brother is a moron.
Cosmo Carboni: Nah. He ain't no moron.
Stitch: I said he's a moron.
Cosmo Carboni: Okay he ain't no flaming wit guaranteed. But he can haul over four-hundred and fifty pounds of ice up five flights of stairs without blowing his breakfast. Can he do that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits use the 1940s Universal logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Sylvester Stallone/Jamiroquai (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

(Meet Me in) Paradise Alley
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Yeah, that's a very heavy grease ball wager."
1 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I didn't quite know what to make of "Paradise Alley" when it first came out in 1978, and quite truthfully, I don't quite know what to make of it today. Back in the mid 1960's I became quite a fan of professional wrestling, oxymoron as that description is. So it was the wrestling theme that prompted me to see it during it's theatrical release. Coming off the success of "Rocky", it was as if Sylvester Stallone had to follow up that first hit with another self propelled film as writer, actor and director. The comparisons to "Rocky", inevitable as they are, should be a cautionary one though. The former was a true diamond in the rough honored as "Best Picture", while "Paradise" and it's characters have trouble defining themselves in post War 1946 Hell's Kitchen.

It seems as if each of the Carboni Brothers undergoes a personality change during the story. Cosmo (Stallone) is the schemer who prompts Victor (Lee Cannalito) to become a wrestler by going up against and defeating the house champion Big Glory (Frank McRae). Brother Lenny (Armand Assante) is at first protective of Victor, but with the wrestler's success in the ring, the tables turn and Cosmo begins to question Lenny's ethics and handling of the purses. Lenny becomes the stereotype of a boxing manager, deflecting questions about his integrity and how he's handling Vic's money.

For me, a couple of things didn't ring true historically for the film's 1940's setting. The characters of Annie (Anne Archer) and Bunchie (Joyce Ingalls) looked just a little bit too glamorous for the story's backdrop. As for the wrestling scenes, though well done and featuring some of the mid '70's top mat stars, they were based quite heavily on the actual wrestling style of the seventies. You had your grappling moves defined by flips and throws, punctuated by a Ray Stevens maneuver as he catapults into a turnbuckle. However most mat action prior to the 1960's was anything but, with rare exception. Even the widely available 1960 championship bout between Buddy Rogers and Pat O'Connor featured a lot of stale and boring rest holds.

Ironically, I just saw this film again on the cable Yes Network hosted by Yogi Berra in a format titled "Yogi and a Movie". Between scenes, the famed Yankee great would talk about his youth and watching pro wrestlers like Lou Thesz and Strangler Lewis. Story boards between acts mentioned a lot of trivia about the film that appears on the IMDb site for this movie, which leads me to believe that it could have been a reference point for the presentation.

There are a number of reasons to check out "Paradise Alley", and not just to be a Stallone completist. The filming style, particularly some of the bar scenes with their red tint lends a certain uniqueness to the movie. Another is the voice of Sly Stallone singing "Too Close to Paradise" over the opening credits and the rooftop race against "Rat" (Paul Mace). The one scene though that will test your patience is Victor singing to his parakeet, it's probably the one scene in film history that had me wishing for fingernails on a chalkboard.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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