A sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Vietnam. 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
Hank and Frannie don't seem to be able to live together anymore. After a five-year relationship, lustful and dreamy Fanny leaves down-to-earth Hank on the anniversary of their relationship.... See full summary »
Having discovered that she is pregnant, Natalie Ravenna (Shirley Knight), a Long Island housewife panics and leaves home to see if she might just possibly have made something different out ... See full summary »
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
A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a... See full summary »
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous. Written by
Colin Tinto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Cotton Club is a dazzling, complex film that attempts so much it would be almost impossible for nearly any director to pull it off. But Francis Ford Coppola is not any director, so The Cotton Club is not just any movie. Rather, it succeeds at practically all levels and is certainly a film worth coming back to again and again.
Set in Harlem in the late 1920s, we are introduced to a group of Jazz Age-products, people who see themselves exactly as they are but all hope to go somewhere better. Two story lines occupy the plot; we get a good-looking young musician Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) who gets involved in the mob after falling for one of the gangster's girlfriends (Diane Lane) and we get the story of a very talented black dancer (Gregory Hines) trying to prove his love to a half-black and half-white chorus girl who seems to struggle with her place in this more or less racist society. Almost every night, everyone gathers at The Cotton Club, one of the most famous clubs in the city and the blacks entertain while the whites drink and watch. But Coppola gives us a view from all angles so it doesn't feel as if we are missing anything important.
One of the biggest achievements of this film is its staging of the dance sequences, which are to say the least quite exquisite. Filled with colorful costumes and some mind-boggling tap numbers, at times you may forget that this is also a gangster picture. Indeed, some scenes feel just like Coppola's The Godfather with its quick bursts of violence but also in its tone of sad, elegiac setting. People come and go and some regret the things they do, but the music lives on. The acting is also very strong as Gere and Lane are quite wonderful in their first of three films together. Both were very good-looking and they do bring out the best in each other. Two supporting actors that really do steal the show are Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne as a mob boss and his head bodyguard. They share a tenacity and ferociousness in their dealings, but also have one really terrific scene involving Gwynne coming to see Hoskins after being kidnapped. A young Nicolas Cage also shows here he had incredible potential.
This Broadway version of the gangster film so familiar in Hollywood refreshes both genres as we see the similarities between the two. Indeed, many of the participators in the entertainment were also involved in the mob and Coppola shows how the two lives intertwine and bring a lot of trouble to everyone. This may seem as a strange mixing of genres and story lines for some people, but it is well worth the two hours. It is funny, sad, violent, poetic but also enormously entertaining and isn't that what the movies are all about? Coppola seems to think so.
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