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 character Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) is likely based on real life actor George Raft. Raft grew up dirt poor in New York's Hell's Kitchen. As a young man he worked as a driver / gopher for gangster Owney Madden (also depicted in this film). After his stint working for Madden he went to California and tried his hand at acting, eventually achieving considerable success playing tough guy rolls in various gangster movies; performances he based largely on Owney Madden and Benjamin Bugsy Siegel with whom he was also know to associate. See more »
When Dixie goes to ransom Frenchy there is a different amount of shaving cream on Mad Dog's face in every shot. See more »
[Frenchy has just broken Owney's watch]
You cheap son of a bitch! You only offered $500 for me?
If you were kidnapped, I wouldn't offer more than that for you!
That's what I heard!
50 grand! I paid 50 grand! They only wanted 35 but I gave 50 not to hurt you. $500. I would've given 500,000 for you. I been worried sick about you. Look at what you done to my fuckin' watch.
[Frenchy hands Owney a box that Owney opens]
[...] 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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