The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) Poster


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In an interview in a Belgian magazine, Viggo Mortensen said that he was very proud to have played a small role in this movie during a difficult time of his life. When he proudly took his entire family to a movie theater to see it, he was extremely disappointed to find out that all of his scenes were cut from the final movie.
After this film was previewed, word got back to Woody Allen that if he just changed his ending, he could have a big hit. Allen declined, saying that the ending is one of the reasons he made the film.
Woody Allen has said more than once that this is his favorite of the movies he's made.
In an interview in Esquire, Woody Allen was asked why he didn't make a happy ending to the film. Allen replied, "That *was* the happy ending."
Jeff Daniels replaced Michael Keaton in the lead male role. Keaton was originally cast footage was shot for ten days. Director Woody Allen decided it wasn't working feeling, that Keaton, despite a good performance so far, was miscast being too contemporary for the part and was not fitting well into this period movie. Keaton had taken sizable salary cut to do a film with Allen. Apparently, Keaton was to appear in another later Allen film to make-up for this disappointment, but to date [June 2013], this has yet to occur.
Jeff Daniels opened a playhouse in his hometown of Chelsea, Michigan called "The Purple Rose."
Though classified as a comedy-fantasy-romance by the IMDb, the picture is also part of a group of films known as "Depression Era Dramas".
According to the Cannes Film Festival website, Woody Allen said of this film when it played there in 1985: "The seduction of fantasy, as opposed to the pain of real life, is a theme that has appeared in my work time and time again. This was something I never realized. It was pointed out to be my critics and friends over a period of years. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) is apparently my latest expression of this idea. (Some others were Play It Again, Sam (1972), Zelig (1983), Stardust Memories (1980) and my short story "The Kugelmass Episode"). I think this time I really did this subject the most entertainingly that I ever have and if you agree, I will not bother you with this theme again. Thank you".
The entire lead cast of The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), they being Jeff Daniels, Mia Farrow and Danny Aiello, all appear in Woody Allen's later movie Radio Days (1987).
Jeff Daniels' Tom Baxter character has the same "Baxter" last name as the character of Biff Baxter whom Daniels plays in Woody Allen's later film Radio Days (1987).
Part of this movie was filmed at the now-demolished Kent movie house where as a child Woody Allen would frequent the 12 cent picture shows there, and which Allen has said was "one of the great, meaningful places of my boyhood".
About eight years after the picture debuted, the film's premise was used for the later Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero (1993) where a screen idol comes out of reel life and into real life.
Around the time the movie was made and released, director Woody Allen and lead actress Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980.
Woody Allen has said of this film: "It was the one which came closest to my original conception".
The film was inspired by a number of influences. These were Buster Keaton's 1924 silent comedy Sherlock Jr. (1924), the 1941 comedy Hellzapoppin' (1941), Federico Fellini's The White Sheik (1952) and Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author".
Reportedly, actor Danny Aiello was so disappointed when he didn't get the Lou Canova role that went to Nick Apollo Forte in Broadway Danny Rose (1984), that Aiello apparently was depressed for two weeks. Woody Allen then made this up to actor Aiello by casting him in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), this being being Allen's next picture after Broadway Danny Rose (1984). Aiello had previously appeared in Allen's The Front (1976) in 1976 and then later co-starred in Allen's Radio Days (1987) in 1987.
For the amusement park scenes, filming was brought to the classic and now closed amusement park Bertrand Island which was located in Mount Arlington at Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. The park was quite a famous one in its heyday, and had closed shortly before filming commenced on the site. Some rides seen were the originals from the park, but others were props brought in by the film crew.
Woody Allen does not appear in this movie which he wrote and directed. This was the second Allen picture where he directed but did not star, the first had been 1978's Interiors (1978) around seven years earlier.
The fourth of thirteen cinema movie collaborations of actress Mia Farrow and actor-writer-director Woody Allen.
The fourteenth feature film directed by Woody Allen.
The production shoot for this film began in November 1983 whilst the picture did not debut until March 1985, sixteen months later.
The name of the shoe store was "O'Sullivan's Heels and Soles". The film's lead actress Mia Farrow's is the daughter of Maureen O'Sullivan, her last name being O'Sullivan.
The film was selected to screen out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 and was awarded the International Film Critics Prize by FIPRESCI.
According to the book 'Woody: Movies From Manhattan' (1996) by Julian Fox, Woody Allen demanded the film shoot in Piermont Village which is "a bleak town on the Hudson River....The shoot there stretched from a scheduled ten days to a chaotic three-and-a-half weeks. This was due to the early arrival of winter blizzards, just after the storm windows had been removed from the main street shops, ready for filming. For the sake of authenticity, storefronts and window displays had been altered in advance, the shopping area was sealed off and many locals suffered huge financial losses. Even seven months after the crew's arrival, reported Nick Rosen in London's Sunday Times, contractors were still trying to put the town back to normal".
Part of the movie is in black-and-white, which is all the scenes which feature the film within a film, "The Purple Rose of Cairo". The film is one of a number of pictures which were filmed in black-and-white by director Woody Allen during his immediate post-Annie Hall (1977) period between the late 1970s and early-mid 1980s. The films also include Manhattan (1979), Stardust Memories (1980), Zelig (1983) (also in color) and Broadway Danny Rose (1984). After The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Allen would then not make another b&w film for about another six years, until Shadows and Fog (1991) in 1991.
According to Eric Lax's book, this movie is one of Woody Allen's favorite films which are (in order): Match Point (2005), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Stardust Memories (1980), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993).
Second and final of two Woody Allen films featuring actress Stephanie Farrow, sister of Mia Farrow. The first had been Zelig (1983) around two years earlier.
Actor Jeff Daniels plays duals roles in this movie. Daniels plays both characters Tom Baxter and Gil Shepherd, but in one sense, as one character is an actor playing the other, a character, they are the one character in a sense.
Jeff Daniels's Gil Shepherd character has the same first name as Owen Wilson's Gil character in Woody Allen's later film Midnight in Paris (2011) made and released about twenty-six years later.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In an interview during the 1990s, Woody Allen said the meaning / message of this movie was that "life is ultimately disappointing".
Whilst doing publicity for Small Time Crooks (2000), Woody Allen said of this picture: "[The] Purple Rose [of Cairo] was a film that I just locked myself in a room . . . [and] I wrote it and halfway through it didn't go anywhere and I put it aside. I didn't know what to do. I toyed around with other ideas. Only when the idea hit me, a long time later, that the real actor comes to town and she has to choose between the [screen] actor and the real actor and she chooses the real actor and he dumps her, that was the time it became a real movie. Before that it wasn't. But the whole thing was manufactured".
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