Broadway Danny Rose (1984) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

  • Danny Rose is a manager of artists, and although he's not very successful, he nevertheless goes out of his way to help his acts. So when Lou Canova, a singer who has a chance of making a come-back, asks Danny to help him with a problem, Danny helps him. This problem is Lou's mistress Tina. Lou wants Tina to be at his concerts, otherwise he can't perform, but he's married, so Danny has to take her along as if she was his girlfriend. Danny however gets more than he has bargained for when two mobsters come looking for the guy who has hurt their brother by stealing the heart of Tina, the girl he loves.

  • At the Carnegie Deli in New York City, a group of comics are kvetching about their common professional lives. One of the more interesting topics of conversation centers on theatrical manager (aka talent agent) Danny Rose, who represents those who can't get better agents but who has always been committed to his clients. They talk most specifically about a rumored incident that took place approximately ten years ago, when Danny's most famous client was washed-up lounge singer Lou Canova, who had some minor fame in the 1950s and who was trying to make a comeback during an era when lounge singers were mostly seen as being hack performers. Despite being married with children, Lou was having an affair with brash blonde Tina Vitale, who Lou wanted at one of his performances. As such, Danny agreed to be a beard in being Tina's date. What Danny did not know was that Tina had casual mob ties, including her ex-husband being entrenched within the organization. Through no fault of Danny's own besides protecting his client Lou, Danny became the target of the mob.

  • Danny Rose (played by Woody Allen) is a theatrical agent. He has a wide and often odd assortment of clients but will do anything for them. One of his clients, Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte) - a washed up crooner from the 50s who is undergoing a resurgence, asks Danny to accompany his mistress, Tina (Mia Farrow), to one of his concerts - her presence helps him perform. Danny naturally obliges. However, Tina is also seeing a mob boss and when Danny is seen with her, the mob boss assumes Tina is two-timing him with Danny. This results in Danny and Tina being hunted by the mob. Adventures and hilarity ensue.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In New York City, several veteran comedians bide their time at the Carnegie Deli, discussing the old days. Soon they are recalling theatrical agent, Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen), and his motley assortment of minor league talent, including a blind xylophone player, a one-legged tap dancer, a one-armed juggler, balloon folders, and a blonde-haired virtuoso of the water glasses. After trading stories about Danny's devotion to his clients, one of the comedians claims he has the greatest Broadway Danny Rose story, one involving Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), a has-been, overweight Italian-American crooner with a big ego, a drinking problem and one hit song from the fifties.

    The comedian tells his story: Danny, who is devoted to his clients, attends Lou's nightclub performance and afterward is uneasy when the married Lou, who is saddled with alimony obligations from a previous marriage, purchases a single white rose from a flower shop for his mistress, Tina Vitale (Mia Farrow). Acquainted with Lou's wife Teresa (Sandy Richman) and their twelve-year-old daughter, Danny warns Lou against extra-marital affairs. The nostalgia craze has made it easier for Danny to book Lou on cruise ships and local television shows.

    When famous comedian, Milton Berle, tells Danny he is looking for talent for his nostalgia-themed television special and his Las Vegas opening act, Danny sees a chance for Lou to make a comeback and convinces Berle to attend Lou's upcoming performance at the Waldorf. As Lou exercises on a treadmill to shed pounds, Danny works almost exclusively with him to prepare his performance, at the expense of his other clients. When Lou insists that he needs Tina at the performance to give him confidence, Danny considers it unwise because Teresa will be there. However, Lou begs him to "be the beard" and pretend to be Tina's date, so that her presence will not arouse suspicion.

    On the day of the performance, Danny ventures outside his comfort zone of Manhattan to pick up Tina, and when he arrives at her apartment, he finds her screaming at Lou on the phone, accusing him of two-timing her with a "cheap blonde" at the racetrack. She refuses to go to the performance, but Danny takes the phone and assures Lou they will both be there. Trying to convince Tina that her suspicions are unwarranted, Danny follows her to the home of her fortuneteller, Angelina, who urges Tina to resolve all her relationship problems.

    Acting on Angelina's advice, Tina makes an hour-long drive to a large estate in the suburbs, where her family and others connected to a crime organization have gathered for a party. Intent on settling old affairs, Tina meets with her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Rispoli (Edwin Bordo), who is unwilling to accept that their relationship is over and who, by stalking her, has learned about the single white roses she receives daily from her current lover. Presuming Danny is her new love interest, Johnny calls him "Danny White Roses," but Danny insists he is only a theatrical agent.

    While continuing to urge Tina to attend Lou's performance, Danny tells Tina how he has nurtured Lou's career, by picking out his clothes and teaching him to budget money, and developing the way Lou tosses the microphone during a performance. When Danny demurs that he is not a Cary Grant in the looks department, Tina says she likes intellectuals and that he is a smooth talker. She adds that Angelina predicted that she would marry a Jew or someone musical.

    When Johnny captures the attention of the crowd and claims that Danny seduced Tina away from him, Danny and Tina feel compelled to escape from the party in Danny's car. As they race away, Danny learns Tina's husband, an underworld debt collector, was murdered by the mob. Shortly after they leave the party, Johnny's mother declares a vendetta and sends her other sons, hit men Vito and Joe, after Danny.

    At a coffee shop, when Tina realizes they are being followed, she and Danny abandon the car and run through New Jersey flat lands to evade the brothers, and make their way to Manhattan by boat. On the other side of the Hudson, Tina makes a call and afterward warns Danny to lie low in a hotel for a few days. Balking, Danny insists he must get his pills and other items, so she accompanies him to his apartment. There, she suggests decorating ideas, such as a bamboo motif and zebra skins, to lighten up the dreary place. To support her ambition to be an interior decorator, Danny quotes his Uncle Morris, "the famous diabetic from Brooklyn," on the importance of confidence. Tina then shares her philosophy, "See what you want, go for it," adding that one should "do it to the other guy 'cause if you don't he'll do it to you." Danny says Tina's philosophy sounds like the screenplay to the film, Murder Inc. , and counters with the words of his Uncle Sidney, "acceptance, forgiveness and love," which he calls a real philosophy of life.

    The Rispoli brothers eventually catch up and kidnap Danny and Tina and take them to a remote warehouse where floats and balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day are stored. When the brothers threaten Danny with pistols, he protests that he is "just a beard." Under duress, Danny offers up the name Barney Dunn as the real lover, because he knows that Barney, the world's worst ventriloquist, was scheduled to perform on a cruise ship and is therefore far from danger.

    When Danny and Tina are left alone, tied face-to-face to each other, they manage to wriggle loose, but as they leave the warehouse, they must dodge bullets fired at them. When a bullet hits a helium truck used to inflate the Macy's balloons, both the hit man's threats and the intended victims' pleas for mercy sound like the voices of cartoon characters.

    After escaping, Danny and Tina take a cab back to the theater to find Lou drunk backstage. At Teresa's request, Danny makes his special concoction for counteracting drunkenness and, completely cured, Lou soon sings "My Bambina" from the Waldorf stage. In the audience, Danny shares a table with an approving Milton Berle and Howard Cosell, while another talent agent, Sid Bacharach, watches from another corner of the room. After his successful performance, Lou confesses to Danny that he is signing with Sid Bacharach and has Tina's approval. Danny later learns that the Rispoli brothers beat up Barney Dunn, so he offers to pay Barney's hospital bills. Tina moves in with Lou but finds she's having bad dreams, a case of "bad conscience" according to her fortuneteller. When Lou's success leads to television work in California, Tina refuses to accompany him.

    On Thanksgiving Day, Tina goes to Danny's apartment and finds him serving frozen turkey TV dinners to his guests, Barney Dunn and his longtime clients. Although she apologizes and reminds Danny of his Uncle Sidney's words of wisdom, "acceptance, forgiveness, and love," Danny rejects her. However, he then pursues her down the city streets, past the Carnegie Deli, and takes her back to his place. In the present, the Carnegie Deli comedians comment on the ultimate achievement of Broadway Danny Rose, "They named a sandwich after him--at this very deli."

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