Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

“May I interject one statement at this juncture? And I don’t mean to be didactic or facetious in any way …” In this often overlooked but frequently hilarious black-and-white comedy from Woody Allen, a group of comedians enjoying a meal at New York City’s world-famous Carnegie Deli start sharing humorous anecdotes about “Danny Rose” (Allen), a small-time talent agent who manages an eclectic stable of bad acts, including a blind xylophonist, elderly balloon folding couple, stuttering ventriloquist and one-legged tap dancer. Danny’s one promising act, “Lou Canova” (Nick Apollo Forte), is an over-the-hill, booze-swilling lounge singer seeking a comeback. Lou is having an affair with “Tina Vitale”, a wise-cracking, ex-gangster’s moll. Through a series of bizarre circumstances, the grief-stricken gangster orders a hit on Danny, thinking he is the one who stole his girlfriend. So Danny and Tina are suddenly on the run for their life, while a brooding Lou starts drinking heavily even though he’s got a big gig at the Waldorf Astoria that night. Unbeknownst to Danny, Lou has been goaded by Tina into seeking new representation in the form of powerful agent “Sid Bacharach” (Gerald Schoenfeld). The film culminates with one of Danny’s infamous Thanksgiving Day get-togethers with all his freaky acts enjoying frozen turkey TV dinners. The comedians featured include Sandy Baron, Corbette Monica, Jackie Gayle, Morty Gunty and Will Jordan. Also look for cameos by Jack Rollins (Allen’s longtime producer), Milton Berle, Howard Cosell and Joe Franklin. Sylvester Stallone was reportedly considered for the part of “Lou Canova.”

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