Danny Rose is a guy so focused on his job he doesn't even seem to notice when he's tied in the missionary position to a beautiful woman. In 1984's Broadway Danny Rose, we watch this manager for various small time entertainers energetically untangling a complex adventure imposed between him and getting his act on stage. It's a good movie with the sweetness and nervous energy popularly associated with Woody Allen films.
Allen directs the film and plays the title character. The story's told with a framing device of a bunch of comedians at a deli telling old stories about Danny and the assortment of acts he handles ranging from ventriloquists to lounge singers.
Finally, one comedian, Sandy Baron (playing himself, like many comedians in the film) starts telling the story that makes up the bulk of the film, of the time Danny had some extraordinary trouble getting a singer named Lou Canova onstage to perform in front of a crowd that included Milton Berle.
Lou's afraid of going onstage without the woman he's in love with watching him--his mistress, a woman connected to the Italian mafia named Tina, played against type by Mia Farrow.
She wears big dark glasses for almost the whole film and has hair piled up on her head to help make her look taller than Allen. But Farrow's performance also does a lot to overcome her natural delicate quality to seem like the tough dame her character's meant to be.
When a misunderstanding leads to Danny being mistaken for the guy who caused Tina to break the heart of a member of a prominent mob family, his tenacious attempts to persuade her to show up to Lou's show are compounded by a chase. There's a hit on Danny--he complains about how he can't stay in a hotel that evening because his medication's in his apartment. He complains about leaving his car at the diner he and Tina have to flee when mobsters show up. But when it comes to the subject of getting her to Lou's show, he makes no complaints for himself and has no reservations.
One of the comedians in the deli mentions how Danny had tried to be a stand-up comedian for a while himself before realising he didn't have what it took. Maybe that's why he fights so hard for his acts. In any case is focus is funny, especially when the situation is as absurd as when he and Tina are tied together and he never mentions sex. But the comedy doesn't stop his focus from being admirable and it's at the heart of what makes this film so good.
Twitter Sonnet #543
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