: : : The Cotton Club

Story

The Cotton Club is routinely eclipsed by the controversies that surrounded its tumultuous production, but the film itself offers abundant pleasures that should not be overlooked. If Apocalypse Now represents the triumph of director Francis Coppola's perilous ambition, then The Cotton Club represents the ungainly glory of uncontrolled genius, as brilliant as it is out of its depth. As an upscale homage to classic gangster films it's frequently astonishing, cramming a thick novel's worth of plot and characters into 129 minutes, gloriously serviced by impeccable production design, elegant cinematography, and stylistic flourishes that show Coppola at the top of his game.

What The Cotton Club lacks is cohesion. As written by Coppola and novelist William Kennedy (then enjoying the peak of his critical acclaim), the movie struggles to exceed the narrative scope of The Godfather, but its multiple early-'30s plot lines fail to form any strong connective tissue. It's three (or four) movies in one, with cornet player Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere, playing his own jazzy solos) drifting from one story to the next--loving a young, ambitious vamp (Diane Lane, with whom Gere shares precious little chemistry), enjoying the success of a hotshot hoofer (Gregory Hines), and protecting his brazen bother (Coppola's then-newcomer nephew, Nicolas Cage) from the deadly temper of mob boss Dutch Schultz (James Remar). Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne also score big in grand supporting roles, but The Cotton Club is perhaps best appreciated for its meticulous re-creation of Harlem's Cotton Club heyday, and the brilliant music (Ellington, Calloway, etc.) that brought rhythm to gangland's rat-a-tat-tat. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Richard GereDixie Dwyer
Gregory HinesSandman Williams
Diane LaneVera Cicero
Lonette McKeeLila Rose Oliver
Bob HoskinsOwney Madden
James RemarDutch Schultz
Nicolas CageVincent Dwyer
Allen GarfieldAbbadabba Berman
Fred GwynneFrenchy Demange
Gwen VerdonTish Dwyer
Lisa Jane PerskyFrances Flegenheimer
Maurice HinesClay Williams
Julian BeckSol Weinstein
Novella NelsonMadame St. Clair
Laurence FishburneBumpy Rhodes
John P. RyanJoe Flynn
Tom WaitsIrving Stark
Ron KarabatsosMike Best
Glenn WithrowEd Popke
Jennifer GreyPatsy Dwyer
James RussoVince Hood
Giancarlo EspositoBumpy Hood
Bill CobbsBig Joe Ison
Marc CoppolaTed Husing
Sofia CoppolaChild in Street
Mario Van PeeblesDancer

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producer: MGM/UA
  • Length: 127 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaDec 14, 1984
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaApr 2, 2002
Buy Now $  Compare Prices
The Cotton Club mini icon
0 / 10
Rate
(0.0737/d/web8)