Although Broadway Danny Rose might be considered one of Woody Allen’s more minor movies, it is a thoroughly charming and often extremely amusing Runyonesque moral fable.
Allen himself plays the kind, well-meaning but small-time showbiz agent of the title, a nebbish whose problem is that as soon as one of his clients actually makes it, they drop him in favour of a big-name agent. Danny’s eclectic collection of clients includes a one-armed juggler, a skating penguin and a one-legged tap dancer.
Danny, stuck with washed-up overweight Italian crooner Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte) who is attempting a comeback, unwittingly gets involved with the singer’s mistress, Tina Vitale (Mia Farrow, brilliantly cast against type as a vulgar blonde bimbo) – who is also the girlfriend of a member of the Mafia!
Danny and Tina soon find themselves on the run and after a funny Mafia garden-party set-piece, the chase takes them through barren wasteground (“My husband’s friends used to dump bodies here”) and a warehouse containing floats for the city parade where helium gas is released into the air with comic results.
The film is not only funny but is also touchingly nostalgic about the old vaudeville days.
Nick Apollo Forte