The Cotton Club Encore: Ignore the Gangsters
The Cotton Club Encore
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by William Kennedy and Francis Ford Coppola
I’ve not seen the original, but this encore version has a not-interesting gangster story interspersed with incredible vocal and dance performances by the entertainers performing at the Cotton Club.* Richard Gere wanders around in dark sun glasses playing his coronet** looking troubled, while meanwhile Gregory Hines has actual problems*** It’s fun to see actors looking young**** but this is a very long movie that has its focus on the wrong thing.
The verdict: Skip
(or watch it and fast forward to the performance scenes)
Cost: $1.99 via Redbox OnDemand
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- Cabin in the Sky (Racism alert! But great performances!)
*That’s right! You can fast forward through all of the gangster plot and just hang out at the Cotton Club.
**Much is made of the fact that Gere is really playing that coronet.
***Making the choice between being a solo act or sticking with his brother; being in love with a woman who makes choices that make it difficult to be in a relationship with her; the fact that he’s underpaid because his artistry can be exploited.
****1984 was kind of a long time ago, it turns out. Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane (very young!) Nicolas Cage (also very young!) Bob Hoskins, and Laurence Fishburne.
- Have you ever watched a film for reasons other than the main plot?
- What’s your favorite “performances” film?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Laurence Fishburne’s character, Bumpy Rhodes, was based on real-life Harlem gangster Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson. Fishburne would play Bumpy in Hoodlum (1997) 13 years later.
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