Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1985. Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, Orion Pictures. Screenplay by Woody Allen. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Robert Greenhut. Music by Dick Hyman. Production Design by Stuart Wurtzel. Costume Design by Jeffrey Kurland. Film Editing by Susan E. Morse. Academy Awards 1985. Golden Globe Awards 1985.
In 1984, Woody Allen gave La Strada a twist with his Broadway Danny Rose, and now The Purple Rose of Cairo brings back shades of Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. Mia Farrow gives her best performance to date as a meek New Jersey housewife whose mental survival of the Depression revolves around seeing every movie that plays at her local theatre. She sees one film in particular so many times that the main actor (Jeff Daniels) actually walks off the screen to meet and subsequently fall in love with her. Funny and brilliant, this is one of Allen’s most accessible and enjoyable works (and noted by him as his favourite of his own films). Danny Aiello, Dianne Wiest and Glenne Headly all lend excellent support, but the film belongs to Farrow’s beautiful eyes. Fantasy is rarely blended with reality so well.