The Cotton Club (1984)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1984.  Zoetrope Studios, Producers Sales Organization, Totally Independent, Robert Evans Company.  Story by , Francis Ford Coppola, , Screenplay by William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by the pictorial history by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Only a filmmaker of Francis Ford Coppola’s skill could make such a mess of a film into something so enjoyable. The weakly plotted screenplay intends to tell of two sets of brothers, one white (, Nicolas Cage) and one black (, ), though the story really focuses on Gere and Hines and their careers in music and not as much on their siblings.  It takes place in the thirties, when Harlem’s Cotton Club was the center of New York nightlife, an endlessly hopping joint where African American musicians performed onstage but were not allowed to enter as guests. Gere romances a gangster moll (Diane Lane), Hines romances a singer (), and the goings-on of the club with the owners and their business entanglements make up the rest of the experience.  Coppola never really knows where to go with so many characters, but he wisely creates an eye-popping spectacle of lights and colours that is vivid and palpable. The music score is gorgeous, with hit songs coming at you from every angle to please the aural senses as effectively as the beautiful production design pleases the visual. McKee’s performance of ‘Ill Wind’ is especially memorable.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola)

One Comment Add yours

  1. James Rodgers says:

    Susan Mechsner Co Starred in this film

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