Oscar®-winners* Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo rejoin forces to create a mesmerizing (L.A. Weekly) homage to 1930s gangster films and musicals. Nominated** for three Oscars® The Cotton Club is a genuine vision (Newsweek) of the golden age of jazz you won t soon forget!1928 New York. Spirits are high and sultry jazz lively dancing and ruthless gangsters rule supreme. In the center of it all is Harlem s Cotton Club. Playing on stage is cornet player Dixie Dwyer (Gere) who dreams of the big time but he s too mixed up with the club s owner (Hoskins) -- and his sexy moll (Lane) -- to get anywhere fast. Add the frustration of tap sensation Sandman Williams (Hines) who can t touch his girl the lovely lounge singer Lea Rose Oliver (Lonette McKee) and you ve got a short fuse ready to go. As tensions rise so do tempers and the legendary nightclub becomes a pressure cooker of jilted loves and mob jobs that blows the lid off one of the most shocking showdowns ever staged.System Requirements: Running Time 129 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 027616864369 Manufacturer No: 1002205
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