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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Woody's best
Woody Allen has long admired the works of both Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, and while he has done other movies that intentionally (and not very successfully, in my opinion) mimic those two great directors, I think "Purple Rose of Cairo" is his better homage to Fellini. He captures the same poignant combination of humor and pathos as Fellini does in his earlier...
Published on March 27, 2002 by R. Geatz

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The film's still good but this is a 4-3 transfer blown up to ...
The film's still good but this is a 4-3 transfer blown up to 16-9. So the film is cropped seriously on the sides, and when you enlarge it for wide screen televisions everybody's heads are cropped off. Come on, these are great classics, with gorgeus cinematography. We want the real thing, not cheap rip offs. It's just not good enough. Two stars off for the crap transfer...
Published 5 months ago by addison de witt


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Woody's best, March 27, 2002
By 
R. Geatz (Washington, DC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
Woody Allen has long admired the works of both Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, and while he has done other movies that intentionally (and not very successfully, in my opinion) mimic those two great directors, I think "Purple Rose of Cairo" is his better homage to Fellini. He captures the same poignant combination of humor and pathos as Fellini does in his earlier masterpieces "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria." In fact, the concluding scene of Cecilia (Mia Farrow) staring at the movie screen, her eyes transforming from despair to hope (as her life has just gone down the toilet) is a mirror of the concluding scene in Fellini's "Cabiria." This is also Allen's most loving tribute to "the movies." Movies allow us to escape to a better world and--at least temporarily--to escape our selves. The cast is great--especially the wonderful supporting characters who seem right out of the Depression era, as are those who play the movie characters who get stranded on-screen when one of their colleagues steps out into the real world. While this may not be one of Woody Allen's most popular films, it is a near-perfect little gem.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good As It Gets, June 19, 2003
By 
sweetmolly (RICHMOND, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
Take a Woody Allen movie where Woody politely stays BEHIND the camera. Add a perfectly cast Mia Farrow as a waif-like dreamer of a girl, living in the grinding poverty of the 1930's Depression and married to an blustering, brutal man. Top it off with a brilliant dual performance by Jeff Daniels who is a cinematic film hero who steps out of the screen and the actor who plays this hooky playing fictional character.
Cecilia (Mia Farrow) works as a waitress (on the verge of being fired). Her life is grim, living in a tenement with her no-account husband (Danny Aiello). Her one pleasure is the movies that she attends daily. Her favorite is "The Purple Rose of Cairo," and the explorer character "Tom Baxter" brings radiance to her eyes that never leave him. After multiple viewings, one day "Tom" falters in his lines, seems distracted, then steps out of the film and joins Cecilia in the audience. The cast and audience are suitably stunned; the cast enjoining him to get back on the screen so they can finish the movie, and the audience grumbling they didn't pay good money to watch the cast arguing among themselves. "Tom" is resolute, and out they walk, he in his pith helmet and explorer togs, Cecilia radiant. The movie industry is appalled worried about litigation and insurrection if characters start walking off the screen. Gil Shepard, the actor who played"Tom" is sent to the scene to talk "Tom" into getting back onscreen where he belongs. "Tom" clearly is innocent of what the "real" (as opposed to "reel") world is about. He is in love with Cecilia and she allows that he "is the perfect man. Of course, he's fictional." Real life "Gil," Tom, and Cecilia meet. The ending is surprisingly intense.
Jeff Daniels is dazzling as Gil/Tom. He handles both roles to perfection. The interaction among Daniels, Farrow, and Aiello is flawless. Much as I wanted to thoroughly despise Aiello as the low-life husband, he managed to make me laugh and feel sorry for him with his bravado performance. All the jokes and humor work in "The Purple Rose of Cairo," which isn't the case in many Allen movies. I believe this is Woody Allen's valentine to his beloved movies. It couldn't be better. Even if you are a dedicated Allenophobe, see this movie. You won't be disappointed.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an original film!, May 1, 2002
By 
Leonard L. Riggs Jr. (Christopher, Il United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
I hadn't seen this movie since 1985 when it first came out and was excited to find it on DVD and it was a great as I remembered! This is an original fantasy that is a lot of fun. Mia Farrow is charming as Cecilia, a woman in the depression era who is addicted to movies. Jeff Daniels plays the character from the movie "The Purple Rose of Cairo" whom she fantasizes about. The fun begins when Jeff Daniels character walks off the screen and into Cecilia's life.....but reality soon sets in when the REAL actor gets wind that his character has walked off the screen.....the movie is simply wonderful and forgoes the typical happy ending....favoring REALITY over fantasy. Watch it you won't be disappointed. Even if you don't care for Woody Allen movies, I know you'll love this one!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Woody Allen films, by far!, December 4, 2004
"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is one of those rare films whose concept is intriguing as the end product. "Rose" is witty, thoughtful, masterfully directed and acted, and, for once, we get a chance to enjoy Woody Allen's great talent as a skillful director, without his setting foot on the screen (not even in a cameo--like Alfred Hitchcock did in all of his films).

Cecilia (Mia Farrow), is a waitress at a diner, during a time in the 1920s when the Great Depression has set in, times are tough, jobs are scarce and the people are looking for an escape. What better way to seek a diversion than in a movie theatre, where one can live a life of romance, comedy, drama and adventure, vicariously through the larger-than-life actors on the projecting screen?

Cecilia's all-consuming passion for films is her one refuge from the grim life she has built with her abusive, philandering husband (Danny Aiello). One of her favorite films, by far, is "The Purple Rose of Cairo." When she likes a film she will see it over and over again, almost nightly. Furthermore, when she isn't in the movie theatre watching the film she knows almost line-for-line, she discusses the plot and the smoldering actors with her co-workers. Cecilia may have stepped away from the fantasy of the silver screen, once the picture has ended, but it lives on in her heart long afterwards.

One night, when she goes to "The Purple Rose of Cairo" for the upteenth time, the adventuresome and brawny Tom Baxter, the romantic lead (Jeff Daniels), sees the starstruck Cecilia sitting alone in the theatre, and literally steps off of the screen to be with this mysterious and beautiful woman whose life revolves around films and melding life on screen with life in the day-to-day world. This has never happened before, and Tom causes quite a stir in the film world, as well as up on screen, because the characters literally cannot leave the scene they were acting in until he returns. Also, the actor who portrays Tom Baxter is stunned and concerned that his clone, or, rather, his character has taken on a life of his own in the 3-D world!

This film truly has staying power from beginning to end. It is packed with witty dialogue, clever insight and plenty of warm, over the top humor that is, oftentimes, uproariously funny. You can tell that Woody Allen wrote and directed this film as a tribute to the films that inspired him--perhaps, to become the great director and screenwriter that he is today. "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is truly an underrated masterpiece.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Mr. Allen, December 24, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
Every element from humor to heartbreak make this ingenious film one of the best ever. Mia Farrow gives us both giddy childishness and unspeakable sadness in what is surely one of her best performances. I am not an Allen fan per se and was surprised at the emotional impact this had on me when it was released back in the 80's. I must have seen it 5 or 6 times and was grateful that Allen sat this one out in terms of acting.
The cast is superb and it emphasizes just how the cinema has long been the escape from a world that can be unbearably cruel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Miniature Masterpiece, April 10, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
If Woody Allen thinks this is his finest film, I'm not surprised. It's flawless. Brilliantly written, brilliantly acted, superbly plotted. Faultless. Daniels and Farrow are perfectly stunning in their parts. Whatever happended to Jeff Daniels? Why is this the only film I've seen him in? He plays this part with the lightest of touches: it's like whipped cream. Farrow is incredible, retaining always the slight reserve of suspicion that things can't be quite what they seem, which just about makes the ending bearable. The real mastery of the writing and direction is that what threatens to be a one-joke plot never topples over and falls flat. The juggling keeps the balls in the air with such delicate skill that the only possible reaction is one of pure admiration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional; but you can't have everything, March 2, 2007
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo ranks among his better films. The film centers on the experiences of a poor woman named Cecilia who is played wonderfully by Mia Farrow. Cecilia is trapped in a loveless marriage to a brute named Monk who is played by Danny Aiello.

Cecilia has a job as a waitress in a small diner during the depression and although she tries to work hard she can't help but fantasize and chat about the movies with her sister who also works at the same diner. Cecilia's only comfort is in the movie theater watching glamorous but highly contrived movies about rich people who aren't suffering from poverty and the scorn of her husband. Cecilia eventually loses her job and after catching Monk being unfaithful to her she winds up watching The Purple Rose Of Cairo endlessly at the small movie theater in their town.

Imagine Cecilia's surprise when one of the characters, the dashing all-American type guy Tom Baxter, decides to leave the film, jump from the screen into the audience, and run away with Cecilia! Tom represents the purity of heart and the true compassion that Cecilia longs for in her real marriage. She knows Tom is fictional because he came off the movie screen; but Tom maintains he's never going back because he wants to experience the real world with Cecilia as his new bride.

Of course, all of this horrifies the movie theater manager and the Hollywood studio that produced the film entitled The Purple Rose Of Cairo. How inconvenient this is for Gil Shepherd, too, the actor who portrayed Tom Baxter in the film! The movie studio executives and Gil Shepherd hatch a plan to get Tom to return to the movie--but will it work? What would happen if Tom returned to the movie but took Cecilia with him into the land of make believe?

The Purple Rose Of Cairo is a film you cannot afford to miss. Mia Farrow as Cecilia, Danny Aiello as Monk, Cecilia's husband and Jeff Daniels as both Gil and Tom all give some of the most convincing performances I've ever seen. Their performances moved me and engaged my attention much longer than I initially thought they would.

This movie deals with the universal human desire to escape the pain and boredom of everyday life so many of us experience and to replace that misery with a world in which there are no real problems and everyone has money or at the very least a secure job. Cecilia represents us all as she delights to Tom's world of relative innocence and harmony. Therein lies the true strength of this film.

The cinematography shines: I like the scenes in the movie house where you see the film being screened within Woody Allen's picture. The scenes filmed in the amusement park reflect careful forethought concerning lighting and camera angles. The choreography amazes me: I love the scenes in which both the movie theater patrons and the actors in the film are stunned by Tom's decision to leave the movie and they all move about simultaneously in ways that prove good judgment on the part of Woody Allen and his colleagues who worked on this film.

Overall, The Purple Rose Of Cairo will remain an excellent film as long as the human condition and the quality of our lives are imperfect. Everybody dreams of a world where their true desires are reality and their troubles disappear. The Purple Rose Of Cairo elegantly explores this theme with sophistication, wit and poignancy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, October 9, 2006
This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
An absolutely masterpiece, Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is a great movie that even people who don't usually like Woody Allen might like. I love Woody Allen and out of all of the films I've seen by him (7, I think) this is in my top 3 (below Annie Hall and Manhattan). The movie blends comedy, romance, drama, and features a genuinely sad ending. Allen's baby mama (and wife's mama) Mia Farrow plays Cecilia, a Depression-era housewife trapped in an unhappy marriage. She works as a waitress, makes little money, and is clumsy which frequently pisses off her boss. To escape from everything, she goes to the movies. When she sees the newest movie, 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' she falls in love with the character Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels); When Cecilia is finally fired from her job, she sees the movie five times in a row prompting the character Tom to take notice. In doing so, he walks right out of the screen and into the arms of Cecilia. Leaving his fellow characters trapped in the movie and needing him to come back, Tom takes off from the theatre prompting management to call the films producers. When the actor who plays Tom, Gil Shepherd (Jeff Daniels again) gets wind of it...He fears his career may be in jeopardy and he seeks out Tom, but falls in love with Cecilia in the process. Meanwhile, on screens across America; The Tom Baxters are going haywire, forgetting their lines and trying get out of the movie. It's definitely a strange and original idea that could fail in the wrong hands. Any fan of Allen's should love it, but I did say that non-Allen fans would like it too. Here's why. If you don't like Woody Allen because of his work (a lot of people don't like him because of the Soon-Yi debacle), then it's probably because you don't like the neurotic character that's featured in almost all of his films (and almost always played by him) or you don't look his way of storytelling (the Greek thing in "Mighty Aphrodite" or the three endings in "Sweet and Lowdown"); This film has no neurotic Woody character, straight-forward storytelling. The only way you could even tell it's a Woody Allen movie is from the score and the credit sequences. This is a truly wonderful movie and I highly recommend it.

GRADE: A
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALLEN'S "THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO" LOOKS EXCEPTIONAL ON BLU-RAY FROM TWILIGHT TIME, January 21, 2015
Twilight Time is showing itself to be one of the best independent companies when it comes to providing excellent Blu-ray presentations for fans and film collectors alike. Fans of Woody Allen can now celebrate once again with Twilight's release of "The Purple Rose of Cairo"(1985) making it's Blu-ray debut this week. This is the fourth Allen film to be released by Twilight in the last year following "Crimes and Misdemeanors", "Broadway Danny Rose" and "Radio Days" all from Allen's Orion Pictures period where he made over eleven films in a nine year span(1982-1991). Made right before "Hannah and Her Sisters"(his most popular film during his Orion years), "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is an enchanting romantic fantasy comedy that fits nicely as a companion piece to "Radio Days". The story takes place in 1935 during the height of the Great Depression and centers around Cecilia, a clumsy New Jersey waitress played by Mia Farrow who escapes her loveless and abusive marriage by going to the movies and dreaming of a better life. It's what happens during the showing of a fictional RKO film called "The Purple Rose of Cairo" that sets the story in motion and the results are delightful to say the least. MGM(which owns the Orion catalog) has provided Twilight with an exceptional print for "Rose" and the cinematography by the great Gordon Willis is really on display now on Blu-ray. Willis uses a film stock that is similar to the one he used for "The Godfather" which makes the New Jersey locations all the more depressing for Cecilia but do not detract from the nostalgia of the story. The entire production design(Stuart Wurtzel) looks fabulous in Blu-ray which is really highlighted in the Art Direction(Edward Pisoni) and Set Decoration(Carol Joffe) so much so that it makes you feel the entire film was made in 1935 instead of 1985. This is very apparent in the B&W film that is projected in the theatre that Cecilia visits and where a lot of the action takes place(There is a poster in the lobby for the 1935 Ronald Colman film "Clive of India" that tips viewers off concerning the time period of "Rose"). Allen makes great use of locations, including the Bertrand Island Amusement Park and the Kent Theater with costumes and automobiles having a very authentic and lived in look that is brought out even more on Blu-ray. There are no vertical lines, torn or damage frames and only a few specks in what is overall an exceptional video presentation. Acting honors once again must go to Mia Farrow who gives an exceptional performance as Cecilia. Farrow did some of her best work during her association with Woody Allen and that's certainly on display here. She gets great support from Danny Aiello and Jeff Daniels. The Audio( English 1.0 DTS-HD MA) is crystal clear and free of any noise artifacts(hiss, pops, etc.) "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is 82 minutes(Aspect ratio: 1.85:1) and only contains the following subtitle: English SDH. Special features include an isolated music score track and the theatrical trailer. There is an informative booklet by film historian Julie Kirgo also included. The Blu-ray disc itself is housed in a standard solid Blu-ray case(Note: I purchased this Blu-ray directly from Screen Archives Entertainment for a lot less than what some sellers are asking). If you are a fan of Woody Allen then Twilight's new Blu-ray of "The Purple Rose of Cairo" should be essential to your film collection and comes highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Tom Baxter's come down off the screen and he's running around New Jersey!... Nobody knows how it happened, but he's done it.", March 16, 2007
By 
Galina (Virginia, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Purple Rose of Cairo (DVD)
"The Purple Rose of Cairo" was the first Allen's movie I saw back in Moscow in the end of the 80s and it started my eternal love for his films. "The Purple Rose..." is wonderful, is one if Allen's greats - a perfect combination of poignancy and humor, romance and drama, reality and fiction. It is the movie-within-the-movie that blends sophisticated romance from the lives of rich and beautiful where the dashing main hero with bravery and chivalry written into his character always gets a girl and Depression Era New York City where a poor waitress tries to escape the realities of her joyless life in the movie theater. The story focuses on Cecilia (Mia Farrow), a waitress and a battered wife of an unemployed abusive man (Danny Aiello). Cecilia only feels alive when she watches her favorite movies that take her away from her dreary realities. One day, as she watches "Purple Rose of Cairo" for the 10th or maybe 15th time, the leading man Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) decides to leave the movie and be with Cecilia in real life. His screen partners are left confused and "trapped" in a scene they can't get out of. The live actor who plays Baxter is blamed by the film's producer for his character's rebellion and tries to get him back on the screen. Cecilia's husband finds out that his wife was seen with a good looking man instead of working as a babysitter in the evening. On the top of all, Tom Baxters in other theaters try to leave "Purple Rose of Cairo", too... It is not the first or last time Allen has played with the concept of the thin line (in this film, the silver screen) that divides film's world and reality but rarely has he created the film as sweet, gentle, sad, technically realized and simply terrific as "Purple Rose of Cairo".

9.5/10
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The Purple Rose of Cairo
The Purple Rose of Cairo by Woody Allen (DVD - 2001)
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