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Comedy - Family

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)


Duration 1h 22m Rating (UK) PG
Source of story An original screenplay
Director Woody Allen
Writers/Script Woody Allen
Starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Zoe Caldwell, Milo O’Shea

Elevator Pitch: It is New Jersey 1935. Cecilia is a waitress and abused wife who retreats into the alternative reality provided in her local movie theatre; one day she is watching “The Purple Rose of Cairo” when Tom Baxter, one of the minor characters climbs out of the screen and declares his love for her. As a result the characters on screen are unable to progress with the plot and the movie moguls have to fly in to the town to try to control the escalating problems, since in other cinemas other Tom Baxters are forgetting their lines. When the actor playing the character also shows interest in Cecilia, maybe her life is changing.

Content: Cecilia fails to do her work as a waitress very well, and eventually is sacked, but does not tell her husband who continues to treat her badly. She starts to form a relationship with Tom Baxter, mostly in a fairground and in the cinema the on screen characters bicker and play cards. The movie people argue and try to sort things out. Cecilia finds herself having to choose between the character and the actor who plays him, who promises to take her to Hollywood.

A View: Having recently watched a not very satisfactory Woody Allen film, I did not know what to expect when I set this one rolling, and so was surprised by the humour and pathos of it. When I came to read about it, it had gained a number of five star reviews  and the director had been nominated at the 1986 Oscars for best screenplay. It also won Best Picture at the BAFTAs.  It is laugh out loud funny at times, but never quite loses the underlying tone of sadness. So well worth the cost of a download.

Additional Info: It seems to have lost money, and even though Allen was told that if he changed the ending he would have a hit, he refused to do so.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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