×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Cotton Club

The Cotton Club certainly doesn't stint on ambition. Four stories [by William Kennedy, Francis Coppola, Mario Puzo, suggested by James Haskins' pictorial history The Cotton Club] thread through and intertwine in the $47 million picture. While the earlier Francis Coppola gangster efforts had a firm hand on the balance between plot elements and characters, The Cotton Club emerges as uneven and sometimes unfocused.

With:
Richard Gere Gregory Hines Diane Lane Lonette McKee Bob Hoskins Nicolas Cage

The Cotton Club certainly doesn’t stint on ambition. Four stories [by William Kennedy, Francis Coppola, Mario Puzo, suggested by James Haskins’ pictorial history The Cotton Club] thread through and intertwine in the $47 million picture. While the earlier Francis Coppola gangster efforts had a firm hand on the balance between plot elements and characters, The Cotton Club emerges as uneven and sometimes unfocused.

Focus is on Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere), a cornet player in a small Gotham club. As the film opens in 1928, Dixie interrupts a solo to push a patron out of the way of a gunman’s bullet. The thankful target turns out to be nightclub owner Dutch Schultz (James Remar).

Another thread involves club tap star Sandman Williams (Gregory Hines) who partners with his brother Clay (Maurice Hines) and has his eyes and heart set on chorus girl Lila Rose Oliver (Lonette McKee).

Dramatically, Coppola and coscreenwriter William Kennedy, juggle a lot of balls in the air. The parallel stories of Gere and Hines’ professional rise prove more potent, thanks largely to a mixture of romance, music and gangland involvement. Hines and McKee generate real sparks in their relationship and latter adds an interesting dimension as a light-skinned singer trying to hide her racial origins.

1984: Nominations: Best Art Direction, Editing

Popular on Variety

The Cotton Club

Production: Zoetrope. Director Francis Coppola; Producer Robert Evans; Screenplay William Kennedy, Francis Coppola; Camera Stephen Goldblatt; Editor Barry Malkin, Robert Q. Lovett; Music John Barry, Bob Wilber;; Art Director Richard Sylbert

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1984. Running time: 127 MIN.

With: Richard Gere Gregory Hines Diane Lane Lonette McKee Bob Hoskins Nicolas Cage

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content