Broadway Danny Rose 1.0 stars

Defensible perhaps as a Runyonesque (as everyone seems to have agreed to call it) portrait of show people at the lowliest level, a fraternal salute from an established star (Woody Allen) to all his brethren who never struck a spark, an effusive valentine from "Never Too Big" to "Never Say Die." Not defensible, however, as funny. In the first place, the movie doesn't look funny. Often overly inky, at other times grainily documentary, and impressionistically sun-drenched or -dappled whenever out of doors, Gordon Willis's black-and-white is always too studiedly and strenuously "artistic" to set the mood for merriment. And second, the story of an almost saintly, small-time theatrical agent, described in some quarters as Chaplinesque, evinces that combination of Little Guy sentimentality and Movie Star vanity which dampened so many laughs in the Tramp's movies, too. With Mia Farrow and Nick Apollo Forte. 1984.

Duncan Shepherd

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