'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary'
(Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / NR / (1984) 2019 / LGF)
Overview: In this lavish, 1930s-era drama, Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide.
Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s extraordinary film is brought to vivid new life in 'The Cotton Club Encore.'
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, albeit to my mind, of course, 'The Cotton Club' is a dazzling, complex film that attempts so much it would be almost impossible for nearly any director to pull it off.
But Francis Ford Coppola is not any director, so 'The Cotton Club' is not just any movie. Rather, it succeeds at practically all levels and is certainly a film worth coming back to again and again.
Set in Harlem in the late 1920s, we are introduced to a group of Jazz Age-products, people who see themselves exactly as they are but all hope to go somewhere better.
Two story lines occupy the plot; we get a good-looking young musician Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) who gets involved in the mob after falling for one of the gangster's girlfriends (Diane Lane); and we get the story of a very talented black dancer (Gregory Hines) trying to prove his love to a half-black and half-white chorus girl who seems to struggle with her place in this more or less racist society.
Almost every night, everyone gathers at The Cotton Club, one of the most famous clubs in the city and the blacks entertain while the whites drink and watch. But Coppola gives us a view from all angles so it doesn't feel as if we are missing anything important.
One of the biggest achievements of this film is its staging of the dance sequences, which are to say the least quite exquisite. Filled with colorful costumes and some mind-boggling tap numbers, at times you may forget that this is also a gangster picture.
Indeed, some scenes feel just like Coppola's 'The Godfather' with its quick bursts of violence but also in its tone of sad, elegiac setting. People come and go and some regret the things they do, but the music lives on.
The acting is also very strong as Gere and Lane are quite wonderful in their first of three films together. Both were very good-looking and they do bring out the best in each other.
Two supporting actors that really do steal the show are Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne as a mob boss and his head bodyguard. They share a tenacity and ferociousness in their dealings, but also have one really terrific scene involving Gwynne coming to see Hoskins after being kidnapped. A young Nicolas Cage also shows here he had incredible potential.
This Broadway version of the gangster film so familiar in Hollywood refreshes both genres as we see the similarities between the two. Indeed, many of the participators in the entertainment were also involved in the mob and Coppola shows how the two lives intertwine and bring a lot of trouble to everyone.
This may seem as a strange mixing of genres and story lines for some people, but it is well worth the two hours. It is funny, sad, violent, poetic but also enormously entertaining and isn't that what the movies are all about? Coppola seems to think so.
In support of 'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary Edition' arriving to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD & Digital), DVD and Digital 4K Ultra HD™ today (December 10th, 2019) from Lionsgate, we have the "Stormy Weather" extended scene clip to share:
Official 'Stormy Weather' Extended Clip
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Introduction to The Cotton Club Encore by Francis Ford Coppola
• The Cotton Club Encore Q&A
'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary Edition' will be available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD & Digital), DVD, Digital 4K Ultra HD™, and Digital SD/HD for the suggested retail price of $19.99, $14.98, $12.99, and $9.99 respectively.
Official 'The Cotton Club Encore' Trailer