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Film / Broadway Danny Rose

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A 1984 Comedy Drama written and directed by Woody Allen, starring him and his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow. The title character is a well-meaning New York City talent agent whose efforts to fix a past-his-prime singer's personal life unwittingly anger two mobsters.

Notable for being Nick Apollo Forte's acting debut (and his sole performance til 2016 in an episode of Billions) in a feature film. Also includes appearances by Milton Berle, Will Jordan, Jack Rollins, and many others as themselves.

The film earned Allen two Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: One of the reasons Lou is stuck in mediocrity, despite being a great singer.
  • The Beard: Tina pretends to date Danny in order to attend Lou's big performance discreetly.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Seemingly one In-Universe, when Danny and Tina encounter a Superman-like costumed hero in the middle of the New Jersey marsh. Turns out he's an actor on a shoot, who recognizes Danny as an agent and rescues them. He later dates Tina, but her Guilt Complex ruins their relationship.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Danny will always be a loser who represents mainly losers, but he makes Tina a little less cynical, and gets her in the end.
  • Book Ends: At the end, Danny catches up with Tina in front of the Carnegie Deli - where the Framing Device is set.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Implied to another reason Lou is a has-been. He obviously has the musical chops, but he requires someone like Danny to constantly push him.
  • The Cameo: Aside from the Borscht Belt comics in the Framing Device, Milton Berle (who is the driving force of the plot), Joe Franklin, and Sammy Davis Jr..
  • Catchphrase: Danny's advice to his acts: "Strong - Smile - Star!"
    • Also, whenever he's trying to argue something, Danny will say, "If I may interject for a moment...".
  • Chained Heat: After being abducted by the vengeful Rispoli brothers, Danny and Tina end up tied together on top of a table. The captives must work to get themselves in an upright position and finally loosen the ropes. Of course, their effort to escape involves their bodies rubbing vigorously and repeatedly against each other.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Tina eventually warms to Danny being a Nice Guy and his Undying Loyalty to Lou. It doesn't stop her from convincing Lou to leave Danny for a better agent.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Woody Allen wanted the film to evoke wistful nostalgia despite taking place during the present, so he chose to shoot it in black-and-white.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tina's ex-boyfriend Johnny drinks iodine because she is dating someone new. His mafia mother isn't amused. The film depicts him as a whiny Drama Queen.
  • End of an Era: The Borscht Belt comedians discuss how hard it is to get work anymore. In The '80s, the Catskills were no longer the go to resort for Jews. The Carnegie Deli itself has become Doomed by Canon after 2016.
  • Failure Hero: Danny. He fails to keep his star and remains the manager of loser clients, but he does get the girl in the end.
  • Famed In-Story: Danny is a legend, but not for the reasons you'd expect.
  • Former Child Star: Lou, was famous as a child star in The '50s.
  • Framing Device: The entire film is a series of stories about Danny being told by a group of Real Life Borscht Belt comedians over lunch.
  • Giftedly Bad: Most of Danny's acts, such as balloon folders and wine glass xylophone players.
  • Guilt Complex: Danny has a major one, for everything. Tina has absolutely none. She develops one over screwing over Danny by directly helping Lou defect to a better agent.
  • Helium Speech: When Danny and Tina try to escape from the mobsters, they get chased into a warehouse that has the displays for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. A mobster shoots one of the balloon displays, causing helium to dome out of it, and causing Danny, Tina, and the mobster to talk like this.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: The Danny Rose Formula, which includes two aspirins, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, goat cheese, and chicken fat. No one knows how it works, but it's an instant cure. It's suspiciously similar to a Prairie Oyster.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    Danny: I don't wanna badmouth the kid, but he's a horrible, dishonest, immoral louse. And I say that With All Due Respect.
  • Leitmotif: The score is an instrumental version of Lou's signature song "Agita".
  • Loser Protagonist: Danny, though he does win Tina. Tina thinks of herself as a loser, too.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Acceptance, forgiveness, love".
  • Meaningful Name: In-universe. The Mafia think that Danny is the one who has been sending white roses to Tina, because of his name, Danny Rose. They start calling him "Danny White Roses" as a result.
  • Mood Whiplash: Danny going to the hospital bed of an innocent man he got brutally injured by mobsters. Lampshaded by the Framing Device.
    Morty Gunty: I thought this was a funny story! It's terrible!
    Sandy Baron: So? What do you want me to do? It's not my life.
  • Motor Mouth: How Danny tries to get out of trouble.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After betraying Danny by encouraging Lou to sign up with a more influential agent and abandon Danny after everything Danny has done for him, Tina soon comes to regret her decision.
  • Nice Guy: Danny, which is also his Fatal Flaw.
  • One-Hit Wonder: In-Universe. Lou only had one original song, "Agita", a novelty song about eating. It's also Forte's sole hit song. (To be fair, the other song by Nick Apollo Forte, "My Bambina" ("Keep Italian In Your Heart") is really affecting, being sung during Danny and Tina's reunion.)
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Danny. "May I interject one statement at this juncture? And I don't mean to be didactic or facetious in any way..."
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Danny is all the way on the side of idealism, while Tina is all the way on the other end in Cynicism. Danny convinces Tina that idealism isn't all that bad. However, Danny is doomed to handling third rate acts because he tries to help all of his clients instead of focusing on the most talented one, so Tina does have a point.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Tina's ex-boyfriend Johnny - who also happens to be the son of a mafia boss. His thinking Danny Rose is Tina's new beau sets the Mafia after him.
  • Undying Loyalty: Danny's biggest fault. He gives all of his clients, no matter how dreadful they are, equal time, so when a truly talented client hits it big, they leave because Danny won't focus on their career.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Lou, who abandons Danny for a more prestigious talent agent on the verge of a major comeback, after Danny has given everything to get Lou back into the spotlight.
    • All of Danny's successful clients. In their defense, Danny tries to help all of his clients, even the Giftedly Bad ones. It's strongly implied if Danny would focus on his most successful clients, they wouldn't leave him.
  • With All Due Respect:
    Danny: I don't wanna badmouth the kid, but he's a horrible, dishonest, immoral louse. And I say that with all due respect.