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Film / The Cotton Club

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The Cotton Club is a 1984 American crime-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring Richard Gere, and Diane Lane. The supporting cast included Gregory Hines, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.

The film is centered on a Harlem jazz club of the 1930s, the Cotton Club. Musician Dixie Dwyer (Gere) begins working in the club, run by mobster Owney Madden (Hoskins), to advance his career, but falls in love with Vera Cicero (Lane), the girlfriend of violent kingpin Dutch Schultz (Remar). In the meantime, Dixie's ambitious younger brother Vincent (Cage) becomes a gangster in Schultz's mob and eventually a public enemy.

At the 2017 Telluride Film Festival, Francis Ford Coppola revealed The Cotton Club Encore, a Re-Cut version that incorporates scenes from Coppola's original cut which he discovered in a Betamax. Digitally restored and longer than the previous version, Encore is stated to be Coppola's true version of his film.


This film provides examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Dutch Schultz appears to have made a grudging peace with a rival gangster, but the rival won't stop needling him, casually remarking while grazing the buffet, "Aw, what's a Jew but a nigger turned inside out, anyway?" Schultz goes berserk and stabs him to death. Then again, it was never difficult to rile Schultz, in film or real life.
  • Copy Protection: It was the first movie to have a home video release to be Copy-Protected.
  • Disconnected by Death: After Vincent becomes a gangster in Schultz's mob, he captures rival gangster Owney Madden's right-hand man, Frenchy and extracts a $35,000 ransom for the hostage's release. In retaliation, Madden pretends to arrange a peace deal that Coll must finalize over the phone, at a certain phone booth - near which a man with a tommy gun is waiting.
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  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Dixie Dwyer falls for Vera, the girlfriend of gangster Dutch Schultz.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted. Vincent got his nickname of "Mad Dog" after his cohorts hit several innocent bystanders along with their target.


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