Two views of the same subject often serve to enhance an image. Reviewers Harry Cheney and Lloyd Billingsley, two writers living in Southern California, here offer separate yet complementary impressions of a single film.

Broadway Danny Rose

Orion Pictures; written and directed by Woody Allen

Woody allen is a true believer, floundering in a sea of skepticism. A buoyant hope keeps him barely afloat. “You have to have faith in people,” Mariel Hemingway admonished him in the final scene of Manhattan, and Woody has taken her advice to heart. His earnest characters are yet pessimistic about eternity, occasionally morose over an empty universe, but there remains an abiding faith in the preciousness of life that borders on reverence. Allen’s understated style is consistent with the modest aspirations of his movies. His intimate morality plays are examples of personal artistic expression, unique in the Hollywood corporate structure.

Broadway Danny Rose is such a sweet epiphany: a wisp of a film that celebrates the uncommon virtues of a common man. Danny Rose, the title character, lives a life of hyperactive failure. As a Broadway agent he has become a local legend, representing all the well-meaning but woefully untalented worms in the Big Apple. He labors diligently for his clients—the stuttering ventriloquist or the woman who plays water-filled drinking glasses—doting on them as if they were kin. The amorous adventures of one of these errant children (an overweight, over-the-hill night club singer named Lou Canova) puts Danny in jeopardy as two half-witted mobsters chase him and the singer’s paramour through a New Jersey swamp. The luckless talent agent ultimately escapes, only to be betrayed by Canova, who has managed to find more upscale ...

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