The Cotton Club
THE COTTON CLUB (15)
D: Francis Ford Coppola
Orion/Zoetrope (Robert Evans)
USA 🇺🇸 1984
W: William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Barry Malkin & Robert Q. Lovett
Mus: John Barry
PD: Richard Sylbert
Cos: Milena Canonero
Richard Gere (Dixie Dwyer), Gregory Hines (Sandman Williams), Diane Lane (Vera Cicero), Lonette McKee (Lila Rose Oliver), James Remar (Dutch Schultz), Nicolas Cage (Vincent Dwyer), Bob Hoskins (Owney Madden), Fred Gwynne (Frenchy Demange)
Francis Ford Coppola's career never really recovered following this giant box office failure of 1984, crippling its studio with the huge outlaw of $50 million in production costs.
Set in a famous Harlem nightclub frequented by gangsters, the story follows various characters as they each have a brush with the mob, though the plot mostly focuses on the romance which develops between a jazz trumpeter (Richard Gere) and a gangster's moll (Diane Lane).
Though the film is sumptuous and dazzling to look at, the plot is sluggish and the characters are poorly written. The majority of the performances aren't bad, with the exception of Diane Lane, who is practically a deer in headlights throughout the running time.
Overall, it's a bit like Bugsy Malone, but with adults in the cast, and nowhere near as much fun.
While The Cotton Club goes down in film history as one of the biggest flops of all time, it remains something of a curiosity, quite like 1981's Heaven's Gate. It's not a totally awful film, it just couldn't strike a chord with audiences when it needed to.