The Cotton Club Encore            review by Bobby Blakey

I remember seeing Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 film Cotton Club at the video store and swore I had seen it, but I was wrong. I recently got the chance to sit down and finally see the whole film with the all new Cotton Club Encore Edition Blu-ray that is remastered and restored to Coppola’s original vision. Could this film hold up to be another great film in Coppola’s impressive resume or will it be a misstep on stage?

 

Cotton Club follows Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club in the 1930s that becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide. The film features a great cast including Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Fred Gwynn, Laurence Fishburne and more. I always love watching movies like these and getting to see these early performances and how much some have grown as actors. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the story involved as I thought it might have been some sort of musical and while there is an aspect of a performance focus in it there is so much more.

 

The true life story fused with the fiction of this story makes for a pretty good gangster flick which is a genre that I truly love. I typically prefer the more modern era stuff, but getting to see these real life gangsters brought on screen is always cool and using the famed club as the catalyst is perfection. Sure there are some elements that fall flat and the pacing slows a bit in some parts, but as a whole I really enjoyed this film way more than I had thought I would. Being a Coppola film I shouldn’t have been surprised about the violence here, but don’t think with its tone I was expecting it and made the film something completely different than I thought I was going to get.

 

Obviously without seeing the original I cannot comment on how much better or worse this one works in comparison, but I can say I enjoyed it. The musical and dance numbers fit in seamlessly to tale the tale and thanks to the location

it feels right instead of forced like it might have otherwise. I am aware this was by design, but an overabundance could have made the film too light instead of the fairly violent tale being told.

 

With Coppola directing, Robert Evans producing and an all-star cast this is classic Hollywood that we just don’t see this way much anymore. Grab your tommy gun and tap shoes and grab your copy of The Cotton Club Encore available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital 4K Ultra HD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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