The Fourth Annual Van Johnson Blogathon – The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

This is my second of 3 reviews for the The Fourth Annual Van Johnson Blogathon taking place this week and being hosted by Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood

Tnx for letting me partake Michaela!

“I just met a wonderful new man. He’s fictional but you can’t have everything.” – Cecilia

Number of Times Seen – Twice (23 Aug 2004 and 23 Aug 2020)

Brief Synopsis – During the Depression, an unhappily married waitress finds love and an escape at the local movie theater.

My Take on it – Woody Allen films are hit or miss for me, and this is actually one that is able to take the concept of reality vs fiction and make us questions so much about it.

The story itself is presented in a very clever way and the story is able to allow characters in both realms to interact as long as they still follow the rules as presented here.

Once a character leaves the usual astral plane, we can see how naive they truly are sine they are so unfamiliar with the way things work in the other realm since the physics are different.

They also are able to show how much banter goes along behind the scenes of the film industry and how they try to focus on both on the screen and off it at the same time which helps muddle things even more.

The film has a great cast that is led by a superb Mia Farrow.

Jeff Daniels is able to play his dual roles quite diversely which helps make them truly feel as separate entities.

Van Johnson has a relatively small ole as one of the characters on screen yet has some great lines to throw out here and there.

The film has profound dialogue that helps the story stay enchanting even if things are a bit too short and might have been enhanced by a few more minutes to spend with these characters.

Bottom Line – Great concept that makes one ponder the various aspects of tryuh vs fiction. The story is quite clever and they allow us to see the way that characters in both realms can try to interact with one another. The naiveté of characters when out of their astral plan is fun to watch due to the wonder that they have in a new environment where physics are different. The movie also is able to show how behind the scenes artists can be so caught up in everything that can happen both on and off screen. The cast is great and Farrow does a wonderful job in the lead. Daniels also does a nice job in a dual role.  The dialogue is profound, as one would expect from Allen, but the story is a bit too short and might have been served better if it would have been slightly longer. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Jeff Daniels replaced Michael Keaton in the lead male role. Keaton was originally cast footage was shot for ten days. Director Woody Allen decided it wasn’t working, feeling that Keaton, despite a good performance so far, was miscast being too contemporary for the part and was not fitting well into this period movie. Keaton had taken sizable salary cut to do a film with Allen. Apparently, Keaton was to appear in another later Allen film to make-up for this disappointment, but to date (August, 2020) this has yet to occur. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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4 thoughts on “The Fourth Annual Van Johnson Blogathon – The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

  1. I always forget Van was in this! And I agree about Allen’s movies. (I think I’m one of the few people who don’t like Annie Hall.) But your great review has convinced me to check this one out!


  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1985 | MovieRob

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