The Purple Rose of Cairo


1h 22m 1985
The Purple Rose of Cairo

Brief Synopsis

A movie character steps off the screen and into the life of his biggest fan.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kairos röda ros, Purple Rose of Cairo, rose pourpre du Caire
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Fantasy
Period
Release Date
1985

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m

Synopsis

In the 1930s, a meek and lonely woman who suffers the indignation of an unfaithful husband, escapes by spending her days in the local movie theatre, where she becomes enraptured by the characters on screen. One day the character Tom Baxter jumps off the screen and falls in love with her. Now, other Tom Baxters are coming off the screens in other theaters, and the studio is clamoring to have them back.

Crew

Tony Adler

Production

Woody Allen

Screenplay

Irving Berlin

Song

Fern Buchner

Makeup Designer

Ronald J. Burke

Grip

Kay Chapin

Script Supervisor

Jim Chory

Assistant Director

Bill Christians

Wardrobe Supervisor

Kris Cole

Apprentice Editor

James Davis

Production

B. G. Desylva

Song

Richard Dior

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Patricia Eiben

Wardrobe Supervisor

Prudence Farrow

Art Department Coordinator

Jonathan Filley

Location Manager

Jim Fitzpatrick

Best Boy

James Gartland

Grip

W Steven Graham

Assistant Art Director

Frank Graziadei

Sound Recordist

Bud Green

Song

Romaine Greene

Hair

James W Greenhut

Production

Robert Greenhut

Producer

Brian Hamill

Photography

Andrew Hansard

Projectionist

Don Hansard

Camera Coordinator

Douglas C Hart

Assistant Camera

Joseph R Hartwick

Production Auditor

John J Healey

Location Scout

Ray Henderson

Song

Amy Herman

Production

Dick Hyman

Original Music

Carol Joffe

Set Decorator

Charles H. Joffe

Executive Producer

Mary Kane

Location Scout

Kathleen Earle Killeen

Sound

Jeffrey Kurland

Costume Designer

Harry Leavey

Transportation Captain

Dan Leigh

Assistant

Martin Levenstein

Assistant Sound Editor

Walter Levinsky

Music Supervisor

Ellen Lewis

Casting Assistant

Stuart Lieberman

Assistant Sound Editor

Dan Lieberstein

Sound

Peter Lombardi

Production Auditor

Joe Malin

Music Coordinator

Jane Read Martin

Assistant

James Mazzola

Property Master

Kevin Mccarthy

On-Set Dresser

Tom Mckinley

Assistant

Dick Mingalone

Camera Operator

Susan E Morse

Editor

Isis Mussenden

Costumes

Richard Nord

Assistant Editor

Bob Paone

Assistant Camera

Ron Petagna

Carpenter

Michael Peyser

Production Manager

Michael Peyser

Associate Producer

Joseph Pierson

Production

Edward Pisoni

Art Director

Ray Quinlan

Gaffer

Thomas Reilly

Assistant Director

Dana Robin

Location Scout

Helen Robin

Production Coordinator

Jack Rollins

Executive Producer

Liz Ryan

Dga Trainee

James Sabat

Sound Mixer

Louis Sabat

Boom Operator

Justin Scoppa

Set Decorator

Gail Sicilia

Associate Producer

Cosmo Sorice

Scenic Artist

James Sorice

Scenic Artist

Barry Strugatz

Location Scout

Juliet Taylor

Casting

Todd Thaler

Casting

Carl Turnquest

Projectionist

Kenneth Vogt

Props

Bob Ward

Key Grip

Harry Warren

Song

Dave Weinman

On-Set Dresser

Michael Wild

Production

Gordon Willis

Director Of Photography

Gordon Willis

Dp/Cinematographer

Stuart Wurtzel

Production Designer

Roy Yokelson

Music Engineer

Film Details

Also Known As
Kairos röda ros, Purple Rose of Cairo, rose pourpre du Caire
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Fantasy
Period
Release Date
1985

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m

Award Nominations

Best Original Screenplay

1985

Articles

The Purple Rose of Cairo


A film with definite personal significance for Woody Allen, The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) is a love story about a rather meek woman named Cecilia (Mia Farrow) who is mad about the movies. Even though there's a Depression on in 1930s New Jersey, Cecilia, a much abused waitress, forgets her troubles at the sanctuary of the local Jewel cinema. It is there that she, like countless other viewers, can escape her own unhappy life in screen fantasies of rich penthouse dwellers, beautifully dressed women, Egyptologist adventurers and nightclub crooners. Allen's script takes a sudden whimsical turn, however, when screen fantasy becomes reality and one of the characters in Cecilia's current favorite picture The Purple Rose of Cairo jumps out of the screen to declare his love for her. While Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) woos Cecilia, and her thuggish, gambler husband Monk (Danny Aiello) grows suspicious, Hollywood bigwigs begin an effort to retrieve the strayed screen character. In the meantime, the other actors trapped within the The Purple Rose of Cairo plot flounder -- playing cards, arguing -- unable to continue with their storyline until Tom Baxter returns. Allen adds yet another oddball wrinkle when the actor who created Baxter, Gil Shepherd (Daniels), arrives in New Jersey from Hollywood to find Tom and ends up falling for Cecilia too. A battle ensues for Cecilia's love waged by the real life, imperfect Gil Shepherd and the exquisitely flawless Tom Baxter, whom Cecilia freely admits, "he's fictional, but you can't have everything."

The dual role of Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd was originally cast with Michael Keaton, whose work Allen admired and who took a significant cut in salary for the privilege of working with Allen. But Allen eventually felt that, despite a strong performance, Keaton was too contemporary and hard to accept as a character living in the 1930s. After 10 days on the set, Keaton and Allen amicably parted company and Daniels was cast in the dual part of Shepherd /Baxter.

Like Cecilia, Allen grew up an obsessive moviegoer who soaked in the pictures that played in his Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. Allen's favorite movie theater palace as a boy was the last-run Kent, home of 12-cent films, which he called "one of the great, meaningful places of my boyhood." Before the Kent was torn down, Allen created his own homage to this beloved picture palace by filming part of The Purple Rose of Cairo there. Writing in The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, Mark Estrin notes the significance of film-going in the movie, "Like Manhattan (1979) before it, and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Radio Days (1987) after it, The Purple Rose of Cairo examines the healing power of popular art."

The fantastical, whimsical elements in The Purple Rose of Cairo have also been described by Allen biographer Eric Lax as inspired by Allen's own childhood, and his love of magic tricks -- a passion he still indulges to this day. Growing up in Brooklyn, Allen was a remarkably precocious kid who showed signs of his later creative avidity even in high school when he wrote jokes for columnists and television celebrities. Though he is most often compared to the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Allen's particular approach to cinema has been more accurately compared to that of Preston Sturges and Buster Keaton because of the way he uses comedy to treat his vision of American life. In fact, The Purple Rose of Cairo clearly shows its debt to Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924), as well as Fellini's The White Sheik (1952), in the way it playfully blurs the line between fantasy and reality.

One of the most unique features about The Purple Rose of Cairo is its remarkably downbeat ending, which provoked the wrath of his studio Orion. Orion executives asked Allen to change the painful conclusion, which punctured the escapist fantasy of the rest of the film, but Allen refused. A dyed-in-the-wool iconoclast who routinely avoids the Academy Awards when he is nominated, and who often gives Oscars he has won to his parents, Allen's approach to filmmaking can be equally idiosyncratic. According to Julian Fox in Woody: Movies From Manhattan, the director was insistent on filming some scenes in Piermont Village, "a bleak town on the Hudson River....The shoot there stretched from a scheduled ten days to a chaotic three-and-a-half weeks. This was due to the early arrival of winter blizzards, just after the storm windows had been removed from the main street shops, ready for filming. For the sake of authenticity, storefronts and window displays had been altered in advance, the shopping area was sealed off and many locals suffered huge financial losses. Even seven months after the crew's arrival, reported Nick Rosen in London's Sunday Times, contractors were still trying to put the town back to normal."

The Purple Rose of Cairo was the fourth Allen film to star Mia Farrow and only the second without Allen appearing in a role. Some have said Allen's absence from the film was partly to blame for its lack of commercial success. Though the film is not embraced as a consummate Allen film, and many consider it a plainly inferior work, Allen has called The Purple Rose his favorite film in his oeuvre. "It was the one which came closest to my original conception."

Director: Woody Allen
Producer: Jack Rollins, Charles H. Joffe
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Cinematography: Gordon Willis
Production Design: Stuart Wurtzel
Music: Dick Hyman
Cast: Mia Farrow (Cecilia), Jeff Daniels (Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd), Danny Aiello (Monk), Dianne Wiest (Emma), Deborah Rush (Rita), Edward Herrmann (Henry), Stephanie Farrow (Cecilia's sister), Van Johnson (Larry), Zoe Caldwell (The Countess), Milo O'Shea (Father Donnelly).
BW & C-82m. Letterboxed.

by Felicia Feaster
The Purple Rose Of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo

A film with definite personal significance for Woody Allen, The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) is a love story about a rather meek woman named Cecilia (Mia Farrow) who is mad about the movies. Even though there's a Depression on in 1930s New Jersey, Cecilia, a much abused waitress, forgets her troubles at the sanctuary of the local Jewel cinema. It is there that she, like countless other viewers, can escape her own unhappy life in screen fantasies of rich penthouse dwellers, beautifully dressed women, Egyptologist adventurers and nightclub crooners. Allen's script takes a sudden whimsical turn, however, when screen fantasy becomes reality and one of the characters in Cecilia's current favorite picture The Purple Rose of Cairo jumps out of the screen to declare his love for her. While Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) woos Cecilia, and her thuggish, gambler husband Monk (Danny Aiello) grows suspicious, Hollywood bigwigs begin an effort to retrieve the strayed screen character. In the meantime, the other actors trapped within the The Purple Rose of Cairo plot flounder -- playing cards, arguing -- unable to continue with their storyline until Tom Baxter returns. Allen adds yet another oddball wrinkle when the actor who created Baxter, Gil Shepherd (Daniels), arrives in New Jersey from Hollywood to find Tom and ends up falling for Cecilia too. A battle ensues for Cecilia's love waged by the real life, imperfect Gil Shepherd and the exquisitely flawless Tom Baxter, whom Cecilia freely admits, "he's fictional, but you can't have everything." The dual role of Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd was originally cast with Michael Keaton, whose work Allen admired and who took a significant cut in salary for the privilege of working with Allen. But Allen eventually felt that, despite a strong performance, Keaton was too contemporary and hard to accept as a character living in the 1930s. After 10 days on the set, Keaton and Allen amicably parted company and Daniels was cast in the dual part of Shepherd /Baxter. Like Cecilia, Allen grew up an obsessive moviegoer who soaked in the pictures that played in his Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. Allen's favorite movie theater palace as a boy was the last-run Kent, home of 12-cent films, which he called "one of the great, meaningful places of my boyhood." Before the Kent was torn down, Allen created his own homage to this beloved picture palace by filming part of The Purple Rose of Cairo there. Writing in The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, Mark Estrin notes the significance of film-going in the movie, "Like Manhattan (1979) before it, and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Radio Days (1987) after it, The Purple Rose of Cairo examines the healing power of popular art." The fantastical, whimsical elements in The Purple Rose of Cairo have also been described by Allen biographer Eric Lax as inspired by Allen's own childhood, and his love of magic tricks -- a passion he still indulges to this day. Growing up in Brooklyn, Allen was a remarkably precocious kid who showed signs of his later creative avidity even in high school when he wrote jokes for columnists and television celebrities. Though he is most often compared to the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Allen's particular approach to cinema has been more accurately compared to that of Preston Sturges and Buster Keaton because of the way he uses comedy to treat his vision of American life. In fact, The Purple Rose of Cairo clearly shows its debt to Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924), as well as Fellini's The White Sheik (1952), in the way it playfully blurs the line between fantasy and reality. One of the most unique features about The Purple Rose of Cairo is its remarkably downbeat ending, which provoked the wrath of his studio Orion. Orion executives asked Allen to change the painful conclusion, which punctured the escapist fantasy of the rest of the film, but Allen refused. A dyed-in-the-wool iconoclast who routinely avoids the Academy Awards when he is nominated, and who often gives Oscars he has won to his parents, Allen's approach to filmmaking can be equally idiosyncratic. According to Julian Fox in Woody: Movies From Manhattan, the director was insistent on filming some scenes in Piermont Village, "a bleak town on the Hudson River....The shoot there stretched from a scheduled ten days to a chaotic three-and-a-half weeks. This was due to the early arrival of winter blizzards, just after the storm windows had been removed from the main street shops, ready for filming. For the sake of authenticity, storefronts and window displays had been altered in advance, the shopping area was sealed off and many locals suffered huge financial losses. Even seven months after the crew's arrival, reported Nick Rosen in London's Sunday Times, contractors were still trying to put the town back to normal." The Purple Rose of Cairo was the fourth Allen film to star Mia Farrow and only the second without Allen appearing in a role. Some have said Allen's absence from the film was partly to blame for its lack of commercial success. Though the film is not embraced as a consummate Allen film, and many consider it a plainly inferior work, Allen has called The Purple Rose his favorite film in his oeuvre. "It was the one which came closest to my original conception." Director: Woody Allen Producer: Jack Rollins, Charles H. Joffe Screenplay: Woody Allen Cinematography: Gordon Willis Production Design: Stuart Wurtzel Music: Dick Hyman Cast: Mia Farrow (Cecilia), Jeff Daniels (Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd), Danny Aiello (Monk), Dianne Wiest (Emma), Deborah Rush (Rita), Edward Herrmann (Henry), Stephanie Farrow (Cecilia's sister), Van Johnson (Larry), Zoe Caldwell (The Countess), Milo O'Shea (Father Donnelly). BW & C-82m. Letterboxed. by Felicia Feaster

TCM Remembers Van Johnson - Important Schedule Change on TCM In Honor To Salute VAN JOHNSON


Turner Classic Movies Pays Tribute to Van Johnson on Tuesday, December 23rd with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note.

The new schedule for the evening of Tuesday, December 23rd will be:
8:00 PM In the Good Old Summertime
9:45 PM A Guy Named Joe
12:30 AM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
2:30 AM The Last Time I Saw Paris
4:30 AM Thrill of a Romance


Van Johnson (1916-2008)

Van Johnson, the boyish leading man whose clean cut, All-American appeal made him a top box-office draw for MGM during World War II, died on December 12 in Nyack, New York of natural causes. He was 92.

He was born Charles Van Dell Johnson on August 25, 1916, in Newport, Rhode Island. By his own account, his early childhood wasn't a stable one. His mother abandoned him when he was just three and his Swedish-born father offered little consolation or nurturing while he was growing up. Not surprisingly, Johnson found solace in singing and dancing lessons, and throughout his adolescence, he longed for a life in show business. After graduating high school in 1934, he relocated to New York City and was soon performing as a chorus boy on Broadway in shows such as New Faces of 1936 and eventually as an understudy in Rodgers and Hart's musical, Too Many Girls in 1939.

Johnson eventually made his way to Hollywood and landed an unbilled debut in the film version of Too Many Girls (1940). By 1941, he signed a brief contract with Warner Bros., but it only earned him a lead in a "B" programmer Murder in the Big House (1941); his contract soon expired and he was dropped by the studio. Johnson was on his way back to New York, but as luck would have it - in the truest Hollywood sense - friends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz introduced him to Billy Grady, a lead talent scout at MGM, which was currently Ball's new studio. Johnson was signed up and almost immediately MGM had a star on its hands.

It might have been slow going at first, with Johnson playing able support in films such as Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant and The War Against Mrs. Hadley (both 1942). By 1943 the studio capitalized on his broad smile and freckles and starred him in two of the studio's biggest hits: A Guy Named Joe and The Human Comedy. Those two films transformed him into a boxoffice draw with a huge following, particularly among teenage girls. A near fatal car accident that same year only accentuated the loyalty of his fans, and his 4-F status as the result of that accident created an opportunity for him when so many other leading actors of the era (James Stewart, Clark Gable) were off to war. Johnson was quickly promoted as MGM'sleading man in war heroics and sweet romancers on the big screen: The White Cliffs of Dover, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (both 1944), Thrill of a Romance, the episodic Week-End at the Waldorf (both 1945), and a musical remake of Libeled Lady entitled Easy to Wed (1946).

Hits though these were, it wasn't until after the war that Johnson began to receive more dramatic parts and better material such as supporting Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the political farce State of the Union (1948). other significant roles included the well-modulated noir thriller The Scene of the Crime, the grim war spectacle Battleground (both 1949), the moving domestic drama Invitation (1952) in which he played a man who is paid to marry a woman (Dorothy McGuire) by her father. Before he left MGM, he closed his career out in fine form with the sweeping musical Brigadoon, co-starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse; and the lilting soaper The Last Time I Saw Paris (both 1954) with Elizabeth Taylor.

After he left MGM, the parts that came Johnson's way weren't as varied, but he had his moments in The Caine Mutiny (1954), the beguiling romance drama Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman; and his lead performance in one of the first successful made for-TV-movies The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957). By the '60s, Johnson returned to the stage, and played the title role in London's West End production of The Music Man. He then returned to Broadway in the drama Come on Strong. He still had a few good supporting parts, most notably as Debbie Reynolds' suitor in Norman Lear's scathing satire on marital differences Divorce American Style (1967); and television welcomed his presence on many popular shows in the '70s and '80s such as Maude, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and of course Murder She Wrote. There was one last graceful cameo in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), yet for the most remainder of his career, Johnson worked mainly on the dinner theater circuit before retiring from showbiz completely by the mid-90s. He is survived by a daughter, Schuyler.

by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Van Johnson - Important Schedule Change on TCM In Honor To Salute VAN JOHNSON

Turner Classic Movies Pays Tribute to Van Johnson on Tuesday, December 23rd with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note. The new schedule for the evening of Tuesday, December 23rd will be: 8:00 PM In the Good Old Summertime 9:45 PM A Guy Named Joe 12:30 AM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo 2:30 AM The Last Time I Saw Paris 4:30 AM Thrill of a Romance Van Johnson (1916-2008) Van Johnson, the boyish leading man whose clean cut, All-American appeal made him a top box-office draw for MGM during World War II, died on December 12 in Nyack, New York of natural causes. He was 92. He was born Charles Van Dell Johnson on August 25, 1916, in Newport, Rhode Island. By his own account, his early childhood wasn't a stable one. His mother abandoned him when he was just three and his Swedish-born father offered little consolation or nurturing while he was growing up. Not surprisingly, Johnson found solace in singing and dancing lessons, and throughout his adolescence, he longed for a life in show business. After graduating high school in 1934, he relocated to New York City and was soon performing as a chorus boy on Broadway in shows such as New Faces of 1936 and eventually as an understudy in Rodgers and Hart's musical, Too Many Girls in 1939. Johnson eventually made his way to Hollywood and landed an unbilled debut in the film version of Too Many Girls (1940). By 1941, he signed a brief contract with Warner Bros., but it only earned him a lead in a "B" programmer Murder in the Big House (1941); his contract soon expired and he was dropped by the studio. Johnson was on his way back to New York, but as luck would have it - in the truest Hollywood sense - friends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz introduced him to Billy Grady, a lead talent scout at MGM, which was currently Ball's new studio. Johnson was signed up and almost immediately MGM had a star on its hands. It might have been slow going at first, with Johnson playing able support in films such as Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant and The War Against Mrs. Hadley (both 1942). By 1943 the studio capitalized on his broad smile and freckles and starred him in two of the studio's biggest hits: A Guy Named Joe and The Human Comedy. Those two films transformed him into a boxoffice draw with a huge following, particularly among teenage girls. A near fatal car accident that same year only accentuated the loyalty of his fans, and his 4-F status as the result of that accident created an opportunity for him when so many other leading actors of the era (James Stewart, Clark Gable) were off to war. Johnson was quickly promoted as MGM'sleading man in war heroics and sweet romancers on the big screen: The White Cliffs of Dover, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (both 1944), Thrill of a Romance, the episodic Week-End at the Waldorf (both 1945), and a musical remake of Libeled Lady entitled Easy to Wed (1946). Hits though these were, it wasn't until after the war that Johnson began to receive more dramatic parts and better material such as supporting Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the political farce State of the Union (1948). other significant roles included the well-modulated noir thriller The Scene of the Crime, the grim war spectacle Battleground (both 1949), the moving domestic drama Invitation (1952) in which he played a man who is paid to marry a woman (Dorothy McGuire) by her father. Before he left MGM, he closed his career out in fine form with the sweeping musical Brigadoon, co-starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse; and the lilting soaper The Last Time I Saw Paris (both 1954) with Elizabeth Taylor. After he left MGM, the parts that came Johnson's way weren't as varied, but he had his moments in The Caine Mutiny (1954), the beguiling romance drama Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman; and his lead performance in one of the first successful made for-TV-movies The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957). By the '60s, Johnson returned to the stage, and played the title role in London's West End production of The Music Man. He then returned to Broadway in the drama Come on Strong. He still had a few good supporting parts, most notably as Debbie Reynolds' suitor in Norman Lear's scathing satire on marital differences Divorce American Style (1967); and television welcomed his presence on many popular shows in the '70s and '80s such as Maude, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and of course Murder She Wrote. There was one last graceful cameo in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), yet for the most remainder of his career, Johnson worked mainly on the dinner theater circuit before retiring from showbiz completely by the mid-90s. He is survived by a daughter, Schuyler. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the International Film Critics Prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

Voted Best Screenplay by the 1985 New York Film Critics Circle.

Released in United States Spring March 1, 1985

Michael Keaton was originally cast in the role of Tom Baxter but was replaced by Jeff Daniels after 10 days of shooting as Woody Allen decided he had too contemporary a look for the role.

Began shooting November 5, 1983

Released in United States Spring March 1, 1985