The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985 – DVD)

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

As soon as I read about the plot of Woody Allen’s 1985 film ‘The Purple Rose Of Cairo’ I had to see it.  The story is set in the depression and follows an absent-minded waitress called Cecilia (Mia Farrow) who spends the little money her boorish husband doesn’t waste on booze and dice, on going to the movies.  Her local cinema shows a film a week and this week it’s called ‘The Purple Rose Of Cairo’, a film-within-a-film featuring an archaeologist character called Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels).  As her grim real life falls apart she retreats into the world of the film, viewing it every night after work, until one evening Tom Baxter literally steps out of the screen and takes her out on the town.

Interestingly Woody Allen treats this incident as no mere flight of fantasy but as a freak real life occurrence.  So we get to see what farcical things would happen if a movie character really did come to life, leading to some hilarious scenes.  Allen and his two stars play the tender romance to perfection bringing to mind the captivating magic of films like ‘Life Is Beautiful’ and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.  If you played ‘The Purple Rose Of Cairo’ alongside ‘Nuevo Cinema Paradiso’, you’d have powerful double bill about the transporting power of cinema.

Here’s a brief clip of Jeff Daniels talking about the film at the BFI:

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One Comment to “The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985 – DVD)”

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