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The Purple Rose Of Cairo

review by Zach B.


Rated PG

Running Time: 82 minutes

Starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello

Written and Directed by Woody Allen

Studio: MGM

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Collectible Booklet

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Mono, French Mono, Spanish Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (16 Scenes)

Released: November 6th, 2001
Also part of The Woody Allen Collection 3

Mia Farrow is Cecilia, a watiress during the depression. Cecilia is lonely. She's not really fond of her work, and feels very underappreciated by her husband (Danny Aiello) who seems to care more about money and his interests than his wife. Cecilia, however escapes reality by constantly going to the movies. However, with a little twist of fate, her favorite new movie hero Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) jumps off the screen and right into Cecilia's life. However, she soon meets the actor who plays him. And Cecilia falls for both, she must decide who and what's right for... what's real and what's fake?

"The Purple Rse Of Cairo" is one of my and a lot of people's beloved favorites from Allen. It's a movie we can all relate to somehow or another. Allen's directing is superb. The costumes, the editing and camera angles Allen puts in the film gives it a really nice, even warm feel. He really captures the depression era feel and people's lifestyles and feelings.

Still, his Oscar® nominated screenplay really, really shines. Allen creates true to life characters here, even if Tom Baxter is fiction. The dialogue and thought behind it is stunning. I like how Cecilia is so impressed someone so unglamarous like her can impress someone who is so interesting to her. I like how people react, and how the actors within the film need to stay on the screen and literally talk to the audiences. Not to mention the film producers reactions, what's possible and what's not possible. His writing style here is just superb. The quality of the storytelling is phenomenal. Not to mention small things become big adventures to Cecilia. I can just go on and on. Oh, and how Tom Baxter thinks life is a movie. Sorry...

But perhaps the most important aspect of the film is Allen's themes. How can we relate to it? We all, and I mean WE ALL like movies because not only do they entertain us, but they offer us an escape to worlds and places we know and dream of. Characters and plots we love to see and hear. And now all of this is happening in front of Cecilia. Then she is wooed by the character Tom Baxter and the character who is playing him. Cecilia has to confront illusion and reality. What's real and what's not, despite the fiction being truth. There's so much insight to what's presented here. It's a tribute to the joy of movies, and why we like them.

The acting here is also a triumph. Jeff Daniels as the original Last Action Hero is simply great. He plays the naive Tom Baxter to the fullest with charm and friendliness, while the actor who plays him captures some sweetness and arrogance to him. Danny Aiello is great as Cecilia's abusive and reckless husband, also emboding the character well. But Mia Farrow has great chemistry with all the characters. Capturing her innocence and unbeleviability, not to mention lonliness and joys. She's simply wonderful and represents us in many ways.

"The Purple Rose Of Cairo" is truly one of Allen's best. If you've never seen it, do check it out, even if you're not an Allen fan. This is another great movie for everyone's collection.

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen is pretty good. It has pieces of dirt, blemishes and scratches, but they're never really too distracting. Colors and fleshtones are pretty bold and well saturated. Detail is pretty good and so are the black levels. I didn't notice any edge enhancment either. This a rather good transfer that I was pleased with. It looks a bit compressed too. I wish it was a bit better, though.


The English mono track (there's also French and Spanish tracks in mono) is also pretty good. There is some hiss here and there, but it's not much. Dialogue is clear and crisp, while other sounds such as music sound rather good. You can hear everything fine, and since this movie is sort of a throwback to classic films, it actually works rather well. And since it's dialogue driven, it works too. Very classic feel to this track. Spanish, French and English subtitles plus English closed captions are included.


The cool full frame Theatrical Trailer is included and the usual, insightful collectible booklet.

While I hoped for a better transfer, "The Purple Rose Of Cairo" is a true Allen classic. Filled with wonderful characters, writing and expression and truth, this is a movie everyone should see. There is no doubt it's one of his best.

(4.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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