In 1928 Harlem, white trumpet player Dixie Dwyer saves the life of mob boss Dutch Schultz and is taken into the gangster’s circle of henchmen. But Dixie aspires to a career in Hollywood, imitating Schultz on-screen. The musician also begins an affair with the mobster’s girlfriend. When the mafioso Lucky Luciano starts patronising the Cotton Club, Schultz’ empire is further threatened ... “Do I look like a boss in this suit?” – “Keep two thugs behind you and you do.” – “I want them to notice the suit!” Even gangster Dutch Schultz understood that clothes make a subtle difference. Milena Canonero costumed him and the Cotton Club’s white owners in the finest black apparel and hats with hatbands, while the black musicians wear rough fabrics in brown herringbone and soft caps. Hollywood star James Cagney appears in the film, visiting the club in a gangster look befitting his status, and Gloria Swanson wears an elaborate headdress; the Cotton Club showgirls show off their bare skin in glittering two-piece outfits. The designer came up with a dazzling diversity of looks for this film, which owes as much to Howard Hawk’s Scarface as it does to Busby Berkeley’s backstage musicals.
Francis Ford Coppola
125 min · Colour · 35 mm
Richard GereGregory HinesDiane LaneLonette McKeeBob Hoskins
Totally Independentfür/for Orion Pictures Corp., USA
Copy: Park Circus, Glasgow