Berlinale: Programme

Film file


The Cotton Club

Cotton Club

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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

USA 1984


125’ · Colour · 35 mm

Rating R16


Richard Gere
Gregory Hines
Diane Lane
Lonette McKee
Bob Hoskins


Francis Ford Coppola
William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola, based on an idea by William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo
Stephen Goldblatt
Barry Malkin, Robert Q. Lovett
John Barry
Craig Lyman
Production Design
Richard Sylbert
Art Director
Gregory Bolton, David Chapman
Milena Canonero
Craig Lyman
Robert Evans

Produced by

Totally Independent

Copy: Park Circus, Glasgow