Comedy at TJFF 2014 + Broadway Danny Rose on Blu

May 22, 2014 | By



Standup comedy’s the theme that ties together this quartet of DVD and film reviews from the 2014 Toronto Jewish Film Festival.

BroadwayDanny_Rose_BRFirst up is Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose (1984), an stellar tale of ridiculous circumstances as told by a group of veteran comedians enjoying a heavy dinner at a classic NYC diner. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray sports a sharp transfer, with another isolated music & effects track.

From TJFF we have three related reviews, staring with Sheldon Leonard’s Wonderful Life, a 2014 re-edit of Allan Holzman’s 2011 documentary about the former character actor who found a bounty of opportunities working in radio and TV. Leonard was a pioneering showrunner – the lead creative organizer who made sure the tone and quality stayed in check and with credits like Make Room for Daddy, The Dick Vam Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and I Spy, he was responsible for a substantive chunk of TV history, packed with some of America’s greatest comedic talent, including a young Carl Reiner.

Before his career as a film director (All of Me, The Man with Two Brains, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid), Reiner was also a writer / actor, and contributed in the classic variety show Your Show of Shows, which was performed and broadcast live during the early fifties. TJFF screened  a 1974 feature film which showcased 10 of the show’s best-known skits, including the untouchable spoof of This is Your Life with star Sid Caesar.

Lastly, there’s When Comedy Went to School (2013), a lively chronicle of the Borscht Belt where many of stand-up comedy’s great pioneers honed their craft in the hotels up in the Catskills.

Coming really shortly: a review of Winifred Phillips’ excellent intro book to video game scoring plus related soundtrack reviews.


Mark R. Hasan, Editor



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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