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Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Cotton Club’ Is Returning to Theaters With Director’s Cut

The 1984 film stars Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Gregory Hines, Bob Hoskins, Laurence Fishburne, and Nicolas Cage and is set in 1930s Harlem.

Gregory Hines


A new cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 crime drama “The Cotton Club” is set to hit theaters this fall following a bow at the 2019 New York Film Festival. “The Cotton Club” stars Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Gregory Hines, Bob Hoskins, Laurence Fishburne and Nicolas Cage and is set in 1930s Harlem at the legendary jazz venue from which it takes its name. For the initial release, Coppola bent to outside concerns that he edit the film to focus solely on Gere’s character Dixie Dwyer. The Director’s Cut will presumably hew closer to the filmmaker’s original intent, which was to focus just as much on the character played by Gregory Hines, a dancer named Delbert “Sandman” Williams.

The official synopsis for the re-release reads: “In this lavish, 1930s-era drama, Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide. Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s extraordinary film is brought to vivid new life in The Cotton Club Encore. Featuring never-before-seen scenes and musical sequences that deepen and enrich the storylines, this remastered and beautifully restored version represents Coppola’s fully realized vision of The Cotton Club.”

“The Cotton Club” features choreography from legendary dancer instructor Henry LeTang, who worked with and/or instructed  Lena Horne, Betty Hutton, Billie Holiday, Chita Rivera, and Savion Glover, among others. Coppola co-wrote the script with William Kennedy. In addition to the aforementioned stars, the film features turns from Lonette McKee, James Remar, Allen Garfield, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.

“The Cotton Club” received a mostly warm critical reception and was nominated for several awards, including Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Picture (Drama) and Oscars for Best Art Direction (Richard Sylbert, George Gaines) and Best Film Editing. However, the film also earned a young Diane Lane a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.

Lionsgate will release the recut “The Cotton Club” in select theaters on October 11, preceded by a NYFF screening on October 5. The new cut will arrive on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on December 10 with exclusive new bonus material.

Check out the trailer (including some thrilling Gregory Hines tap numbers) for the re-release below.

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