Encore, Encore! The Cotton Club is back for a new generation.
Directed by Academy Award-winning Francis Ford Coppola, The Cotton Club has been restored from its 1984 version. The film starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Maurice Hines, Laurence Fishburne, Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Grey and Tom Waits.
From the film’s press release:
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 film.
Though the public’s understanding of the film is an American crime drama centered around Richard Gere, Coppola meant for it to be a story of two main characters, one white and one black, navigating life in and around the Cotton Club with their families. However, back in 1984 during post-production, the film was condemned as too long, and according to some stakeholders as having “too many black people,” and “too much tap dancing,” Coppola was pressured to minimize Gregory Hines’ character and lose many musical numbers, thus eroding the historical portrayal of what the performances at the Cotton Club shows were really like.
In the first look clip above (titled “Tall, Tan, Terrific”) you get to see some of these restored images as Hines’ “Sandman” tantalizes McKee’s “Lila Rose” with his talented tap dancing at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Hines was smooth, y’all!
Along with brand new and shiny frames, The Cotton Club Encore will feature a Gregory and Maurice Hines tap performance, Lonette McKee’s brilliant rendition of Ethel Waters’ “Stormy Weather,” and the ending Coppola originally envisioned.
“I and my company American Zoetrope set about the daunting task to find the more than thirty minutes of lost negative, in some cases restoring it from old print material, and to restore, remix and allow this film to re-emerge in a new and worthy edition,” Coppola said in a press release. “This is THE COTTON CLUB ENCORE, the film the world should have seen despite the countless court cases, murder trial proceedings, and warring producers.”
And if you’re a film nerd like me, you’ll enjoy this next treat—we have the workprint version of the clip, which compares the original to the 2019 restored version!
Enjoy! The Cotton Club Encore debuts at the 57th New York Film Festival, Saturday, Oct. 5. The film will open in select theaters Oct. 11 and will be on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on Dec. 10.