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The premise here is unique, but it wears thin after the first reel, even though directer-writer Woody Allen strives mightily to keep things humming. Cecilia (Mia Farrow) is married to loutish, womanizing Monk (Danny Aiello) and lives a miserable life as a diner waitress. Her only escape
from the woes of the depression is in the local movie house. Cecilia is particularly absorbed by a film (fictional) entitled "The Purple Rose of Cairo" starring a simon-pure hero (Jeff Daniels). She watches the same movie over and over, and then the miracle occurs. The hero suddenly faces the
camera on-screen and begins to talk to Cecilia in the audience, then he startles the rest of the on-film actors by stepping out of the screen and into the theater, asking Cecilia to show him what real life is all about. He falls in love with her and she with him, but Monk and the Hollywood moguls
are concerned. It's all a clever gimmick, of course, and Allen pulls it off well technically, but the story is as one-dimensional as the fictional Daniels. Where Allen succeeds is in his re-creation of the old studio programmers of the 1930s, something he had done briefly before in ZELIG. Allen
has done better than this, but THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO is a sweet little film and an interesting diversion for his legion of followers.