Well, I got through it this time. Some years ago I got so frustrated that I just destroyed the copy of the film I had on the spot. Now that I have finished it I can say that the film does not hold up for the 163 minute running time. I was right back then to dispose of it.
It’s about a sax player who falls for a canary (jazz term for a female singer). The two of them have a tumultuous relationship that ultimately sends them in opposite directions even after a baby has been born. The film is a bit of a mess, jumping around things that should be explained. The film largely pays homage to the musicals of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s complete with a Busby Berkeley sequence. Most of the time the film falls back on Minnelli’s singing. Her mother (Judy Garland) was a good singer and a decent actress. Minnelli is only a decent singer, but as an actress she’s quite good as evidenced in Cabaret. Unforunately, the little acting in this film consists of De Niro being self-centered and arguing with Minnelli among others. These are two great actors and yet Scorsese tries to put the magic where it doesn’t exist.
Even if you can forgive the holes in the plot and really want to enjoy the visual style, the problems with the film eventually drag it down to nothing after 163 minutes. Avoid this film please!