Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen) - 1985

Mia Farrow and her sister Stephanie love the movies but their families and employers just do not understand the attraction.  In the middle of the Great Depression in New Jersey, the Jewel Theater is a place where one can escape the hard times.  "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is playing at the Jewel and the theater manager cannot shut off the projector because one of the actors is missing.

From the creative mind of Woody Allen, Jeff Daniels (character name Tom Baxter; stage name Gil Shepherd; cabbie name Herbert Vardebedian) is allowed to fall in love with the woman (Mia) in the audience and to leave the movie to experience the real world.  Meanwhile, the other actors are stuck without a story line.  They remain on the screen arguing with the audience and theater management while they wait for Baxter to return.  The real trick of this movie is the coordination of the two-dimensional, black-and-white actors with the color characters on the other side.  Woody does it flawlessly. 

At one point, in response to a comment about her complicated life, Mia says: "He's fictional but you can't have everything." 

Prudence Farrow (inspiration for Dear Prudence on the untitled "white album" by the Beatles) acted as "art department coordinator" for the movie, thereby becoming the fourth of the four Farrow sisters to work on a Woody Allen movie.  [JAM 12/21/2009]

["When I first got the idea, it was just a character comes down from the screen, there are some high jinks, but then I thought, where would it go?  Then it hit me: the actor playing the character comes to town.  After that, it opened up like a great flower.  Cecilia had to decide, and chose the real person, which was a step up for her.  Unfortunately, we must choose reality, but in the end it crushes us and disappoints.  My view of reality is that it has always been a grim place to be, but it's the only place you can get Chinese food." Conversations with Woody Allen November 1987]

[" ... it was the Kent Theater (Brooklyn), which was very important to me in my childhood because it was, as we always used to say, the last outpost.  When a film left the Kent, it went into the archives, into the time capsule.  And you would always hear the freight train in the Kent.  You'd be watching a movie and you'd hear a freight train go by for five minutes." Conversations with Woody Allen May 2005]