Rambling Reviewer, “Moonstruck”

Directed by Norman Jewison, 1987

CAST: Cher as Loretta Castorini – Won Academy Award for Best Actress Nicolas Cage as Ronny Cammareri Won Golden Globe for Best Actor, Olympia Dukakis as Rose Castorini Won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Vincent Gardenia as Cosmo Castorini, Danny Aiello as Johnny Cammareri, Julie Bovasso as Rita Cappomaggi, Louis Guss as Raymond Cappomaggi, John Mahoney as Perry, Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as Grandpa Castorini, Anita Gillette as MonaFor ages the full moon has influenced the lives of humans.

For one Italian-American family and its protagonist Loretta Castorini (Cher) other superstitions are ascribed for causing their family events. Loretta’s first husband died early because there was no proper wedding ceremony. Now Johnny Cammareri, played by Danny Aiello, has just proposed to her, but he states he must travel to Sicily to visit his dying mother before the proper wedding she demands. Johnny says he’s not sure when he’ll be back but they can marry in exactly one month, He asks her to tell his brother what he is doing and to invite him to the wedding. Loretta tells her father Cosmo, played by Vincent Gardenia, the news, but he distrusts Johnny and says she is just unlucky in love, and won’t support the marriage. Later Cosmo’s wife Rose, played by Olympia Dukakis, says she doesn’t believe Loretta loves Johnny. Loretta visits Johnny’s brother at the Cammareri Bakery. Ronny Cammareri, played by Nicolas Cage, now runs the bakery. When Loretta invites him to their wedding he is filled with rage. He asks one of his helpers to get “the big knife” so he can slit his throat. In front of the brick oven where he works, he shows Loretta his prosthetic left hand, mangled in a slicer when Johnny distracted him. He then says his fiancé left him after that and now Loretta announces that she is getting married to his hated brother. Instead of arguing in front of the help, they go upstairs to his apartment. They argue some more but then have a conversation about love and relationships and personalities while they have lunch, She says he’s not the only one that has shed tears. One thing leads to another and he takes her to bed where they make love. She spends the night but insists she will still marry Johnny. Ronny invites her to attend the Metropolitan Opera, where La Bohème is featured. He tells Loretta that he will leave her alone after that. They both dress up and look wonderful for the evening. Affairs of the heart start pivoting in the film, even in the Castorini household. Grandfather Castorini has already noted the full moon, an auspicious time for love. But who is falling in love with whom? At the finale of the movie, all the family is re-united – watch and find out.
Producer and director Norman Jewison bought the original script of Moonstruck by John Patrick Shanley and took it to MGM’s chief executive Alan Ladd Jr. for production. MGM was just coming off a long slump and wanted to revive an active program of new releases. MGM signed on immediately and production began in New York and continued in Toronto, Jewison’s home town. The Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Square was filmed with over 300 background actors, including hundreds of actual Lincoln Center audience members exiting the theater after an actual performance. The actress who played Loretta’s aunt Rita, Julie Bovasso, was also hired to be the dialogue coach on using a proper Brooklyn accent. And one of the uncredited stars of the movie was its full moon, although it had a name: Wendy. The moon was lit by 196 fey lights attached to a giant cherry picker and was hung over the set. “Wendy” was invented by British director of photography David Watkin.
Moonlight was nominated for Academy Awards for: Actor in a Supporting Role for Vincent Gardenia; Directing, and for Best Picture. It won Academy Awards for Actress in a Leading Role for Cher, and Actress in a Supporting Role for Olympia Dukakis; and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) for John Patrick Shanley. It’s also one of the best romantic comedies you’ll ever see.
Christian Esquevin is a member of the Coronado Island Film Festival Board of Directors, an avid film aficionado, and the creator of the blog Silver Screen Modes which focuses on the fashions and films of classic Hollywood. He is also the author and researcher for a stunning tabletop book Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Labelon fashion designer and icon, Gilbert Adrian, the chief fashion designer for MGM studios from 1928 to 1941.



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