Sight and Sound - 12/01/1977
"...Ivory is a film-maker who reacts strongly to locations....[ROSELAND] has the measure of its setting..."
New York Times - 10/02/1977
"...Funny, moving, imaginative....The performers have a ball..."
The delightful ROSELAND is director James Ivory's first film set within a contemporary American setting. At New York City's famed Roseland Ballroom, the romantic and brokenhearted come together in a trilogy of stories. The first vignette, THE WALTZ, stars Teresa Wright as May, a widow, and Lou Jacobi as her suitor. THE HUSTLE stars Christopher Walken (in an early screen appearance) as a charming gigolo who has abandoned his hopes for dance fame in lieu of a more financially rewarding life. The third vignette, THE PEABODY stars Lilia Skala as Rosa, a woman hoping to compete in the vigorous dance, the Peabody, despite health warnings.
Except for a handful of exterior scenes, the entire film was shot on location inside the Roseland Ballroom; however, the filmmakers were allowed to shoot the extensive dance scenes only on Wednesday nights. Roseland wouldn't allow any of its lights or interiors to be changed, but the scenic artists' union demanded Merchant Ivory hire an art director and a scenic artist even though the ballroom's stipulations made them unnecessary. Overcoming these production difficulties, ROSELAND emerges as an enjoyable tribute to both the historic New York institution and its love-seeking patrons.