Woody Allen Remembers Ingmar Bergman (2007)

March 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm (Cinema, Life & Politics, Reviews & Articles, Woody Allen)

Woody Allen’s remembrance of Swedish filmmaking legend Ingmar Bergman, from a New York Times article, dated Aug. 12, 2007…

Got the news in Oviedo, a lovely little town in the north of Spain where I am shooting a movie, that Bergman had died. A phone message from a mutual friend was relayed to me on the set. Bergman once told me he didn’t want to die on a sunny day, and not having been there, I can only hope he got the flat weather all directors thrive on.

I’ve said it before to people who have a romanticized view of the artist and hold creation sacred: In the end, your art doesn’t save you. No matter what sublime works you fabricate (and Bergman gave us a menu of amazing movie masterpieces) they don’t shield you from the fateful knocking at the door that interrupted the knight and his friends at the end of The Seventh Seal. And so on a summer’s day, Bergman, the great cinematic poet of mortality, couldn’t prolong his own inevitable checkmate, and the finest filmmaker of my lifetime was gone.

I have joked about art being the intellectual’s Catholicism, that is, a wishful belief in an afterlife. Better than to live on in the hearts and minds of the public is to live on in one’s apartment, is how I put it. And certainly Bergman’s movies will live on and will be viewed at museums and on TV and sold on DVDs, but knowing him this was meager compensation, and I am sure he would have been only too glad to barter each one of his films for an additional year of life. This would have given him roughly 60 more birthdays to go on making movies; a remarkable creative output. And there’s no doubt in my mind that’s how he would have used the extra time, doing the one thing he loved above all else, turning out films. Read the rest of this entry »

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“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (2010)

December 2, 2010 at 12:00 am (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Woody Allen)

A review from IndieWire, Sept. 20th of this year, by Eric Kohn, of Woody Allen’s new film…

With each new movie Woody Allen directs, it grows increasingly clear that leaving New York was the best decision he made in ages. Two years ago, Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona freed the quintessentially neurotic comic from his out-of-touch depictions of American urbanity by letting Spanish flavor meld with the vibrancy of his speedy dialogue. Back on familiar turf with the Soho-based Whatever Works in 2009, Allen resorted to dated reference points and half-baked scenarios.

Abroad again with his latest venture, Read the rest of this entry »

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Lauren Wilcox – “Stardust Memories” (2009)

June 13, 2009 at 9:19 am (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Woody Allen)

Recent article in the Washington Post analyzing Woody Allen’s use of New York City (specifically Manhattan) as a backdrop in his films over the years… 


Woody Allen has spent a lifetime making movies that play like love letters to Manhattan. But does his New York exist only on the big screen? 

The shot of the Queensboro Bridge, from a point just south of the bridge on Manhattan’s eastern shore, is one of the enduring images of Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan. The movie is filmed in black and white, and that, along with the hazy predawn light, gives the scene a ready-made nostalgia, the grainy wistfulness of a memory. In the foreground, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, at the end of an impulsive all-night gambol through the city, are framed on a park bench by charmingly seedy urban props: a scrubby tree in a pot; a post canted at an angle, as though someone has run into it. In the distance rises the bridge, monolithic and dreamlike, garlanded with little white lights. “Boy,” says Woody Allen’s character dreamily, and heaves a sigh. “This is really a great city. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s really a knockout, you know?”

The scene is barely a minute long, but the New York it captures – grubby, slightly down-at-the-heel, but queerly beautiful and irrepressibly romantic – became, for practically an entire generation of moviegoers, the quintessential image of the city. By the time I tried to visit the same spot, some 30 years after the film, things had changed. The tree in a pot was gone, as was the post, replaced by a blue guardrail; a tasteful plaque on the fence reminded patrons to pick up after their dogs. Perhaps most dramatically, the view of the river was almost entirely obscured by a scrim of sycamores, which appeared to have grown up in the interim. And the bridge? The bridge was there, of course, but barely visible through the trees and half-shrouded in great swaths of dirty white tarp, like a disheveled Christo installation.

Nothing of the previous era seemed to remain at all. This revelation was critical, I felt, to more than just this quarter-acre. It is practically the municipal pastime, mourning the disappearance of the “real” New York, but the question seemed fair: Did the “real” New York City, as Woody Allen saw it – a place that for him always “existed in black and white, and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin,” that “metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture,” which he “romanticized all out of proportion” – still exist? Had it ever existed at all?

To begin such a search, it seemed best to start with a place from Allen’s films that was as old and ostensibly authentic as possible. Besides the streets of the city itself, one of the spots that Allen used most extensively as a setting was the Carnegie Deli, in Midtown, which anchored the plot of his 1984 film Broadway Danny Rose.

Set in the early 1970s, it’s the story of soft-hearted, small-time agent Danny Rose (Allen), who represents dead-end acts such as a woman who plays the wineglasses (“the Jascha Heifetz of this instrument,” says Rose) and a one-legged tap dancer. In the film, a group of his (less hapless) peers – aging comics with thick glasses, thick hair and plaid sportcoats – get to telling stories about Danny Rose over coffee at the deli. The plot of Rose’s most dramatic misadventure unfolds in a series of flashbacks involving a has-been lounge singer, the New Jersey mob and a tart Mia Farrow. But the scenes in the tidy, well-worn deli are the film’s centerpiece, as the comedians reminisce about Rose and lament the decline of their profession.

“I don’t know what works anymore,” one comedian complains to another, talking about a joke he’s used for years. “Last night it died,” he says. “Died, I tell you, Marty; the audience sat there like an oil painting.”

The Carnegie Deli today looks largely unchanged from its movie-star turn or, for that matter, from its inception. The blinking neon sign out front is a relic from its earliest days; the checkerboard floors are recognizable from the film, as is the high glass counter, piled with plates and steaming heaps of pastrami, the white-capped heads of the countermen just visible behind them. The place, on a Wednesday afternoon, was packed. But it was not packed with Borscht Belt comedians or gossipy housewives or jovial extended families with their broods of sturdy children, or any of the other old-New-York types I had envisioned at a venerable deli’s tables. Instead it was doing a bustling business in tourists, people inspecting subway maps and flipping through guides to the city, the pages marked with Post-its.

The food was familiar – the restaurant has served the same traditional Eastern European and Jewish deli fare since it opened in 1937. My matzoh ball soup came in two parts: matzoh ball, in the bowl, and soup, decanted tableside from a little metal tureen. The matzoh ball was bigger than a baseball. The sandwiches of the two diners next to me were similarly massive, and though we did our best, we left our lunches half-ravaged on the plates.

On the way out, I stood in line for the cashier behind a tall, gray-haired man in a suit, who was deep in conversation with the countermen. “There are no real Jewish bakeries anymore!” the man was saying. “They’re all gone! Even in Brooklyn!” He rattled off a list of the disappeared. A guy standing at the end of the counter, gray and balding, nodded. “My high-school reunion is coming up,” he said. “They want to rent a bus and tour around Brooklyn. I said, you’d better take a drive around first!”

The man in the suit handed his check to the woman behind the cash register. The wall over the register was covered with autographed head shots of actors, including one of Allen; it was slightly rippled with age, and a pink stain had spread over part of Allen’s face. The woman’s assistant, a young man in a shag haircut, thumbed through the man’s bills. “Breaking in a new guy?” the man in the suit said amicably. “Everything changes, eh?”

Perhaps, I decided, it was simply unrealistic nostalgia to expect to find an entire community, an entire way of life, carrying on untouched in the Carnegie Deli. But it occurred to me that unrealistic nostalgia was a sentiment familiar to Allen, and to his characters; he built it into the neuroses of at least one film’s lead, played by him. In the 1977 film Annie Hall, Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, tries to trace the roots of his failed relationship with Annie (Diane Keaton) by sorting through pivotal moments in their romance, as well as formative moments in his past, all cast in the same romantic half-light.

One of these fits of nostalgia takes place on Coney Island, the beach community and metropolitan resort destination at the southernmost tip of Brooklyn, where Alvy grew up in a house built under an old wooden roller coaster. The movie’s flashbacks of Coney Island are brief but evocative: Navy sailors in their dress whites, dolled-up girlfriends in tow, buying hotdogs on the boardwalk; the bumper-car ride where Alvy’s father works; the little bungalow shuddering as the rattletrap coaster goes by overhead. It appears to be the 1940s, which was actually a time of decline for the neighborhood, but Allen’s vision captures the derelict magic it would have held for a third-grader. The seediness has charm and vigor; the place feels mysterious and alive.

In real life, things got worse before they got better for Coney Island, which suffered well into the ’70s before undergoing a modest revival during the economic boom of the ’80s and ’90s. In 2006, a developer bought a large portion of the beachfront amusement area with plans, yet to materialize, to build a billion dollars’ worth of hotels and upscale entertainment. But it retains the reputation of a place whose appeal transcends, or perhaps arises from, its shabbiness, its wholehearted devotion to the frivolous, and maybe, I thought, that charm had persisted.

The Coney Island boardwalk is a silvery, sand-swept expanse of planks along a three-mile stretch of land between the beachfront road and the Atlantic. Some of the planks are so loose that they dip underfoot, like piano keys. On a brilliant Saturday morning, the beachfront businesses were just opening, a crush of food stands whose fading, hand-painted signs jostled for attention – baked clams, hot buttered corn, ice cream, hot sweet sausages.

The boardwalk was filling with people who, while not sailors and glamour girls, seemed at home there: shuffling older couples hand-in-hand; barrel-chested joggers with large gold necklaces, lumbering heavily along in pairs; a cluster of bronzed and oiled middle-aged partyers reclining in lawn chairs in front of the smoothie stand, the women in bikinis and the men with their hair slicked back, their shorts pulled high on their legs, shouting at each other at close range.

Once there were amusements up and down the boardwalk; when I visited, there were a few remaining, including the now-closed Astroland, the Cyclone roller coaster, as well as the defunct AstroTower, still standing like a monumental cigarette, to provide the park’s distinctive skyline.

I wanted to see the bumper cars, some version of which Alvy’s father had operated in Annie Hall. Bumper car technology does not seem to have changed since the 1940s, and the bumper car ride at Astroland looked much like the ride in the movie, a dim and cavernous stage updated with a few illustrations of women in bikinis and a man dressed vaguely like Captain America. The operator was a slim and melancholy man named Richard Kennedy, who gave his age as 38 but looked older and had a large gold stud in his nose. He was from Coney Island, he said, and had been coming to the boardwalk since he was young. He had worked at Astroland for 13 summers; in the winters, he works “something off the books.”

I asked if much had changed on the boardwalk over the years, and he waved a hand at something obvious to him that was no longer there. “Oh, it used to be all crowded up and down, everyone on the rides,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be, back in the day.”

But to me, Astroland, though scrubby, looked hale. The scene there might not have been the one Kennedy remembered, but it was a scene nonetheless. Like the rest of the boardwalk, it was thronged with people for whom Coney Island seemed not a page in their guidebook but a piece of their daily lives. Leaving Astroland, I wandered up the boardwalk; in the crowded handball courts next door, a tall, lean man tanned the color of fried chicken, with a fantastic head of silver hair, was shaking hands with his competitors after a game. His hand, when he took off his handball glove, flashed lily white.

Was it possible, I wondered, that the past was a shifting target? That nostalgia was relative? Do we all have our own personal golden age, by which we will always measure the present, and by whose standards the present will always fail? It made sense that, for a filmmaker, such a dissatisfaction with the present might feed the impulse to continually tinker with the past. Toward the end of Annie Hall, after Alvy’s efforts to reunite with Annie have failed, he stages a play in which their doomed relationship ends happily instead. “You know how you’re always trying to get things to come out perfect in art,” he comments, to the camera. “Because it’s real difficult in life.” If this was part of what drove Allen’s films, where would I ever find the New York he had created, that had seemed so real?

Perhaps the most swoony and unreservedly nostalgic of Allen’s New York movies is Radio Days, from 1987. Set in the 1940s, it tells two consummate New York stories: that of radio and its stars, in their Times Square studios, and that of the slightly shabby and volatile but close-knit household of the movie’s young protagonist, Joe Needleman, whose family listens avidly to the radio from their home in Far Rockaway. Both stories are given the supersaturated hues of untouchable memory.

Built into the film’s pretense is the understanding that radio was a doomed medium; this is ultimately a film about a vanishing world, and its joy and love, seen from this distance, are increasingly melancholy. “I’ve never forgotten any of those people,” the narrator concludes at the end of the film, “or any of the voices we used to hear on the radio, although the truth is, with the passing of each New Year’s Eve, those voices do seem to grow dimmer and dimmer.”

After poking around, I found that though most of the establishments of World War II-era Times Square have transformed themselves many times since, there is a bar and restaurant that was featured in the movie, the King Cole Room in the swank St. Regis Hotel, that still exists. In the movie, the tinkling sounds of a New Year’s celebration at the King Cole Room are piped into the narrator’s living room in Far Rockaway, where they drift around like gilded dust, dazzling and unreachable.

The St. Regis today retains that sort of shimmering cachet. Even the lobby glows goldenly, an expanse of butterscotch marble and gilt trim. In the late ’80s the hotel was renovated, and the restaurant, as it appeared in the movie, was dismantled. The current King Cole Bar and Lounge was rebuilt in the back of the hotel and is a darkly lush enclave lined from floor to ceiling in cherry wood and lit by the luminous tones of a mural of Old King Cole, by Maxfield Parrish, behind the bar.

On a weekday evening, I propped myself against a column in the bar, which was crammed, in the way that elegant people downing a scotch or two can be crammed, swaying, with dignity, on the dainty bar furniture and on each other. The crowd was mostly men, all in sharply cut suits and jewel-toned ties and glossy shoes, but they were older than a power-banker crowd, and had an artfully rumpled, leonine look: loosened ties, wild coronas of hair.

A man who said he was from Africa tried to hold my hand and wanted to know, not unkindly, what I was doing there; when I told him I was writing a story about Woody Allen’s Manhattan, he said: “I live near Woody Allen! I have spoken to Woody many times. I do not think he is that funny. Or, he is, but not my taste.”

A few waiters moved nimbly through the crowd. One stopped to tend to me. “It’s not a bad crowd tonight,” he said, when I observed that it was busy. “Usually we have to break things up. There’s a guy we call the opera singer who’s always here.” He pointed discreetly at a white-haired man in a navy suit, smiling to himself at the bar. “He’s quiet now, but you wait – any minute he’ll start screaming and yelling.”

Despite the bar’s high-tone clubbiness, it felt convivial, more like a place where people came to see others than to be seen. The patrons were, I thought, a fair approximation of the ritzy creative types that had frequented the bar in Radio Days, passing the time with an unselfconscious pleasure that would, in retrospect, become nostalgia. It seemed like the kind of place, at the kind of time, that people would one day miss bitterly.

A man named Bill Tomaskovic, drinking a double scotch at one end of the bar, struck up a conversation; he said he had been coming here for years. He was from New Jersey, but had been coming to Manhattan his whole life, first as a kid, to shows at Radio City Music Hall, and then for his job. Bracing myself for an ode to the good old days, I asked him if things had changed much, but Tomaskovic, 54, wasn’t having much to do with nostalgia.

“When I started working in the city,” he said, “it was the bad years. Dinkins. I used to come into the city through Port Authority, and when I came out onto the street I had to step over the bums. Back then we called them bums,” he added.

He understood what I was asking, though, and after a moment he leaned forward on his seat. “You know,” he said, “I’m a big movie buff. I like the old ones . . . [Fred Astaire] did a movie called ‘The Band Wagon,’ where he plays a movie star who comes back to New York City from L.A. to do a stage play. So he’s walking down 42nd Street. It’s the ’50s. All of his friends are laughing and talking. And he’s not; he’s staring at everything. He sees a theater house that they changed into a movie theater. He says, ‘But that used to be the — !’ He can’t believe it. Everything’s changed.” Tomaskovic paused to make sure I was following him. “And this is the ’50s!” he said. “You think of people today saying, ‘Oh, it’s not like it used to be, but – ‘ ” He shrugged.

The more I watched Allen’s early New York films, the more they seemed to be different versions of the same movie. Actors and eras sometimes change, but the heart of the narrative never does: characters’ minor dramas against the mundane pageantry of the city, the idiosyncratic and irrepressible rhythm of its daily life. And ultimately, of course, the city is Allen’s star. Faithful to his muse, he gives it a dozen headlining roles, stubbornly ignoring its bad days, its fits of pique, its long dark moods. No matter what decade it is, no matter what boom-time fever or economic gutter the city actually is in, the performance he coaxes from it is always the same: chaotic and delightful, romantic and seedy, a brilliant, good-hearted mess. A knockout, no matter what anybody says.

Allen’s recent movies have not been so much about New York City. Once, it seems, he barely left Manhattan; now each successive movie ventures farther and farther afield, to London, to Spain. Why, I wondered – had he finally run out of material at home? Had the strain of loving something that was always changing become too much, even for him? One of his long-standing connections to the city was a regular gig playing clarinet, first at a now-defunct club downtown and now at Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle hotel. Was this simply a jazz lover’s weekly indulgence, or was he trying, at this longtime mainstay of the Manhattan nightclub scene, to re-create a bit of the past?

The Carlyle, on East 76th Street, opened in 1930, and the lobby areas are less grand spaces than sleek little vertically scaled jewel boxes. The main room is decorated floor-to-ceiling with an art deco Dorothy Draper scheme of black-and-white marble and trim gold upholstery that looks delicately edgy today.

Allen played on Monday nights with a Dixieland ensemble called the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band, and while table reservations were pricey and went quickly, there were a few less-expensive seats at the bar, first come, first served. By the time the doors opened, there were a few of us waiting: two middle-aged women who had been schoolgirls together in Argentina; a furniture designer from the Netherlands, with silver industrial-looking spectacles and a mop of curly gray hair; and a pretty blonde of no more than 25, wearing an abundance of black eyeliner and a pair of very high, very pale yellow patent-leather heels.

We were a funny bunch, each of us, it seemed, on a pilgrimage. The furniture designer, who was in town to show a piece of his – a portable workstation in the shape of a sphere – said he loved Woody Allen movies, the old ones, and that some years before, he had designed a conceptual piece of furniture based on a scene from Sleeper. This was his first visit to New York, and he had spent all his free time walking around the city, looking for scenes he would recognize. “I am interested in the local ambiance, not the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could find the taste, the smell of a place; the reason he stayed here for so many years.” So far, he said, he had been disappointed. “Even when I went to Times Square, I thought it would shake my heart,” he said, “but – ” He shook his head.

The blonde, whose name was Annita Adamou, was from Greece; she had come to the city for a year to study acting. Her classes were almost finished, but she hoped to see Allen before she returned to Greece. “I want to talk to him,” she said, a little shyly, “to see if he wants me to be his new muse, after Scarlett Johansson.”

The tables were filling up with a mix of what looked like well-heeled tourists and well-heeled locals. And suddenly there was Allen, a few feet from me, assembling his clarinet at the last empty table in the cafe. He looked precisely as he did in his movies, in wide-wale corduroys, a shapeless sweater and those large-framed glasses, which he kept removing to inspect his reed. Sitting with him were two large men, kicked back in their chairs, who seemed to have been imported for this particular moment to provide a buffer from the crowd, as well as a deliberately casual, street-corner ambience. They regarded him fondly and made small talk. “Well, I missed the Celtics,” said Allen, who apparently had been out of town.

Onstage, Allen was subdued to the point of lethargy; he shrank into his chair, and between numbers he folded his hands over his clarinet and brooded at the carpet, or closed his eyes as though waiting for the whole thing to be over. But the music was buoyant and persuasive, old toe-tappers from the Jazz Age, with sunshiny bursts of brass and nimble banjo jigs. The bandleader let Allen pick the songs; during Allen’s upper-register solos, which put a dramatic frill on the choruses, he turned pink from giving them everything he had.

It was music that had once been ubiquitous and now barely existed at all, and its presence in the room was like a memory, rich and unadulterated. When the show was over, and most of the musicians had packed up and left the stage, Allen began singing an old tune under his breath: “Jada, jada, jada jada jing-jing-jing.” The banjo player grinned and joined him: “That old melody, sounds so soothing to me . . .” Allen pulled his sweater back on over his head, emerging from the neck hole with his glasses crooked, still singing softly.

Annita and I followed Allen out of the club and into the little jewel box lobby as he drifted along, looking bemused and making quiet wisecracks, in a clutch of people wanting to shake his hand. “Woody Allen, would you please sign my bill?” asked a tall man, holding out a dollar.

“But then it won’t be worth anything,” said Allen, looking worried.

“Mr. Allen, I love your movies,” Annita broke in breathlessly. “I am from Greece.”

“I had a wonderful time in Greece,” said Allen, and then he was ushered through a side door and was gone.

Annita and I walked the few blocks together to the No. 6 train. The evening was cool and still, and the Upper East Side neighborhood almost silent. On the platform, we ran into the women from Argentina, who were glowing from the evening. They hugged us, chattering about the cafe and the band. “Even the hotel!” one said, sighing deeply. “The people having dinner, the little girls all fancy in their dresses . . .” She gazed off down the platform, still dazzled by the vision.

“It was just like in the movies,” she said. 

Lauren Wilcox

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“A Comic Genius: Woody Allen Comes of Age” (1979)

April 15, 2009 at 3:31 am (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Woody Allen)

This article comes from Time magazine,  April 30, 1979 – around the time of his masterpiece Manhattan. Unfortunately, I do not know the writer of this piece (anybody out there know?)…

In Manhattan He Blends Wisdom with Wit to Create a Triumphant Movie

The man has quit his high-paying, esteem-lowering job as the writer of a trendy TV comedy show to write a true and unsparing novel about the way he and his bright, privileged New York friends live. He is visiting the second of his two former wives. She was bisexual when they met, but after living with him for a few years she has become a lesbian. It is a choice he has still not come to terms with. “You knew my history when you married me,” she says in self-defense. “My analyst warned me,” he admits, but then, wrapping the tattered shreds—of his romanticism about him, he adds, “but you were so beautiful that I got another analyst.”

Later on the ex-wife publishes a book called “Marriage, Divorce and Selfhood” in which she unforgivingly exposes his every flaw. Appalled, he protests. But true to the spirit of her times, she regards confession not as an extension of the gossip column but as a value to be treasured more deeply than tact or taste. “Nothing I wrote was untrue,” she snaps, when he accuses her of humiliating him deliberately. She closes the discussion by citing her work’s endorsement by contemporary society’s highest authority: “I think I’d better warn you that I’ve had interest in a movie sale.”

The man is attracted to a handsome woman full of culture babble. Alas, he must bide his time until his best friend, who just happens to be married, breaks off his relationship with her. One day he does. She takes her dismissal with a chilling display of post-lib schizophrenia: “I’m beautiful, I’m young, I’m highly intelligent, I’ve got everything going for me except I’m all f-——up . . . I could go to bed with the entire M.I.T. faculty. Shit! Now I lost my contact lens.” The sentence runs together like that because her completely contradictory sense of self and her priorities run together in the same way.

Later, he tries to describe his first wife to this woman. “She was a kindergarten teacher, then she got into drugs and moved to San Francisco. She went to est, became a Moonie. She works for the William Morris Agency now.” In that throwaway speech he has captured the archetypal odyssey of our time. Wistful questings, the dopey cons with which our society too often responds, the inevitable end in materialism—they are all there in that ingeniously compressed comic moment.

“What does your analyst say?” It is the man’s first, natural response when the handsome woman tells him she is going to return to her last lover. Since she is on a first-name basis with the doctor, she replies: “Donny’s in a coma. He had a bad acid experience.” She sees nothing unusual in this. What do medical ethics or traditions weigh when measured against modishness?

“I give the whole thing four weeks,” he tells her, repeating rejected lovers’ immemorial cry. “I can’t plan that far ahead,” she counters, and, God help her, she is not kidding. Heartbroken, he muses more to himself than to her: “You always think you’re going to be the one who makes them act different.”

Who is this man? And why are these people doing these terrible things, if not always to him, then always in his shocked presence? His name is Isaac Davis, and he is directed by, played by and created by Woody Allen (with the assistance of his co-writer and friend, Marshall Brickman). Davis is the central character in Allen’s new movie, Manhattan, and to put the matter simply, he is the mainspring of a masterpiece that is that perfect blending of style and substance, humor and humanity that his friends and followers were convinced he would one day make. It is also a rare summarizing statement, at once assured and vulnerable, in which an artist casts a selective eye over the fantastical life of his times and shapes his observations into an unsparing, compassionate, always witty and radically moral narrative. Tightly constructed, clearly focused intellectually, it is a prismatic portrait of a time and place that may be studied decades hence to see what kind of people we were.

In essence, what Woody Allen is saying in Manhattan is that our mental diets consist very largely of cultural junk food. We eat it up eagerly, because we are under the misapprehension that it is actually health food. The harm it does is hidden from us for years, like that of environmental carcinogens. We do not connect the workings of these intellectual pollutants with those strange buzzings in our brains—that erratically sounding, endlessly distracting static that prevents contemporary men and women from hearing one another’s voices clearly, and therefore from making the connections they desperately need. The deftness with which Allen exfoliates failing and failed relationships, the delicacy with which he demonstrates how broad cultural collapse influences personal deficiency, the balance he strikes between tenderness for the victims of these disasters and toughness about their own contributions to the moral lassitude of the time give Manhattan its singular, touching resonance.

It is a very deceptive movie. Shot in black and white (actually in a rich variety of grays painstakingly rendered by Cinematographer Gordon Willis), it announces at once that it intends to be different from the general run of movies. Still, the picture induces howls of laughter in the opening reels, raising expectations that we are again simply going to see the superb comic character whom Allen has been developing since the early ’60s. After a while, however, the raucousness dies down. The movie never ceases to be funny, but it starts to be something more. In the end, by administering a series of steadily intensifying shocks of recognition, silence in the theater is almost complete—and there is something awed about it. We are not prepared for the earnestness, integrity and palpable truthfulness that is offered in Manhattan.

The film should not come as a complete surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Allen’s doings lately. This is the movie that Annie Hall hinted at and to which last year’s Interiors, flawed as it was, seems to have served as a necessary prelude. It is even possible to perceive some of its themes in Allen’s work ever since he began making movies on his own in 1969 (Take the Money and Run was the first pure Woody). It could be argued that the difference between Manhattan and its predecessors is chiefly one of degree and control. But Allen has made so many changes that these differences now add up to nothing less than a transcendence.

Take simply the matter of visual style. His early films had a good workman’s lack of clutter, and since Allen was almost as fond of visual parody as he was of the verbal kind, they showed an ability to ape the masters. Beginning with Sleeper (1973), a conscious coherence, a striving for a certain elegance came into his films, growing through Love and Death (1975), becoming lush and nicely jumbled in Annie Hall (1977), turning austere to the point of being mannered in Interiors.

Now the impression is of sheer confidence. The black and white carries an air of nostalgic romance, and it suits Allen’s character in the film, who has, as Woody says, “the poignancy of age. He raps contemporary mores. He’s clinging to Gershwin, the music of the past and to black and white.” Beyond that, Allen lets long scenes play without break. The camera often just sits on its haunches and stares, without even a close-up or a reverse angle intruding. Variation comes from movement within the frame; sometimes, in fact, the actor moves right out of it, keeps talking off camera and then reappears. When a director trusts his material that much, he encourages the audience to trust it as well.

More important, there is the enriching of his own character to consider in evaluating Manhattan. The basic Woody persona has always been a well-loved figure, a projection of the modern urban Everyman’s privately held fantasies and terrors. Manhattan challenges that sense of instant identification, and makes clear just how much fictionalization Woody has practiced on himself.

For example, the sexual clown, the man who used to do jokes about making obscene telephone calls to a girl, “collect,” has now disappeared. Isaac Davis has his troubles with women, but he presents himself as a man who has “never had any trouble finding women.” At the center of the film there is his relationship with a teen-age girl daringly presented in idealistic terms, an affair the old Allen would have made a guilty joke about and passed quickly over. Now he makes some guilty jokes but stays around to explore the affair and its meaning with tenderness and concern. Gone too are the jokes about his deprived childhood in Brooklyn. Isaac Davis has, it appears, absorbed his early life; the present is oppressive enough for him to try to cope with. Even the preoccupation with the silence of God (jokey but overt) and with death are missing. We can only guess that Isaac still occasionally broods on these matters since, as Allen says, “death is the big obsession behind all the things I’ve done.” But “in this picture it seems to be more integrated into the drama; it is less didactically stated.”

No one, including Allen, who is now 43, knows just how this obsession began and what sustained its growth. His relationship with his parents was close and loving. Brickman, 38, also a Brooklynite, surprisingly claims Allen learned “street smarts” at an early age. He adds that Allen’s background was much more conventional than his own more bookish and politically oriented childhood. “Woody was little league and wanted to be an FBI agent and all that stuff,” he says, exercising his comedy writer’s prerogative to exaggerate, “while I was licking envelopes to help save the Rosenbergs.”

Allen Stewart Konigsberg, to call Woody by his real name, was a college dropout. But in high school he was already making money providing gags for pressagents and columnists to attribute to celebrities. He went on to that finishing school for an entire generation of comedy writers, Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. When Woody became a performer, though he hated standing out there all by himself, he climbed quickly to big clubs and television. He began his movie career as writer and player in a film he came to hate, What’s New Pussycat? but it made money and helped establish him. Outwardly, Allen’s history is in the tradition of the great American success stories. All his anguish is internal, which, of course, is not to be held against him.

As the one-liners have turned into dialogue of a rather subtle kind, Allen’s old reliance on parody has also greatly diminished. He was an early devotee of the recent movie convention that comedy must live off the medium’s own history, satirizing once beloved forms. Take the Money and Run, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972) and Bananas (1971) contained brilliant brief send-ups of Ingmar Bergman and Sergei Eisenstein. But parody, like one-liners, is distancing, a way of protecting yourself from the full implications of your obsessions.

Allen began submerging his parodic impulses, or, anyway, integrating them more closely into his story, as early as Sleeper. But as recently as Annie Hall he was still reluctant to abandon the security blanket he wove for himself out of one-liners and sight gags. Throughout that picture, he cut away from the story for straight-to-the-camera routines about his past life. After all, his career had been built on this direct style. He felt obliged, as he once said, to keep “going for the big laugh all the time.” Allen’s mind drifts naturally to quick gags that he jots down on matchbooks and napkins as he wanders through life; it is a form of whistling past the graveyard.

That is why last year’s Interiors was so important to his development. He forbade himself any jokes at all and forced himself to face up to the questions of how and why loving relationships fail—Annie’s softly stated theme sternly reconsidered. The movie did not work. The avoidance of humor is as false to experience as an excess of it. In Manhattan he has found a balance, an organic relationship between wit and his characters’ actions. We begin to see that it is not just through jokes that we practice denial of dread. Just about everything his people do here is a form of denial. Even ex-wife Meryl Streep’s devastating book is one, since it denies all that must have been good for a time in the marriage. Isaac’s friend, the one he keeps exchanging his girlfriend with (the roles are expertly played by Michael Murphy and Diane Keaton), is supposed to be committed to writing an important book. His wife (Anne Byrne) keeps asking him to make another sort of commitment, to drop out of the rat race and begin to have children. Instead, he wastes his substance on a Porsche sports car, for which he has no conceivable need. And what is Keaton’s endless chat about art, so superficial and vacuous (she and Murphy have an “Academy of the Overrated” in which they place, with much laughter, great artists they do not regard as chic, including Mahler, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Heinrich Boll), but a way of denying its power to raise discomfiting truths. It is also a way to avoid making any real creative commitment herself. On the same day, she is seen writing a review of Tolstoy’s letters for a little magazine and indulging in that most superfluous of literary activities, novelizing a screenplay.

Allen, in fact, sees everything all his people do, especially their sexual la ronde, as a gigantic denial. Late in the picture, dictating an idea for a story, Isaac says, “People in Manhattan are constantly creating these real unnecessary neurotic problems for themselves that keep them from dealing with more terrifying unsolvable problems about the universe.”

In that statement, all the strands he has so carefully laid out in this movie come together. Visually, and with glorious help from an often ironically used Gershwin score, he has turned Manhattan, which is one of Allen’s passions, into a dream city, deliberately contrasting the awesome aspirations implicit in its construction with the distracted lives he sees taking place in it. He says: “There’s no center to the culture. We have this opulent, relatively well-educated culture, and yet we see a great city like New York deterioriate. We see people lose themselves in drugs because they don’t deal with their sense of spiritual emptiness. I intend Manhattan to be a metaphor for everything wrong with our culture.” He says that he and Brickman in their original script intended to make a direct comment on everything that they loathe about modern chemical, mechanized and ideological distractions. Though a few of these were lost in the final cut, it is hard to miss Allen’s meaning. He does offer some tentative solutions to the issues he raises. One is contained in the character of the young girl, Tracy, played affectingly by Mariel Hemingway, 17, Papa’s granddaughter. She is alarmingly direct and uncomplicated in her statement of love for Davis. His obsession with the age difference between them is something more than a bow to conventional morality; it is a convenient excuse for avoiding commitment. But while all the other characters are complicating their lives with excesses of cerebration, she is the one who offers to Isaac a reasonable definition of love: “We have laughs to gether. I care about you. Your concerns are my concerns. We have great sex.”

Allen, perhaps idealistically, believes that in the end, the commitments we must make to one another come down to something that simple—if we have a little luck. “Each of us is so finely tuned that to have two people meet and then intermesh is a matter of luck. I’ve had friends who when they marry say, ‘I know we’re going to have to work at it.’ I always think they’re wrong. The things that are really pleasurable in life, whether it’s playing Softball or working on your stamp collection, really require no effort.”

Allen is also convinced that the way to confront the spiritual emptiness that is much on his mind is by making a series of individual moral choices, based essentially on an instinctive sense of right or wrong. “We have to go at it the hard way, and come to terms with the fact that the universe seems to contain only the grimmest possibilities. We have to develop structures of our own that encourage us to believe that it genuinely pays to make the moral choice just from the pragmatic point of view.”

By all accounts, Allen lives by his own precepts. Says Brickman: “Woody is scrupulously honest and ethical in the dog-eat-dog business of entertainment. He is a good example, because he has a high moral sense.” That includes playing the not always grateful part of the only conscious moralist in Manhattan. Onscreen, Murphy accuses him of playing God (Woody’s reply: “I’ve got to model myself after someone.”) Offscreen, Murphy, who is a close friend, says, “Woody could have made a safer picture, like Annie Hall. This film is a lot tougher, harder-edged. And it was a bold step for Woody not to be a hero.” This, according to another frequent co-star and pal, Tony Roberts, is part of his character. “He seems to strive for some kind of excellence for himself in what he does that keeps him from anything that might smell of smugness.”

Allen is not one of those show-biz creatures who embrace highly visible causes while slyly accumulating oil leases on the side. Producer-Manager Charles Joffe despairs of ever making a businessman out of Woody, and handles most of his affairs. Allen’s “deal,” as they say in Hollywood, is not as lucrative as it might be, partly because he seldom sells his pictures to network television (he hates the commercials) and because he would rather sacrifice money than lose the unlimited creative control he has over his work. “All Woody wants to do is make a dollar profit,” Joffe reports. “He’s always saying to me, ‘If I make a dollar profit, then I can go on to the next picture.’ ”

Everything is submerged into his work, at which he labors compulsively, since it is the vehicle through which he exercises his self-determined imperative to keep growing intellectually and spiritually. His actors unfailingly speak of his kindness and patience, his refusal to let anyone but himself take the blame for a snafu. Yet, says Joffe, he can be “extremely arrogant and extremely hostile. He has to be goddam comfortable with you before he’ll show it, and it’s not really related to his ego. It’s related to the demands he makes on himself.”

Joffe considers Manhattan the culmination “of a 20-year ongoing discussion, a serious film that’s a drama with comedy rather than a comedy with drama.” So, it seems, the beloved loser was misleading everyone (well, almost everyone) all along, that the fierce, dogged spirit of a deeply committed artist lurked in side that scrawny frame. It is hard to say where he will go in the years to come, but perhaps Brickman offers the best clue when he talks about his disagreement with Woody about pizza. When they dine together, Brickman says, “I like the combination pizza. I think the true, important pie is the one with mushrooms, garlic and sausage. He likes the plain cheese pie, which seems to be unimaginative but he would claim is classic. I think now he’s tending toward the plain cheese type of writing.” Brickman pauses. “The other possibility is that he just likes the taste of plain pie, which I will never understand.”

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“Annie Hall” (1977)

February 1, 2009 at 8:15 am (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Roger Ebert, Woody Allen)

Written for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977, comes this review by Roger Ebert…


Woody Allen’s Annie Hall explores new dimensions of the persona Allen has constructed in movies, on the stage, and even in a comic strip. We’re all familiar by now with “Woody,” the overanxious, underachieving intellectual with the inept social life. We’ve watched him develop from bits in a stand-up comedy routine to a fully developed comic character in the tradition of Chaplin’s tramp or Fields’s drunk. We know how “Woody” will act in so many situations that we’re already laughing before the punch line. Maybe nobody since Jack Benny has been so hilariously predictable.
And yet there’s always the realization that “Woody” is a projection of a real Woody Allen
. That beneath the comic character is a certain amount of painful truth. That just as W.C. Fields really was a drunk, so Woody Allen perhaps really is insecure about his height, shy around girls, routinely incompetent in the daily joust with life.
It’s not that the “real” Woody Allen
is as hapless as his fictional creation, but that the character draws from life by exaggerating it. Annie Hall is the closest Allen has come to dealing with that real material. It’s not an autobiography, but we get the notion at times that scenes in the movie have been played before, slightly differently, for real.
Allen plays Alvy Singer, stand-up comic and incurable combination of neurotic and romantic. He’s self-consciously a New Yorker, a liberal, a Jew, an intellectual, a seeker after the unattainable, and an expert at making it unattainable. One of Alvy Singer’s problems is that he understands this all so well. He’s not a victim of forces beyond his control, but their author.
And one of the problems he keeps providing for himself is the problem of love. He falls in love too easily, to girls who are right for him in all the little ways and incompatible in all the big ones. His girls tend to reflect the stages he’s going through. When he’s an Adlai Stevenson liberal in the late 1950s, he marries another one. When he’s a romantic ten or fifteen years later, he finds another one, a kookier one. His only trouble is that women are people, not stages.
The movie dares to go into this material a little more seriously and cohesively than is usually the case in an Allen film. Annie Hall is a comedy, yes, and there are moments in it as funny as anything Woody has done, but the movie represents a growth on Allen’s part. From a filmmaker who would do anything for a laugh, whose primary mission seemed to be to get through the next five minutes, Allen has developed in Sleeper, Love and Death, and this film into a much more thoughtful and (is it possible?) more mature director.
Maybe that’s why Annie Hall is called a “nervous romance”: because Allen himself is a little nervous about this frankly nostalgic, romantic, and sentimental material. He throws in a few gags (like the hilarious walk-on by Marshall McLuhan) almost to reassure his old fans that all’s well at the laugh works. But he wants to do a lot more this time than just keep us laughing. By looking into some of his own relationships, some of his own patterns, he wants to examine how a personality works.
And so there are two Woody Allens here: Our old pal the original Woody, who’s given to making asides directly into the camera, and a new Allen who creates Alvy Singer in his own image and then allows him to behave consistently, even sometimes at the cost of laughs. It’s this new Woody who has the nervous romance, the complicated relationship with the would-be nightclub singer Annie Hall (played by Diane Keaton
with an interesting mixture of maternal care, genuine love, and absolute craziness).
At the end of the affair, we’ve learned only two things for certain: That enduring relationships are very likely impossible in this time and place (i.e., New York City during Woody Allen
‘s lifetime), and that life without the search for relationships is unthinkable. In the movie, Woody quotes Groucho Marx’s statement that he’d never belong to any club that would accept someone like him as a member. Then Allen muses that maybe he should never get into a relationship in which one of the partners is himself. Tricky, isn’t it? And in Annie Hall he makes it very funny, and sad, and tricky indeed.

Roger Ebert

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“Manhattan” (1979)

December 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Roger Ebert, Woody Allen)

Review by Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1979 (not sure of exact date), this is probaby Woody Allen’s masterpiece, in my mind… 


The overture is filled with brash confidence: Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” played over powerful black-and-white visions of Manhattan and its skyline, and the mighty bridges leaping out to it from the provinces. The voice is filled with uncertainty and hesitation: “Chapter One. …”
The voice is Woody Allen‘s, of course, and we find ourselves laughing — actually laughing already — on the words “Chapter One,” because the Allen character is so firmly established in our imaginations that we supply the rest of the joke ourselves. “Chapter One,” yes, but Woody’s the definitive vulnerable artist with giant dreams, and so of course he begins with confidence but will be mired in self-doubt long, long before “Chapter Two.”
A great deal of the success of Allen’s Manhattan depends on how well he has established that Woody persona. Because we believe we know him (or the character he plays), we supply additional dimensions to the situations on the screen. A movie that might seem sketchily fleshed-out in other hands becomes a great deal more resonant in Allen’s: This is a variation on a familiar theme.
And the Gershwin is a masterstroke. Woody Allen populates his film with people who are at odds with their own visions of themselves. They’ve been so sold, indeed, on the necessity of seeming true and grave and ethical that even their affairs, their deceptions, have to be discussed in terms of “values” and “meanings” — the dialogue in this film was learned in psychoanalysis. Their rationalizations double back upon themselves, and then, clear as a bell on the sound track, there are the Gershwin songs. “S’Wonderful” and “Embraceable You” and “Sweet and Low Down” and “I’ve Got a Crush on You” … written as if love were simple, for chrissakes, and you actually could “fall” in love when we all know it’s more a matter of pulling yourself up, hand over hand, out of a pit of snapping emotions. In Allen’s earlier films, middle-class society was usually the contrast to the Woody character’s hang-ups and fantasies. This time, brilliantly, he sets his entire story in a “real” world — and uses the music as the counterpoint. No wonder it’s deliberately loud and dominating; Gershwin is the second most important person in this film.
Allen’s humor has always been based on the contrast between his character (“Woody,” spectacled, anemic, a slob, incredibly bright and verbal, tortured by self-doubt) and his goals (writing a great novel, being like Bogart, winning the love of beautiful women). The fact that he thinks he can achieve his dreams (or that he pretends he thinks he can) makes him lovable. It is amazing, for example, how many women believe they are unique because they find Woody sexy.
What Allen does in Manhattan is to treat both the Woody character and the goals with more realism, and to deal with them in an urban social setting we can recognize. He was already doing this in Annie Hall, the comedy the critics said was “really” serious — as if comedy were not already serious enough. His earlier movies were made from farce, slapstick, stand-up verbal wit, satire, and the appeal of the Woody character. Annie Hall and Manhattan are made from his observations about the way we talk and behave, and the fearsome distances between what we say and what we mean, and how we behave and how we mean to behave.
The story follows several characters through several affairs. Woody himself is twice-divorced as the movie opens — most recently from a lesbian who is writing a book that will tell all about their marriage. He is having an affair with a seventeen-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway). His best friend, Yale (Michael Murphy), is married and is having an affair with a girl he met at a party (Diane Keaton). But Murphy has doubts about the relationship, and so subtly tries to shift Keaton to Allen, who in the meantime thinks he wants to ditch the seventeen-year-old. Inevitably, Woody and Keaton begin to fall in love, and their courtship is photographed against magnificent Manhattan backdrops. And once this is all set up, of course, it goes topsy-turvy.
The relationships aren’t really the point of the movie: It’s more about what people say during relationships — or, to put it more bluntly, it’s about how people lie by technically telling the truth. Manhattan is one of the few movies that could survive a sound track of its dialogue; a lot of it, by Allen and Marshall Brickman, has the kind of convoluted intellectual cynicism of the early Nichols and May (and a lot of the rest of it consists of great one-liners).
Manhattan has been almost routinely praised by the New York critics as “better than Annie Hall.” I don’t think so. I think it goes wrong in the very things the New York critics like the most — when, in the last forty-five minutes or so, Allen does a subtle turn on his material and gets serious about it. I’m most disturbed by the final scene between Woody and Mariel Hemingway. It’s not really thought out; Allen hasn’t found the line between the irony the scene needs and the sentiment he wants his character to feel. The later scenes involving the Michael Murphy character are also not as good as the early ones; the character is seen correctly for humor, but hasn’t been developed completely enough to bear the burden of confession.
And yet this is a very good movie. Woody Allen is … Woody, sublimely. Diane Keaton gives us a fresh and nicely edged New York intellectual. And Mariel Hemingway deserves some kind of special award for what’s in some ways the most difficult role in the film. It wouldn’t do, you see, for the love scenes between Woody and Mariel to feel awkward or to hint at cradle-snatching or an unhealthy interest on Woody’s part in innocent young girls. But they don’t feel that way: Hemingway’s character has a certain grave intelligence, a quietly fierce pride, that, strangely enough, suggest that even at seventeen she’s one Woody should be thinking of during Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” 

Roger Ebert

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“Annie Hall” (1977)

December 22, 2008 at 3:22 pm (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Woody Allen)

This review comes from Joseph McBride from Variety magazine (March 30, 1977). One of the great films of the 70s by one of the great filmmakers…


In a decade largely devoted to male buddy-buddy films, brutal rape fantasies, and impersonal special effects extravaganzas, Woody Allen has almost single-handedly kept alive the idea of heterosexual romance in American films.

His four romantic comedies with Diane Keaton strike a chord of believability that makes them nearly the only contemporary equivalent of the Tracy-Hepburn films. The latest, United Artists’ Annie Hall, is by far the best, a touching and hilarious love story that is Allen’s most three-dimensional film to date. Commercial prospects are excellent in the reliable Allen market, though the title may cause some confusion about the nature of the run. Alvy & Annie might have been a more effective handle, incorporating both characters’ names.

All through production and right up to the moment of the world premiere unveiling at Los Angeles Film Exposition, the content of Annie Hall was kept secret, though rumor correctly had it that it is Allen’s most overtly autobiographical film. The lack of publicity overkill is a shrewd stroke that gives the film a fresh and unexpected quality and is sure to engender beneficial word-of-mouth once it opens regular runs. It’s heartening, for once, to see a film without knowing the entire plot in advance and without having the director explain what it means ad nauseum.

As Allen requires more finesse as a director, more command of emotion and a smoother visual style, his films have gradually become something deeper than mere laugh machines, though still hysterically funny. The gags fly by in almost non-stop profusion, but there is an undercurrent of sadness and pain now, reflecting a maturation of style. Allen tells Keaton in the film that he has “a very pessimistic view of life,” and it’s true.

The script by Allen and Marshall Brickman is loosely structured, virtually a two-character running conversation between Allen and Keaton as they meet, fall in love, quarrel, and break up. Meanwhile, he continues his career as a moderately successful tv-nightclub comic and she develops a budding career as a singer. The unhappy ending, in this case, is an unusually satisfying conclusion, for though the audience comes to love both people, it also comes to respect both of them enough to want them to seek happiness individually.

In his idiosyncratic, comic terms, what Allen is attempting here is not so much different from what his favorite director, Ingmar Bergman, did in Scenes from a Marriage. This film could be called Scenes from a Relationship. Allen and Keaton go through just about all the emotional changes one could expect from an intelligent contemporary couple, only in this case the anguish is masked by the surface bravery of Allen’s wisecracking and Keaton’s deft retorts.

Allen adapts a number of visual devices from Bergman films, such as Wild Strawberries-like scenes from his childhood in which he is also present as a grown man, and an opening monolog delivered directly to the camera like those in Winter Light or Hour of the Wolf. He also makes liberal use of flashbacks, split screens, and other devices not typical to comedies.

Supporting cast is expertly directed but mainly confined to brief vignettes along the way. Tony Roberts basically repeats his hipster best friend role from Play It Again, Sam, Paul Simon is a sharp caricature of a Hollywood swinger, and Allen’s other women are nicely played by Carol Kane, Janet Margolin, and Shelley Duvall. Christopher Walken has a terrific bit as Keaton’s strange brother, and Jonathan Munk is droll as the nine-year-old Allen. Marshall McLuhan and Dick Cavett appear fleetingly as themselves.

All technical credits, particularly Willis’ lensing, are tops. Ralph Rosenblum’s editing deserves high commendation for keeping the complex pattern of fragmented scenes moving briskly for 93 minutes. Allen and Rosenblum know exactly how long to sustain emotional moments without letting them kill the comic tone.

The handsome Jack Rollins-Charles H. Joffe production was produced by Joffe and exec-produced by Robert Greenhut.


Joseph McBride

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Woody Allen – “Annie Hall” (Opening Scene – 1977)

December 19, 2008 at 11:20 am (Cinema, Comedy, Woody Allen)

The opening scene from one of the greatest comedic films of all time…

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Woody Allen – “The Dick Cavett Show” (1971 – Part 2)

October 27, 2008 at 9:08 am (Comedy, Woody Allen)

More from Woody Allen’s appearance from The Dick Cavett Show, Oct. 20, 1971…

(More to come…)

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Woody Allen Interviews Billy Graham (1969 – Part 2)

August 31, 2008 at 1:32 pm (Comedy, Woody Allen)

Taken from The Woody Allen TV Special. I’m not sure why Allen chose to interview Billy Graham, of all people, but it’s definitely an interesting exchange.

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