(1979, Woody Allen)

Perhaps the quintessential Woody Allen movie. In fact, it’s a trip down Woody Lane.

The Woody checklist:

  1. New York – Um, check.
  2. Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton or Louise Lasser – Keaton, check.
  3. Ingmar Bergman references – Check, in the “Academy of the Overrated” scene.
  4. Marx Brothers references – He names Groucho as one of the reasons why life is worth living.
  5. Features Woody – Check.
  6. Features Woody as a writer or movie director – Writer, check.
  7. Features characters are hopelessly neurotic – Hoo-boy, are they ever.
  8. Features intellectuals who are ponderous – Yep.
  9. Features bad marriages or failing relationships – Mm-hmm.
  10. Features a beautiful girl who’s way too young to be involved with Woody – Mariel Hemingway, who plays a 17 year old. Creepy!!!!

Still, despite all of this, I really enjoyed this movie, especially Keaton and Michael Murphy. And of course, cinematographer Gordon Willis and Woody capture a romantic vision of New York for all times. The first four minutes with Gershwin playing behind are a virtual postcard that the Mayor’s office couldn’t have produced any better.



Posted on June 18, 2008, in Film news, Top 1000 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Unless I’m mistaken, Mariel Hemingway *was* seventeen when Woody made “Manhattan.” Doesn’t make it any less creepy, of course; just the opposite.

    I love Willis’ gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, but it’s not close to being my favorite Allen. Not sure what is. “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, maybe?

  2. #10 is why I’ve grown to hate Woody. I can’t say it’s because of his later films, because I haven’t seen them. Because of #10.

  3. Oh, btw, I forgot – Crimes and Misdemeanors rocks. It’s my favorite.

  4. It’s been years since I watched Crimes & Misdemeanors, but in my mind, this ranks right up there. I still really enjoy Annie Hall though.

    Since Crimes, it’s been mostly downhill. A few notable exceptions in my eyes:

    – Husbands and Wives
    – Everyone Says I Love You (it was quirky enough to make me smile several times throughout)
    – Celebrity – although K. Branagh’s Woody impression is almost unforgivable.
    – Match Point – an odd genre-switch film for the Woodman

    That’s four out of 19 films that I enjoyed. I haven’t seen them all, but ouch.

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