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Archive for July 2nd, 2009

manhattan 1

by Allan Fish

(USA 1979 96m) DVD1/2

He adored New York City

p Jack Rollins, Charles H.Joffe  d Woody Allen  w Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman  ph Gordon Willis  ed Susan E.Morse  md Tom Pierson  m George Gershwin (including “Rhapsody in Blue”)  art Mel Bourne

Woody Allen (Isaac Davis), Mariel Hemingway (Tracy), Diane Keaton (Mary Wilke), Meryl Streep (Jill), Michael Murphy (Yale), Anne Byrne (Emily), Karen Ludwig (Connie), Wallace Shawn (Jeremiah), Karen Allen, Mark Linn-Baker,

Looked back upon from the safe distance of over a quarter of a century, Woody Allen’s masterpiece can now be seen for what it is, disassociated with all the baggage, emotional and professional, that accompanied it at the time.  Indeed, the same could be said of Allen’s entire oeuvre as he certainly hasn’t made any really major films in over a decade (Crimes and Misdemeanors and Husbands and Wives being the last).  Many will scoff at my including only four in the entire list (the others being Sleeper, Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters), but the fact is that Allen’s output is just not quite as idolised as once it was; Bananas and Love and Death are hilarious but very patchy and the later Crimes and Misdemeanors, though undoubtedly original and blessed with superb performances, left rather a sour taste in the mouth, ditto Husbands and WivesManhattan’s inclusion is not simply down to it being his greatest film, or because it represents the typically Allenian depiction of stressful city life in the modern era.  It’s included because, deep down, it’s a love letter not to romance, but to a city.  As Allen goes on to say in that iconic opening dictation, “New York was his town and it always would be.”  Whereas Allen’s other major films could be transposed to any other American metropolis, Manhattan just couldn’t for many reasons other than the eponymous one.  It’s also unique in his filmography as it was shot in a widescreen letterbox process (though still in the mono sound he religiously uses to this very day).   (more…)

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