Hold Your Own Retrospective, Update

January 29, 2010

This is a short follow-up to yesterday’s post.

“4 films by Bogdanovich is easy,” says the email, “Try someone harder.” Ok, here goes your Director-Digest #2: Woody Allen

  • 1 Recognized Masterpiece: “Manhattan” (1979)
  • 1 Very Early Film: “Sleeper” (1973)
  • 1 Late and Popular Film: “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008)
  • 1 Film X: “Interiors” (1978)

This list wasn’t very hard to come up with, and is, in my mind, an excellent crash course in things Woody.

But, for anyone who wants to know how I came up with it, explanation after the jump.

1 Recognized Masterpiece: There are really only four choices; after that everything becomes debatable. “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Hannah and her Sisters,” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Whenever possible, the idea is to stay away from the magnum opus, so no “Annie Hall.” You can’t go wrong with “Hannah” or “Crimes,” but the cinematography in “Manhattan” pushes it over the top.

1 Very Early Film: With about 40 movies to his credit, I’ll define early as within the first ten, and very early as within the first five. That leaves us with “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” “Take the Money and Run,” “Bananas,” “Everything you always wanted to know about sex…” and “Sleeper.” For me, it’s a toss-up between “Bananas” and “Sleeper,” but “Sleeper” more clearly shows a maturing director with the potential for greatness.

1 Late, Popular Film: There are only two possible choices: “Match Point” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Though Woody has made many great dramas over the years, he’s known for his developed wit. So, “Vicky Cristina.”

1 Film X: Which leaves me with “Interiors.” This is Allen at his most purely dramatic and Bergman-esque. Again, film X is about quantifying subjectivity, but going with a pure dramatic film is a good counterbalance to “Sleeper” and the nod to “Vicky Christina.”

Please suggest your own digests in the comments. Please.

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3 Responses to “Hold Your Own Retrospective, Update”

  1. Ingrid Says:

    I think one of Woody’s underrated masterpieces is “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Amazing stuff.


  2. Hi Ingrid. I think that Crimes and Misdemeanors is a very interesting movie and even wrote about it here:
    http://yesterdayssalad.com/2007/05/31/revisiting1989-the-year-in-pictures/

    I don’t like it quite as much as I did initially, but that’s because I find that the stories don’t gel together as well as I initially thought they did. The Woody story in the movie is really one of the greatest things he’s ever filmed.

  3. Rabbi Dr. Prof. Jurgen Haverstam, DHL Says:

    Is this the Ingrid of Anderson fame?


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