Six of Woody Allen's early 1980s movies -- Radio Days, Hannah and Her Sisters, Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Zelig, Purple Rose of Cairo and Broadway Danny Rose. They seem to have aged badly -- or is the fault in the reviewer?
Woody Allen Collection Vol. 3
Directors: Woody Allen
Producers: Robert Greenhut
Writers: Woody Allen
Features: All anamorphic widescreen transfers French and Spanish subtitles
Too many actors to list
But bssically starring Mia Farrow and friends
This Woody Allen Collection, the third in the collected series, houses six movies -- 'Radio Days', 'Hannah and her Sisters', 'Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy', 'Zelig', 'Purple Rose of Cairo' and 'Broadway Danny Rose'. They bring us his films from the first half of the 1980s.
It is not the strongest collection. That's a very subjective opinion -- some of those movies I've listed are amongst many people's very favourite movies of all time.
But while 'Hannah and her Sisters' still holds up strongly, I find that the rest -- all the rest -- have dated badly. They seem somehow laboured in their humour -- that is, when the humour has survived.
It could be that I viewed them too fast, over the space of only 3 weeks. And it could be that the 'sameness' becomes too apparent when they're viewed that way. It could be that Woody Allen's movies should be viewed several months' apart, so that the quirky offbeat humour emerges freshly each time. But for me, these movies are not on the same exalted plateau as some of his earlier movies, especially 'Manhattan' and 'Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Too Afraid to Ask', or some of his even later movies such as the blissful 'Mighty Aphrodite'.
But as I say, this is very subjective. I've always, along the years, loved Woody Allen's work. Maybe these DVD releases caught me at a bad stage in my own life's progress. Perhaps the fact that we didn't click this time lay within myself. I do still regard Woody Allen as a wonderful creator -- and his most amazing creation is himself, the neurotic, twitchy, clever, sensitive and always affecting person who has made his tortured psyche so immediately part of our own.
There are no special features in this box-set. But the films have all been given good solid anamorphic widescreen transfers. Rent a couple and see how you feel they've fared over the years since they were shown. You may well decide that in fact they've stood the test of time pretty well -- that the fault indeed lies within this reviewer!
ANTHONY CLARKE (firstname.lastname@example.org)