Tuesday, November 22, 2011

American Masters: Woody Allen

Yikes! Where have I been??? Anyway, just catching up with things during the holiday season, so here are some first thoughts on the recent PBS American Masters documentary on Woody Allen:

Part one was two hours and while it's interesting to have an extensive interview with Woody, there just seems to be a glossing over of the content of his films. A movie every year for thirty five years will do that. Part one stops at Stardust Memories...which has become my favorite Allen film.

I liked the stand up material they showed from 1962 and '63, when Woody was a Hefneresque-type comedian.

This aired on two of my local PBS stations and both of them had the screen all wrong; names cut off, etc. It's like they have it formatted for those widescreen TVs...they don't even know how to present their own medium. I also found it prude that they blurred out the huge plastic breast from Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, even if it was hilarious to see a gigantic pixilated/censored fake boob trundling on screen. Friggin' puritans.

Part II of the American Masters doc was good as it showed Allen actually directing. It was also interesting to see the the (color) footage of him at work on Stardust Memories, both on set and in the editing room. I disagree with the oft-quoted critical unwashed belief that Stardust Memories is a "misstep." I wish they'd discussed more of Woody's use of music in his films, but overrall I was enthralled with the entire program.