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.


  1. ...saw about a half-hour of this one, before shuffling out on a 'thanksgiving' journey...

    Sad to say I am woefully deficient in my Allen films... maybe 2 or 3...heck, I haven't even watched Annie Hall all the way through... Radio Days is one I wouold really like to check out, and I've heard a good bit about Stardust... perhaps I should jump back on the Netflix bandwagon...

    Anyway, it was pretty interesting doc from the bit I saw... seems he is as interested in the Knicks play as any direction... Thanks for the review, CK!


  2. Very interesting man, although I hardly have the time to get into his movies.

    In a way I got closer to him, since I play another instrument: recorder with clarinet mouthpiece -- a present I got from my father.

    I once heard comedy stuff from Woody on a radio program -- Woody arriving in heaven. I still hear him saying: "Listen...the holy bigband!" That was very-very funny! He is fascinating indeed.

    I definitely have to get closer to the present occupy movement, by posting on the 30s social unrest -- which pretty much reminds of those in the present....

    Since my bird-daughter uses my blogspot account, it's a little difficult. ;)

  3. Thanks for the visit, CK.
    I saw this show & I liked it a lot. I've always been a fan of Woody.
    I do wish he'd show up at the Academy Awards, though!


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