DVD review

The Woody Allen Collection

FEW ARTISTS IN ANY MEDIUM?Bowie, maybe, or Scorsese?enjoyed such a terrific'70s as Woody Allen. This box comprises every comedy that Allen wrote, directed and starred in from 1971-'79?save 1972's Play It Again, Sam and 1978's psychodrama Interiors, neither of which are included here. Bananas was his second auteurist venture (1969's Take The Money And Run being the first) and saw him fusing the wisecracks of Bob Hope and slapstick of Buster Keaton to create this immortal nebbish New Yorker who bears as much relation to the real Allen Konigsberg as does Dylan to Robert Zimmerman. The quintessence of"early, funny"Woody, here he is hapless products tester Fielding Mellish who, to impress an activist (Allen's ex-wife Louise Lasser), becomes the rebel leader of a guerrilla faction, and then president of a banana republic. Preposterous but hilarious [4]. Everything you always wanted to know about sex* (*but were afraid to ask) (1972) was an episodic extrapolation of the best-selling sex manual in which Allen featured, variously, as a luckless court jester negotiating Lynn Redgrave's chastity belt and, in the climactic'sketch'"What Happens During Ejaculation?", a sperm cell [3]. Sleeper (1973) is a slight but brilliant satire set in some future utopia. Allen is the displaced, hyper-sexed Brooklynite who, through medical misfortune, is put into suspended animation for 100 years [4]. Love And Death (1974) uses Russian literature/cinema as the launchpad for a series of moral and philosophical digressions, and if that sounds portentous let us assure you this is probably the most relentless gagathon in movie history [5]. Even so, Annie Hall represents an astonishing advance, both in terms of invention and breadth of vision [5]. The black-and-white Manhattan is arguably even more piquant, perceptive and plain funny than its predecessor [5]. And he was still one film away from his greatest achievement.

Rating: 5 / 10

Retail box set dvd (mgm home entertainment, widescreen)


Editor's Letter

The 3rd Uncut Playlist Of 2015

Still at that stage of the year where I nearly type 2014 every time instead of 2015, but time moves on - swifter, perhaps, than Bjork for one would've liked this week, given how an unauthorised leak forced the release of "Vulnicura" a couple of months ahead of schedule.