Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
The theme for this month is a “Woody Allen trilogy–three ensemble dramedies about the foibles of love & the machinations of fate.”
Wasn’t that just the most incredible TFC Summer Party we’ve in years? There was a turnout of 30 folks, and the catering done by my friends, the Shiers, was scrumptious; and what a plus to then screen Woody Allen’s HANNAH & HER SISTERS. So that now September is in gear, and it appears we will enjoy a bit of an Indian Summer as we ease into Autumn, continue with the fellowship and positive vibes and join us for a screening of Woody Allen’s CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS (1989) this Friday, 9/13/13, at the Center for Spiritual Living.
As we have noted previously, Allen started his directing career specializing in slapstick comedies, before he moved into more dramatic material that was heavily influenced by European Art Cinema, and American directors like Robert Altman who liked to create brilliant ensemble dramas. Roger Ebert said of Allen, “He is a treasure of the world’s cinema.” On most Monday nights, he regularly performs as a jazz clarinetist at Elaine’s in Manhattan. In the middle 1950’s he was already earning thousands of dollars a week as a comedy writer for Ed Sullivan, the Tonight Show, & Sid Caesar. He has written, produced, and starred in several successful Broadway plays, like DON’T DRINK THE WATER, & PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM. He has been nominated 23 times, and has won 4 Oscars. He has earned more Best Screenplay Oscar nominations than any other writer, and is tied for the most Best Director nominations (7). Ironically, he routinely does not attend the Academy Awards ceremony, preferring to play jazz that night.
The cinematography for CRIMES was done by Sven Nykvist, who had lensed 127 films between 1945-2001. He is often associated with Ingmar Bergman, having shot many of his films in the 60’s & 70’s. Some other fine films he lensed includes PRETTY BABY (1978), AGNES OF GOD (1985), THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (1988), CHAPLIN (1992), & SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993).
Woody Allen has said, “Hollywood, for the most part, aims at the lowest common denominator. It is conceived in venality, and is wholly motivated by pandering to the public, by making a lot of money.”
TRIVIA: Originally, Alan Alda’s part was only a cameo in the opening party scene, but after Alda did some brilliant improvisation, Allen kept expanding his role as they went along. After viewing the first cut of the film, Allen threw out the first act, or third of the movie, and had to call back actors to reshoot the rewrites. Alda’s character, at one point says, “I have a closet full of Emmys”–in reality, Alda has five of them. The film was influenced, claims Allen, by Dostoyevsky’s CRIME & PUNISHMENT, dealing with the quandary of how could a person continue with his everyday life with the knowledge of having committed a murder. With CRIMES, Allen has written two parallel stories, one quite serious, and the other often funny, both ending in sadness.
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1989)
Written & Directed by Woody Allen @ 104 minutes.
The film stars Martin Landau, Claire Bloom, Anjelica Huston, Woody Allen,
Alan Alda, Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow, Jerry Orbach, & Nora Ephron.
Synopsis: A successful ophthalmologist, after an affair of several year’s duration, is mandated to dissolve his marriage, or his “other woman” will ruin his life. He is so stressed by this dilemma that he considers murdering his mistress. Meanwhile on another plot thread, a married unhappy documentary filmmaker becomes infatuated with another woman.
This film was nominated for (3) Oscars, (5) Baftas, & a Golden Globe.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a Critic’s approval rating of 92%, and an Audience approval rating of 89%; high praise indeed.
Vincent Canby of the NEW YORK TIMES wrote: “The movie’s secret strength comes from the truth of dozens of particular details through which it arrives at its own very hesitant, not especially comforting, but very moving generality.”
Roger Ebert wrote: “The movie generates the best kind of suspense, because it is not about what will happen to people, but rather what decisions will they reach.”
Rita Kempley of the WASHINGTON POST wrote: “CRIMES is two movies in one, a rich blend of Allen’s satiric and pretentious dramatic styles–and the result is a frighteningly intelligent, and often hilariously funny whole.”
Christopher Null of FILMCRITIC wrote: “Allen’s neurotic outlook on life has never been presented with more clarity–this dark meditation on justice, or the lack of it, is maybe his best film.”
So folks, mark your calendars for this lucky Friday, September 13, 2013, and join the TFC for a fabulous screening of Woody Allen’s CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS (1989), at the Center for Spiritual Living, located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of J & Division, across the street from Group Health hospital. Arrive early, around 6 p.m., and join some of us downstairs in the newly remodeled kitchen for fun & fellowship. It is permitted to bring snacks & beverages, including wine, to share with others–but please remember that no food or drink can be brought upstairs into the sanctuary while watching the movie. Please clean & tidy up the kitchen before coming upstairs for the film viewing. There will be a donation box in the sanctuary, and these funds assist the Club with renting the space, purchasing a screening license, and having membership parties. The film will screen at 7:15 p.m. It is 104 minutes in length, so it will conclude before 9:30 p.m. For anyone who can assist in putting up, and later taking down our blackout curtains, the help is greatly appreciated. Soon during autumn, it will get dark enough earlier in the evening that those curtains can be stored until next Spring.
See you at the movies!