Thursday, December 11, 2014

Woody Allen's "Manhattan" -- Those Were Different Times

It’s been so long since I watched a comedy that wasn’t part slapstick, another part vulgar, and the rest just plain silly that I had forgotten about Woody Allen’s 1979 movie “Manhattan.” I caught the tail end of it on Epix just now. Of course, I’m looking at it through the lens of several decades past. The movie came out in 1979 but the time frame in the writers/director mind was probably the late 60s or early 70s.  That’s how I remember Manhattan anyway, when I lived there for a brief period. It seemed as if everyone was looking for someone or something, and everyone was kind of smarter than the people in the small town I came from. That latter characterization pertains only to those like myself who once confused metropolitanism and sophistication with intelligence, as many of us tended to do. I don’t want to write a review-review of this movie, and I only watched the last third of it but the film is positively enthralling, a work of rare artistry, a blend of music, visuals, people, neuroses and aspirations that seemed oh-so-real I might have cried. Well, at least it made me think of crying. The poignant and revealing interludes all fit together and merge beautifully at the end, the music, the Manhattan skyline, the lovely voice of the ingénue-- innocent Mariel Hemingway with her plaintive voice going off to London. The film is giant for writers, film types, and people with beating hearts Those were different times, as Lou Reed once sang about Sweet Jane..

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