Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ANNIE HALL (1977)

I'm sure you already know this but ANNIE HALL was a turning point for Allen. The films before were more joke driven with almost nonstop jokes and gags, but with ANNIE HALL the emphasis is less on the jokes and more on the characters...and it works wonderfully.

Allen talking to the audience while in character is nothing new, he ended his last film LOVE AND DEATH by doing so, but there's something about how he does it at the beginning of ANNIE HALL that's much more personal and intimate. Maybe it's the modern time period or just the subject matter, but within a few seconds of the film starting Allen has already masterfully engaged the audience. After his brief introduction, where he (Alvy Singer) talks about his outlook on life and his relationship with Annie, the audience is granted entrance into Alvy's world and allowed to watch Alvy's life from his childhood days up to his different sexual adventures as an adult, but mainly ANNIE HALL is about his lurve, his loave and his luff for the beautiful Annie.

I wasn't around in 1977 to see ANNIE HALL upon it's initial release, but I can only imagine how fresh and modern it must have felt with Allen talking directly to the audience, the split screens (one of which wasn't a real split screen, but instead just a wall between duel performances), the animation, the conversing with strangers on the street, the literary feel to the whole thing, etc. I watched it again last night (for about the hundredth time) and I was mesmerized. Even thought I know the script by heart I still find myself lost in the story and smiling at the beautiful photography. I really cannot recommend ANNIE HALL enough. It's been copied a million times during the last 35+ years, but it's still a landmark of Cinema and one of my favorite movies. But don't listen to me, just enjoy and discover it for yourself.

One thing that I like to do whenever I watch ANNIE HALL is to then follow it up with MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY.  I just imagine that Alvy Singer and Annie got back together, married and that's them 16 years later!  It's like ANNIE HALL 2 that way!
Great inside joke since that is the real Truman Capote.

FACE TO FACE

Sigourney Weaver