Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LOVE AND DEATH (1975)

When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 both of Allen's brothers enlisted to help Mother Russia. Allen, being generally afraid of violence, didn't want to go, but his family forced him into it. During a great battle Allen was hiding in a cannon and when it fired he ended up landing on some of the French officers. Now a war hero, Allen is free to pursue the love of his life: his cousin Diane Keaton, but unfortunately she's married to a herring merchant. Plenty of intriguing things transpire including a duel, philosophical double-talk, snow eating and an attempt to execute Napoleon.

LOVE AND DEATH is definitely not for everybody, but I love it. The script is delightfully clever, filled with endless one-liners and numerous references to classic Russian literature. Everything from "Crime and Punishment" to "Fathers and Sons" to "The Brothers Karamazov" and an especially funny take on the "mock execution" that Dostoyevsky endured in real life. LOL. Then of course you have the Ingmar Bergman references that made me grin and swoon like a madman. Allen is a genius.

Of his pre-Annie Hall films I think this one is the best. And, watching it again now for the first time in many years, it's stood up to the test of time quite well. Recommended.