Woody Allen: Interviews

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 200 pages
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"You can be excessively realistic in film. On the other hand, in film you can allow yourself to give free rein to the imaginary. In film, you can actually have the best of both worlds." Woody Allen (b. 1935) is one of America's most idiosyncratic filmmakers, with an unparalleled output of nearly one film every year for over three decades. His movies are filled with rapid-fire one-liners, neurotic characters, anguished relationships, and old-time jazz music. Allen's vision of New York-whether in comedies or dramas-has shaped our perception of the city more than any other modern filmmaker. "On the screen," John Lahr wrote in the New Yorker in 1996, "Allen is a loser who makes much of his inadequacy; off-screen, he has created over the years the most wide-ranging oeuvre in American entertainment." Woody Allen: Interviews collects over twenty-five years of interviews with the director of Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Bullets Over Broadway, and Annie Hall, for which he won an Oscar. The book's interviews reveal a serious director, often at odds with his onscreen persona as a lovable, slap-stick loser. Allen talks frankly about his rigorous work habits; his biggest artistic influences; the attention he devotes to acting, screenwriting, and directing; and how New York fuels his filmmaking. Along with discussing film techniques and styles, Allen opens up about his love of jazz, his Jewish heritage, and the scandal that arose when he left his longtime partner Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter. Including four interviews from European sources, three of which are now available in English for the first time, Woody Allen: Interviews is a treasure trove of conversations with one of America's most distinctive filmmakers. Robert E. Kapsis is professor of sociology at Queens College and is the author of Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation. His work has appeared in the Village Voice, Variety, Journal of Popular Film and Video, and Cineaste and at the Museum of Modern Art. Kathie Coblentz is special collections cataloger at the New York Public Library. Kapsis and Coblentz coedited Clint Eastwood: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).
  

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Contents

Introduction
vii
Chronology
xxiii
Woody Allen Says Comedy Is No Laughing Matter
3
Woody Allen on Woody Allen
29
An Interview with Woody
43
Allen Goes Back to the Woody of Yesteryears
58
Woody Allen Inside and Out
63
Interview with Woody Allen
78
Woody Allen
92
Husbands and Wives
106
My Heroes Dont Come from Life
130
The Imperfectionist
143
All My Films Have a Connection with Magic
169
Coming Back to Shane
184
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Allen's favorite personality-the bemused neurotic, the perpetual worrywart, the born loser-dominates his plays, his movies, and his essays. A native New Yorker, Allen attended local schools and despised them, turning early to essay writing as a way to cope with his Since his apprenticeship, writing gags for comedians such as Sid Caesar and Garry Moore, the image he projects-of a "nebbish from Brooklyn"-has developed into a personal metaphor of life as a concentration camp from which no one escapes alive. Allen wants to be funny, but isn't afraid to be serious either-even at the same time. His film Annie Hall, co-written with Marshall Brickman and winner of four Academy Awards, was a subtle, dramatic development of the contemporary fears and insecurities of American life. In her review of Love and Death, Judith Christ wrote that Allen was more interested in the character rather than the cartoon, the situation rather than the set-up, and the underlying madness rather than the surface craziness. Later Allen films, such as Crimes and Misdemeanors or Husbands and Wives, take on a far more somber and philosophic tone, which has delighted some critics and appalled others. In Allen's essays and fiction reprinted from the New Yorker, Getting Even New Yorker, (1971), Without Feathers (1975), and Side Effects (1980), the situations and characters don't just speak to us, they are us.

Robert E. Kapsis, Great Neck, New York, is professor of sociology and film studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is author of "Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation" and editor of several volumes in the Conversations with Filmmakers Series, including a forthcoming, updated edition of "Woody Allen: Interviews".

Kathie Coblentz is a rare materials cataloguer at the New York Public Library. She also co-edited (with Robert E. Kapsis) "Woody Allen: Interviews" (University Press of Mississippi).

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