Woody Allen: Film by Film Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by RayS, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    In the tradition of the album by album thread, I've decided to attempt a film by film thread for Woody Allen's work. The thread will consist primarily of works where Woody is the "auteur", but will more or less arbitrarily include or exclude films that he wrote or appeared in but didn't direct (the same goes for TV movies, while non-movie TV appearances and writing are excluded).

    So a few rules to follow if you'd be so kind:

    This is a film-by-film thread, so please limit your comments to the film being discussed. Please avoid general comments about all of Woody's work, your favorite film, when you gave up on Woody, or how you prefer the early, funny films.

    Please avoid discussing Woody's personal life. You are more than entitled to your opinions, but this isn't the place for them. If you feel the need, go to "Off Topic" and start a thread devoted to it.

    I may end up just talking to myself here for a lot of these films (wouldn't be the first time). I'm hoping that at least @mrjinks will drop by.

    OK, I need to hurry up and get started because the universe is expanding.
  2. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    "What's New Pussycat" (1965)

    This film marked both Woody's first screen play and first film appearance after a lengthy career in TV. If nothing else, Woody's unhappiness with what was done to his screenplay spurred on his desire to direct his own scripts.

    I've watched this film a handful of times, and I've never really enjoyed it. For a comedy, there aren't many laughs, and while Woody's appearances generally brighten things up temporarily, they can't save the film. Peter Sellers, IMHO, is an acquired taste who is sometimes absolutely brilliant ("Dr. Strangelove", "Being There") and sometimes grating, annoying, pretentious and not the least bit funny (like in this film). The clip here is a good indicator for those who have not seen the film.

  3. Vahan

    Vahan Forum Resident

    Glendale, CA, USA
    Woody Allen felt ashamed of this film because of the changes United Artists (it was his first film for the studio) made to his script.

    But personally, I enjoyed this film. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to get into Woody Allen's works, as the first film to watch.
    RayS likes this.
  4. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    I'm very happy to have a dissenting opinion as we try to get this thread off the ground.

    I'm glad that you enjoyed the film. I can't agree with your point that this is a good entre to Woody's work, simply because I rarely get the feeling that I'm watching a Woody Allen work when he isn't on the screen. I've never seen Woody's original script, but whatever UA and the two directors did to it, I feel like they took all the "Woody" out of it. It comes across (to me anyway) as a typical mid-60s "sex comedy" (many of which are long on titillation and short on laughs). And I think that Peter Sellers never met a script that he didn't want to ignore. If he was willing to throw Nabokov aside for this improvisations ("Lolita"), he certainly was willing to do the same to Allen.
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    WNP is a quite entertaining comedy, with some classic lines from WA and a nice performance from the underappreciated Paula Prentiss, one of the few actresses to truly be both sexy and funny.

    Although Woody gets his moments, some of the best jokes are spread throughout the cast : Capucine gets the classic "When I was 14 I told my parents they were adopted".

    Peter Sellers was originally only to have a glorified cameo, but he so liked the material WA gave his character he kept insisting on more, and then he began taking many of the jokes WA had written for his own character, resulting in PS having a lead-sized role and WA being forced to write new jokes for himself.

    When wearing his glasses PS somewhat resembled WA, especially to someone with poor eyesight. One night during shooting producer Charles Feldman got into an elevator at the company's hotel and saw a familiar face with glasses.

    Feldman told him, "I don't blame you for being angry Woody. Peter Sellers is the biggest pain in the a$$ I've ever worked with".

    "I understand completely", Peter Sellers replied.
    xilef regnu, Tuco, davenav and 3 others like this.
  6. Best thing about What's New Pussycat? The title song and Peter Seller's wig. Not a good movie.
    KatCassidy and Solaris like this.
  7. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    This appears to be the trailer for the film (perhaps with something additional at the start?) - maybe they'd be good to throw in (when possible) for this thread?

    There are certainly some very Woody-esque bits in this film, but also some of that "Dumb 1960s Film" vibe. I think SNL used to do spoofs on that genre...

    My favorite line from the film is probably this one, although it's been quite some time since I've seen it and I've never felt the need to own it, unlike (almost) all other films where he had a significant creative input.

    I like the thread, @RayS! I'd recommend going SLOWLY - maybe 1 film/week, and then folks could watch a few of them along the way and offer thoughts based on recent viewings rather than anecdotal memories. Please tell me when Anything Else is coming and I'll go on vacation that week. :winkgrin:
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
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  8. Jerry Horne

    Jerry Horne Blue Rose Speedway

    West Coast
    Pussycat is a classic comedy with a typically bizarre performance from Sellers. It's of it's time and that's OK. Amazing soundtrack!
    davenav and RayS like this.
  9. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    Thanks for posting the trailer. It serves to remind me that the end of the film resembles a "Gilligan's Island" episode - when in doubt have the entire cast run after each other for no apparent reason.

    We're in total agreement about the best line in the film! I was trying to serve it up from memory to post it when I watched your clip.

    I think a week per film is a bit ambitious, but we'll see what the "traffic allows". Thanks for playing.
  10. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

  11. halfjapanese

    halfjapanese Gifs moider!

    Well, the poster clearly reads For Adults Only, Ray. :agree:

    I was too young to get in when this was released and didn't see the film until I was teenager a few years later. Then I wondered why it was a hit (though I, too, love Paula Prentiss!). I'd already seen Woody's Tiger Lily, Take the Money, and Bananas by then and Pussycat left me cold.
    RayS likes this.
  12. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    By chance, I watched this the other day and found much to enjoy until it disintegrates towards the end in the manner of those big madcap 60s comic films (Casino Royale, anyone?). I do wonder how strong Donner was because there are times when O'Toole and Sellers seem to let rip and the former, in particular, seems almost out of control - and gives a great performance. It also has lots of exceptionally attractive women in it and that romantic view of Paris that will turn up again in Woody's films.
    RayS likes this.
  13. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    To (mis)quote the master, from "Deconstructing Harry", "Yes I'm older, but my immaturity lends me a certain boyish quality that makes me seem younger". :)

    It's interesting that you raise the issue of chronology. I was thinking of asking here if anyone saw the film before seeing other Woody Allen works (you'd likely to have to have seen it when it first came out to do that, I'd wager). Like you, I was already a fan of his films when I finally saw "What's New Pussycat", and was disappointed on that basis (with parts of the film, for me, meeting the criteria for "sub-mental").
    halfjapanese likes this.
  14. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    I'd seen the film when I was much younger and at the time, I dunno, maybe I wasn't old enough to appreciate it, it came across as one of those loud, colourful, swinging all-star 60s comedies like Magnificent Men and Casino Royale (though I'd use the term 'comedy' with caution when talking about the latter). Now, I think it has a a lot of charm - except for the last third or quarter when it gets too stupid and loud. The first Allen film that registered with me as a Woody Allen film was Bananas.
    Tuco and RayS like this.
  15. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    1966, and the real fun begins:

  16. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    The entire film, for those who would like to revisit:

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  17. Two Wongs don't make a right!

    This is an amusing one. The voice acting is great fun and it is as silly as you could want. The musical interludes are a mistake and completely interrupt the story.
    Thelonious_Cube and RayS like this.
  18. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    I think the best line in the film is "Mom?!"

    Nothing against The Lovin' Spoonful, but their appearance seems to be like a hedging a bet - as if the comedic concept of the film wouldn't sustain for 75 minutes so something extra and more "American" needn't to be inserted. While Woody's introduction is entertaining, I might have liked the film better if there was no explanation and the film was allowed to simply speak for itself. It's not like the audience wouldn't figure out what they were getting.
    Hot Ptah likes this.
  19. I like the introduction, but agree it is probably superfluos.
  20. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    Great idea for a thread! I'm in!

    WNP.... ummm saw it once and have no need to see it again. I'll no doubt chime in with more input in future films! :)
    chacha likes this.
  21. Hot Ptah

    Hot Ptah Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    I think What's Up Tiger Lily? is a hilarious film. I love it.
  22. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    I watched "What's Up Tiger Lily?" this morning while on the elliptical machine at the gym. It was challenging not to laugh out loud, and I've seen the film a dozen times.

    So many great lines.

    "You interrupt Shepard Wong? This is a thing to do?"
  23. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

    @14:20 - "Where's the money Lebowski?"

    Were the Coen Brothers "Tiger Lily" Fans?
  24. RayS

    RayS Paying attention like a rattlesnake does Thread Starter

  25. Andy Lee

    Andy Lee Active Member

    North Shields, UK
    Never seen this, but count me as another in favour of Pussycat. I love the opening: "Pretty than you?! I'm prettier than you!"

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