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Annie Hall 1977

The Diane Keaton/Woody Allen season continues at the Rosen Multiplex with Annie Hall. 

I was particularly interested to see if it was now dated.

It had not due to the humour of the lines and the vivacious Diana Keaton.

After this film Woody Allen became more and more self-absorbed, showing his gloomy side at the expense of his humour in Manhattan  and Interiors, but recovered his touch in Vicky, Christina, Barcelona and Midnight in Paris. 

Here, Woody Allen is centre stage as Alvy Singer the comedian – neurotic, into his 15th year of therapy – but it’s the ditzy Annie Hall who makes the film.

She does not play the role with glamour, she is a mixed-up mid west girl with WASP parents who enchants us with her kookiness.

Being a Woody Allen film there are at least 50 great lines. Annie is a dreadful driver and messes up parking.

Alvy comments:

It’s not far. We can walk to the kerb.”

Or after she moves in with music producer Tony Lacey (Paul Simon) she says Los Angeles is much cleaner than New York. Alvy responds:

It’s because they don’t throw their garbage away – they turn it into television programmes.

Woody Allen also uses subtitles to show actual feelings and motives. He divides the screen to reveal contradictory replies to the same question from a therapist  “Do you have sex often?

Alvy: “Hardly ever. Three times a week

Annie: “Constantly. Three times a week

A stock figure in all Woody Allen’s movies is the omniscient bore.

Ally stands in front of such a character in a film queue droning on about Marshall Macluhan.

Alvy produces Macluhan from behind a film board to say the bore has got it all wrong.

In my view American Jewish humour is the funniest in the world.

Think of Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, Joan Rivers, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen or Billy Crystal.

Mind you Woody Allen has the last laugh.  Annie Hall’s budget was $4m and it grossed $38m.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts