Film Review – ANNIE HALL (1977)

Pulling Focus: Annie Hall (1977) | Taste Of Cinema - Movie Reviews and  Classic Movie ListsANNIE HALL (1977, USA) *****
Comedy, Drama, Romance
dist. United Artists; pr co. Rollins-Joffe Productions; d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman; exec pr. Fred T. Gallo, Robert Greenhut; pr. Jack Rollins, Charles H. Joffe; assoc pr. Fred T. Gallo; ph. Gordon Willis (DeLuxe. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. Wendy Greene Bricmont, Ralph Rosenblum; ad. Mel Bourne; set d. Robert Drumheller, Justin Scoppa Jr.; cos. Ruth Morley; m/up. Fern Buchner, John Inzerella, Romaine Greene, Vivienne Walker; sd. Dan Sable, Jack Higgins, James Pilcher, James Sabat (Mono); anim seq. Chris K. Ishii; rel. 27 March 1977 (USA), 21 August 1977 (UK); cert: 15; r/t. 93m.

cast: Woody Allen (Alvy Singer), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Tony Roberts (Rob), Carol Kane (Allison), Paul Simon (Tony Lacey), Shelley Duvall (Pam), Janet Margolin (Robin), Colleen Dewhurst (Mom Hall), Christopher Walken (Duane Hall), Donald Symington (Dad Hall), Helen Ludlam (Grammy Hall), Mordecai Lawner (Alvy’s Dad), Joan Neuman (Alvy’s Mom), Jonathan Munk (Alvy – Age 9), Ruth Volner (Alvy’s Aunt), Martin Rosenblatt (Alvy’s Uncle), Hy Anzell (Joey Nichols), Rashel Novikoff (Aunt Tessie), Russell Horton (Man in Theatre Line), Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan), Christine Jones (Dorrie), Mary Boylan (Miss Reed), Wendy Girard (Janet), John Doumanian (Coke Fiend), Bob Maroff (Man #1 Outside Theatre), Rick Petrucelli (Man #2 Outside Theatre), Lee Callahan (Ticket Seller at Theatre), Chris Gampel (Doctor).

Jewish comedy writer Alvy Singer (Allen) ponders the modern quest for love and his past romance with tightly-wound WASP singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton, née Diane Hall). Allen is at the top of his game with this painfully accurate and funny look at the break-up of a relationship. The movie caught everyone by surprise on release, following a string of hilarious joke fests, but the seeds had been sown with his acting role in Martin Ritt’s THE FRONT and his willingness to explore bigger themes in LOVE AND DEATH. Keaton as Annie is exceptional and exudes charm and personality as well as a neurosis equalling that of Allen. It is the couple’s inner-most insecurities that doom their relationship to failure. This is eloquently expressed through the non-linear narrative, frequent breaking of the fourth wall and the use of flashback to childhood influences. The move also has some very touching moments amongst the brilliant one-liners. Of note are Keaton’s rendition of “Seems Like Old Times” in  a nightclub and the Allen’s use of montage to frame the rose-tinted nostalgia for his lost love. One of the greatest films of the 1970s and a huge inspiration to other filmmakers. Watch out for brief early appearances from Jeff Goldblum, Shelley Hack, Beverly D’Angelo and Sigourney Weaver. Truman Capote cameos as the Truman Capote Look-Alike.

AA: Best Picture; Best Actress in a Leading Role (Diane Keaton); Best Director (Woody Allen); Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman)
AAN: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Woody Allen)

Film Review – EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978)

Image result for every which way but loose 1978EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (USA, 1978) **
      Distributor: Warner Bros. (USA), Columbia-Warner Distributors (UK); Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures / The Malpaso Company; Release Date: 20 December 1978 (USA), 21 December 1978 (UK); Filming Dates: 19 April–early July 1978; Running Time: 114m; Colour: DeLuxe; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
      Director: James Fargo; Writer: Jeremy Joe Kronsberg; Producer: Robert Daley; Associate Producer: Jeremy Joe Kronsberg, Fritz Manes; Director of Photography: Rexford L. Metz; Music Supervisor: Snuff Garrett; Film Editor: Joel Cox, Ferris Webster; Art Director: Elayne Barbara Ceder; Set Decorator: Robert De Vestel; Costumes: Glenn Wright; Make-up: Don Schoenfeld; Sound: Bert Hallberg; Special Effects: Chuck Gaspar.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Philo Beddoe), Sondra Locke (Lynn Halsey-Taylor), Geoffrey Lewis (Orville), Beverly D’Angelo (Echo), Walter Barnes (Tank Murdock), George Chandler (Clerk at D.M.V.), Roy Jenson (Woody), James McEachin (Herb), Bill McKinney (Dallas), William O’Connell (Elmo), John Quade (Cholla), Dan Vadis (Frank), Gregory Walcott (Putnam), Hank Worden (Trailer Court Manager), Ruth Gordon (Ma), Jerry Brutsche (Sweeper Driver), Cary Michael Cheifer (Kincaid’s Manager), Janet Cole Notey (Girl at Palomino), Sam Gilman (Fat Man’s Friend), Chuck Hicks (Trucker), Timothy P. Irvin (M.C. at Zanzabar), Tim Irwin (Bandleader), Billy Jackson (Bettor), Joyce Jameson (Sybil), Richard Jamison (Harlan), Jackson D. Kane (Man at Bowling Alley), Jeremy Joe Kronsberg (Bruno), Fritz Manes (Bartender at Zanzabar), Michael Mann (Church’s Manager), Lloyd Nelson (Bartender), George Orrison (Fight Spectator), Thelma Pelish (Lady Customer), William J. Quinn (Kincaid), Tom Runyon (Bartender at Palomino), Bruce Scott (Schyler), Al Silvani (Tank Murdock’s Manager), Hartley Silver (Bartender), Al Stellone (Fat Man), Jan Stratton (Waitress), Mike Wagner (Trucker), Guy Way (Bartender), George P. Wilbur (Church), Gary Davis (Biker), Scott Dockstader (Biker), Orwin C. Harvey (Biker), Gene LeBell (Biker), Chuck Waters (Biker), Jerry Wills (Biker), Manis the Orangutan (Clyde).
      Synopsis: An easy-going trucker and great fist-fighter travels the San Fernando Valley with his promoter and an orangutan, he won on a bet, in search of cold beer, country music and the occasional punch-up.
      Comment: Eastwood looked for a change of pace with this lowbrow action comedy. The film is an excuse for a series of set-piece fist fights, coarse jokes, chaos and destruction. There is little in the way of plot to maintain interest, leaving the character interaction to give the movie its core. Clyde, the dysfunctional orangutan sidekick of Eastwood, steals the show and there is a feisty performance from Gordon as Eastwood’s long-suffering mother. Locke is the love interest and she also gets the chance to sing. The production chugs along without any real heart, relying on gags that are only sporadically funny and performances that are all too knowing.
      Notes: The film and its soundtrack featured several country-and-western songs including tracks sung by Mel Tillis, Charlie Rich and Eddie Rabbitt. Followed by ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN (1980).