Annie Hall (1977)

on April 20, 1977 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Can Woody Allen do wrong? There doesn't seem to be any question that his latest, long untitled and now called simply "Annie Hall," will join the list of his other successes. The new film which Allen directed himself and which he and Marshall Brickman wrote, is more subdued and revealing than anything he has attempted to date. The episodic tale is fragmented into various scenes of past and present, some being very funny and others -- while not especially hilarious -- emerging as satirical and potent comments on relationships in today's society. The Charles H. Joffe production is also a love poem to Woody's favorite co-star and former leading lady in real life, Diane Keaton. The script allows her to be endearing, irritating, awkward, sophisticated, charming, funny, beautiful, etc. at any given time and she handles two old favorites -- "It Had to be You" and particularly "Seems Like Old Times" -- well. Use of the latter as theme song and the bittersweet ending make this the most sentimental of Allen's films. "Hall" should please those who are not Allen enthusiasts, in addition to his fans, because of its romantic theme. A number of major names have cameos, including composer-singer Paul Simon and Colleen Dewhurst. In Panavision and DeLuxe Color.

Woody Allen, a New York comic, tells of his long love affair with Diane Keaton, a Wisconsin girl he met at a tennis doubles match with actor-friend Tony Roberts. Allen encourages the awkward Keaton to become a polished singer and to obtain a better education as they have an affair. Woody describes his childhood life at Coney Island, his psychiatric sessions, his two failed marriages -- to campaign worker Carol Kane and author Janet Margolin -- and his problems with sex, particularly regarding Keaton. Despite a genuine love, he and Keaton are unable to maintain a satisfactory relationship. Her relatives, including mother Colleen Dewhurst and brother Christopher Walken, are either bigoted or strange. After a breakup, Keaton asks for another chance as Allen leaves bedmate Shelly Duvall, a Rolling Stone reporter. Record promoter Paul Simon offers Keaton an opportunity for stardom in Los Angeles, a place Allen detests. Roberts sells out -- in Allen's eyes -- by becoming a big TV star. Keaton takes up with Simon and Allen fails at a reconciliation. Later, the two ex-lovers meet in New York and part friends.

Label this a romantic comedy in the modern vein. Play up the autobiographical aspects.

A romantic comedy about a contemporary urban neurotic... for lovers and other funny people. United Artists 94 mins.

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