Fabe, Marilyn. “Film and Postmodernism: Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.” Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. pp. 173-190.
In this chapter, Marilyn Fabe considers postmodernism in Woody Allen’s films, particularly in Annie Hall. She begins by pointing to postmodernist themes like skepticism, irony, and depression, and notes that these themes are often key components in Allen’s films. Generally, Allen looks at the predicament of humans living in a post-sacred world. But Allen specifically reflects on this work in a parodic way. Allen mirrors life as it is presented in other films in his own films. His works are extremely self-reflexive and, at the same time, utilize traditional forms. However, he uses traditional forms in an ironic manner, to undercut their realistic pretentions. Annie Hall is the perfect example of Allen’s parodic style as it relates to postmodernism. In it, Allen undercuts his own pretentions by providing audiences with a filmed autobiography (which can be considered to be simply another fictional work). Fabe mentions many particular reasons why Annie Hall seems to be totally autobiographical, but notes that the story is still fictional. Within the fiction of the movie, Woody Allen seems to be confessing everything through the fictional character of Alvy Singer, who is constantly trying to work out his inner problems. Imbedded in Alvy is a serious level of emotion that seems relatable, even if it is fictitious. Thus, Annie Hall revolves around truly postmodernist themes in that each character, particularly Alvy, are extremely skeptical about the world in which they live and approach it with an ironic attitude.
Like all of Allen’s postmodernist films, Annie Hall is not about love but is more about its impossibility, which is a theme to which all audience members can connect at some point or another in their adult lives. Fabe confirms the reasons why Allen’s films, most importantly Annie Hall, make such strong connections to their audiences. Annie Hall stands today as one of the best comedies of our time because its themes are ones which occur often in the postmodern lives of every viewer. Allen presents the characters and their relationships in a very revolutionary way – one which brings out the insecurities and instability in each audience member, letting them know that they are not alone in their thoughts.
Nilsen, Don L. F. “Humorous Contemporary Jewish-American Authors: An Overview of the Criticism.” MELUS. 21. 4 (Winter, 1996). JSTOR:71-101.
Nilsen’s article demonstrates Woody Allen’s abilities in the area of Jewish-American humor as decided by other authors. The article serves as a discussion of the various takes on Allen’s humor, as a means by which to showcase Allen as a premiere Jewish-American comedian. Generally, the consensus is that Allen’s humor is strong because it pertains to society’s (sometimes troubling realities). While the humor is dark, touching on some sensitive subjects such as genocide, it is philosophical and consistently comments on the nature of today’s world. Nilsen points to one take on Allen’s humor, which describes it as stereotypical at times. If his humor considers stereotypes and cultural differences, then Annie Hall is Allen’s most successful use of humor. Described as a parody comparing and contrasting the lifestyles of Jews and gentiles, Annie Hall is extremely philosophical and provides a strong comparison through the use of inventive, often typically Jewish, jokes. The author providing such insight believes Annie Hall to be Allen’s “most sincere, most personal, and most richly comic statement about both his life and his art.”
This article, while not solely focusing on Annie Hall, does point to the film as being Allen’s most successful film in terms of his application of Jewish humor, as well as to Allen for being one of the most famous Jewish comedians and directors of our time. Thus, Nilsen confirms the strength of Allen’s humor, particularly as it is found in Annie Hall, as well as the reasons why Allen’s work successfully translates even today to many types of audiences.
Kamp, David. “Woody Talks.” New York Times on the Web. 18 November 2007. University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library, 06 April 2008. <http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/Kampt.html?pagewanted=1&sq=annie%20hall&st=nyt&scp=9>
This recent book review of Conversations with Woody Allen from the New York Times mentions Annie Hall, although it does not directly focus on the film. However, it does focus on Woody Allen’s directorial achievements throughout his career, which is pertinent because Allen’s choices in directing Annie Hall allowed it much of its success. Kamp first addresses Allen’s notorious inability to give himself credit, enjoy himself or celebrate his achievements (with another reference to the “anhedonia” title once given to Annie Hall). This omnipresent issue in Allen’s life is also the driving force behind Alvy Singer’s inability to succeed in a romantic relationship with Annie Hall. Kamp mentions how the book succeeds in making light of Allen’s development of his most famous stylistic trademarks on the set of Annie Hall. Ultimately, the review is a slightly negative one, in that the author finds the book to lack drama. He attributes this, though, to the lack of drama in Allen’s life and behavior; Allen’s demeanor does not ever seem to change drastically over the decades of his career. He makes sure to comment on the strong relationship between the author and Allen to highlight why the lack of drama may have been a conscious choice by both men involved. Kamp criticizes the author, Eric Lax, for not being aggressive enough in his approach to interviewing Allen. Kamp does conclude, however, by noting Allen’s continuous ability, through his film and through such things as the interviews included in Lax’s book, to entertain.
Kamp’s investigation of the book, and his deeper exploration of Woody Allen - the character and the director – confirms Allen’s status in the industry as one of the most influential and well-respected directors of our time. Although it does not particularly consider Annie Hall in relation to Allen’s career, the discussion of Allen alone shows how all films by Allen, including his most successful, Annie Hall, have had a deep impact on the film world and on society in general.
Julian Fox’s discussion of Annie Hall is primarily a summary of the film’s coming into being, its development by Woody Allen, and its ultimate impact on audiences worldwide. Calling it Allen’s first mature film, Fox (similarly to Ascione) argues that the film succeeds in reaching an entire generation through its combination of romance, humor, and deep thought. The piece contains such details as the particular locations of shooting, original pieces of plot which were cut, and an investigation of the three-color approach used to add mood to the film. While the piece does not directly focus on Annie Hall’s social impact, it does highlight its main themes as well as the ways in which, after coming together, the film succeeded in reaching the hearts of the audiences. Fox claims that Annie Hall’s main focus is on the relationship of Alvy and Annie and their respective abilities, or inabilities, to handle its intricacies. Supporting themes involve aspects of religion (particularly traditional Jewish humor) and psychoanalysis. Audiences in the 1970s (and still today) found it easy to relate to such themes, comparing the insecurities inherent in their romantic relationship to the occurrences in their own lives. Interestingly, though, Fox chooses to focus on the character of Annie, portrayed wonderfully by Diane Keaton, as the true reason for the film’s lovability. Not only is Keaton “perfect” for the role, but the character of Annie Hall is the key emotional component of the movie to which the audiences attached at the time of its premiere. When this element is combined with that of Allen’s artistic and comedic ingenuity, Annie Hall is obviously a significant film to the film industry and to the generation it first reached.
Fox’s summary of Annie Hall underscores the general themes of the film which have had a worldwide, lasting impact. Woody Allen’s smart combination of incessant humor, cultural contrast, and insecure romance truly brought a new level of comfort to audiences, in that these themes were themes easily found in the audience members’ own lives. Thus, Annie Hall majorly impacted the American film industry, but it more importantly made a lasting impression on its many viewers.
Cowie, Peter. Annie Hall. London: The British Film Institute, 1996.
Peter Cowie’s investigation of Annie Hall is a rather complete one, focusing on the film’s role as it relates to the period of the 1970s. On one level, Cowie simply summarizes the making of the film, the elements which had the greatest impact on it, and the ways in which the film has now impacted the industry. Cowie argues that both the decade and the film influenced each other. The film then went on, due to its wonderful, philosophical exploration of society at that time, to secure its position as one of the great American comedic films of all time. Cowie also discusses the film in a similar fashion as many other Allen scholars do. One common theme of Annie Hall which Cowie discusses is Woody Allen’s direct and indirect connections and influences on the film. As many have considered Annie Hall to be a potential autobiography, Allen’s personality is clearly instilled in the film’s plot, the characters and the themes. Cowie argues that, because one can find so many elements of Woody Allen in Alvy Singer, Annie Hall serves as the strongest means by which one can learn the most about its creator. Cowie continues to study Allen’s application of humor and his unique approach to narrative – an element of Annie Hall which allows the film to stand out in Allen’s repertoire. Cowie also considers the film in relation to cultural stereotypes, claiming that Allen’s handling of such subjects through the context of Annie and Alvy’s relationship is, instead of offensive, rather relatable. It is what allows Annie Hall such a widespread appeal that has stood the test of time.
Ascione, Lou. “Dead Sharks and Dynamite Ham: The Philosophical Use of Humor in Annie Hall.” Woody Allen and Philosophy (You Mean My Whole Fallacy is Wrong?). Ed. Aeon J. Skoble and Mark T. Conard. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 2004. 132-151.
In his article on Woody Allen’s use of humor in Annie Hall, Ascione touches on some of the major themes of the film and how humor inventively brings the themes into focus on a philosophical level. Ascione introduces Schopenhauer’s theory of humor to display what types of situations are humorous and the ways in which such humorous situations can have strong or weak impacts. He adds to this theory the concept that humor has an entire second level of value aside from being entertaining– a philosophical one which Allen masterfully applies to Annie Hall. Ascione believes that Annie Hall is the prime example of how Woody Allen uses straight humor to achieve both entertaining and philosophical ends. To further explain how Allen achieves this on such a successful level, Ascione discusses such themes as social analysis, the nature of romance, cultural analysis and provincialism and, in each discussion, mentions Allen’s application of humor for philosophical reasons. For instance, humor is a medium for social criticism in such scenes as the scene where Alvy and Annie first spend time together, speaking with their true thoughts on display for the audience through subtitles, suggesting that romantic relationships can often involve some form of deception. Similarly, the relationship between culture and the individual is humorously explored by Allen and by the character Alvy, who cannot seem to control this relationship’s debilitating effect on his relationship with other people, including Annie. The concept that the important questions in life cannot be easily answered is often an underlying one presented by Alvy through his jokes. In general, Allen uses humor to make a critical commentary on social issues and human behavior.
Ascione’s thesis directly complements the general idea that Annie Hall was such a huge success on both comedic and social levels due to its sophisticated combination of humor and inventive narrative. Through the application of jokes and revolutionary narrative techniques, Allen wisely comments on many of the social truths of the period which very few other people had yet questioned. Thus, audiences could easily, and happily, relate to Annie and Alvy, understand the issues that they faced, and appreciate their romantic relationship and the course that it ran.
Yacowar, Maurice. “Annie Hall.” Loser Take All: The Comic Art of Woody Allen. New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1991. 171-186.
In Yacowar’s chapter, similar topics are addressed concerning the functions and success of Annie Hall: Alvy’s inability to enjoy life to the fullest, the contrast between Alvy and Annie’s upbringings and identities, and Woody Allen’s use of narrative and humor. The start of the chapter involves a summary of the film, with mention of some of the key elements which make it such a success. The piece is essentially a description of the main themes of the film, most significantly that of the relationship between art and reality. Yacowar first addresses the reoccurring idea of Alvy’s “sifting the pieces” of his relationship with Annie, which results in the blossoming of Annie and the continued confusion of Alvy. He then suggests that Alvy’s “sifting the pieces” is displayed through freely associated memories and ideas that Allen constructs through his use of narrative. It is argued that the narrative employed is what best expresses Alvy’s inability to balance his desire to confront and avoid troubling memories or issues from throughout life. Thus, this chapter, like other chapters and articles, investigates Alvy’s own investigation of his personality and its problems. Alvy cannot handle Annie’s outgrowing of him because he fell in love with his own creation and then lost it, similar to the Pygmalion myth. The chapter then transitions into a more in-depth exploration of the points of climax in Annie Hall and how they differ according to the two main characters’ experiences and personalities. This description further displays how the two characters, regardless of being in a romantic relationship, are individuals interested in their own personal ambitions and issues, first and foremost. Further dramatizing their differences, Yacowar makes use of the dinner table example, where a split screen shows the differences in each family’s habits at dinnertime, to show how the situation is simply “like oil and water.” Yacowar notes that in order to place more emphasis on contrast, Allen places contrast scenes in parallel spots in the plot. By doing this, Allen suggests Alvy’s narrow interests and his eventual alienation by Annie as a result of their differences, as well as the idea that Alvy can never survive any romantic relationship due to his handling of his personality. Yacowar concludes by delving into the topic of art versus life, transitioning by saying that the parallels of Annie Hall point to the fact that art and life are continuous forces. To him, the primary theme of Annie Hall is that art has the power to compensate for the limitations of life. As this is the primary theme, Alvy Singer employs the art of comedy to make up for the immediate and deeper issues complicating his life, such as his obvious differences from Annie.
Yacowar correctly pinpoints Alvy’s artistic use of comedy to substitute for solutions to the issues in his life. Similar to Alvy, many people use a particular talent or habit to avoid handling larger issues in life, and thus audience members could relate to Alvy’s habit when the film premiered. Alvy’s use of comedy is so continuous and so unique that it pushed the film to succeed on many levels.
Girgus, Sam B. “Desire and Narrativity in Annie Hall.” The Films of Woody Allen. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 44-61.
In this chapter of Girgus’ book on Woody Allen films, the theory of narrativity is related to the concept of desire in an attempt to explain the success of Annie Hall. In addressing this fusion of theories, Girgus argues that Annie Hall survives and succeeds by sitting on this idea of the relationship between desire and narrativity and utilizing it to explain Alvy Singer and Annie Hall’s explorations of their respective identities in relation to the other’s. Furthermore, Woody Allen’s exploration of this theoretical relationship is what makes Annie Hall so enjoyable and at the same time revolutionary. Girgus explains that desire and narrative work together in the same process of the search for self. He notes Annie Hall’s chronological dislocation as an example of Woody Allen’s employment of the narrative. Describing narrative as “mimesis,” and contrasting it with “diegesis” (histoire), Girgus claims that Allen’s exploring this contrast is what allowed the film its initial success; it is what, on a broader scale, allows the film to be considered “important,” both in its relation to the film industry and in relation to other Allen films. Girgus continues to explain that this exploration can be found by viewers in the humor employed by Allen. Through humor, Allen, as Alvy Singer, places himself at the center of the narrative, and in effect explores the theme of psychoanalysis – one that is mentioned to be one of the film’s main themes in most articles and chapters written. His placement reminds us of Allen’s self-centeredness; while the film is named after its female star, the narrative really revolves, comically, around the inner workings of Annie and Alvy’s romantic relationship. Thus, Girgus argues, we only get to know Annie so well through Allen’s application of narrative desire to the plot. Narrative desire in Annie Hall provides a means by which Alvy Singer is deconstructed before the audience’s eyes, and humor accompanies this narrative desire to bring the film to a deeper philosophical level, where conventional perceptions and ideas of reality are “invaded” and reconstructed in a new, creative way. In utilizing narrative desire and humor, Allen successfully considers such themes as the unconscious, religion, and language. Girgus employs such examples as the characters’ speech patterns and the random inclusion of outside characters to demonstrate how Allen visually reinvents reality through humor and through the art form of film.
Girgus points to Allen’s use of humor and narrative desire as the reasons for Annie Hall’s worldwide impact. These elements are what allowed Annie Hall to serve as Allen’s artistic and intellectual breakthrough in cinema. Without them, the film would not have been as revolutionary, nor would it still strike a chord with audience members today.
Bernheimer, Kathryn. “Annie Hall.” The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, 1998. 28-33.
In a chapter that is one in a book on the best Jewish films which exist today, Bernheimer explores Annie Hall’s characters of Annie and Alvy in terms of their ethnic conflict. She claims, first, that Annie Hall is the strongest example of a film examining the natural differences between Jews and gentiles and the ways in which these differences can inhibit a romance from advancing. This theme is Annie Hall’s main one, according to the author. Bernheimer regresses from this theme for some time to discuss the film on a less specific level. She considers what the film represents for Allen as a major player in today’s film industry: it establishes him as a serious artist and exemplifies an aesthetic shift in his work. Bernheimer then continues to discuss the main characters and their romance, bringing the religious theme back into play. Allen, she says, utilizes humor to illustrate philosophical points. Often, Allen chooses to address contrast, whether it be contrast within his own personality or contrast within Alvy’s relationship with Annie. Bernheimer attributes the majority of the conflict between the main characters, and perhaps the final reason for their failure as a couple, to their ethnic differences. She suggests that these ethnic differences have played a part in forming each of their outlooks on life. Alvy, on the one hand, suffers from anhedonia (mentioned in almost every article or chapter on the film, as it was originally the title for the film and well encompasses a general idea of it), an inability to enjoy oneself. Bernheimer argues that, while Annie has issues to work out as well, she can still enjoy the company of others and of herself. Perhaps, this major personality difference allows Annie to ironically outgrow Alvy, even though Alvy molded and cultivated Annie at the start. Bernheimer then returns to the religious theme, making an example of the scene juxtaposing a dinner between the two characters’ families - a scene which is noted in most sources as wonderfully offering the audience a display of Annie and Alvy’s ethnic differences. Bernheimer concludes by addressing Alvy’s jokes; in a distinctively Jewish manner, the character makes fun of himself while simultaneously enjoying the ability to be different. She claims that this is the main reason for Annie Hall’s success: audiences can make fun of Alvy too, while at the same time relate to him in a way that was never presented to audiences before. It is successful as a Jewish film because Woody Allen, an extremely Jewish character in his films and in life, provides us with a particular Jewish identity to explore.
The chapter is relevant to the concept of Annie Hall’s succeeding due to a humorous exploration of cultural contrast because it addresses how the theme of religion is paramount in the characters’ lives and in the cultivation of the film as an intellectual commentary and comedic masterpiece.
Tolich, Martin. “Bringing Sociological Concepts into Focus in the Classroom with Modern Times, Roger and Me, and Annie Hall.” Teaching Sociology, Vol. 20, No.4. (Oct, 1992), pp. 344-347.
Tolich’s article is a type of university lesson plan involving the use of Annie Hall. A sociology professor at Massey University in New Zealand, Tolich utilizes sociologically-relevant films to provide more stimulating lessons for his students. Among the three films he chooses is Annie Hall. It allows for the students to retain a deeper understanding of sociological analysis, because film is a medium with which they more easily connect. Tolich argues that Annie Hall is pertinent in teaching many subjects, in that it strongly relates to many different aspects of today’s society. The author specifically uses Annie Hall to demonstrate an early component of romantic relationships: the pickup. Utilizing the scene in which Alvy Singer and Annie Hall first meet at a tennis club in New York City, Tolich describes, in detail, the steps a person must follow to successfully persuade another person to spend further time with him on a more intimate level. Tolich mentions every detail of the scene, displaying how Alvy and Annie engage in a perfect pickup scenario, which eventually leads to the initial phases of their romantic relationship. The article’s argument concerning the theme of the pickup more generally demonstrates the types of sociological components which exist in film and how, if created successfully, they can communicate sociological themes to students.
This work is relevant to Annie Hall because it makes a strong case for the film’s sociological elements and its ability to communicate to people on a broader scale. The use of the example of Annie and Alvy’s initial interaction makes Tolich’s argument even more pertinent, for it successfully expresses how very relatable the characters are to the everyday audience member. The article supports Annie Hall as an extremely relevant commentary on the world and the ups and downs of relationships between individuals.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1998.3.A45 L44 1997
This book analyzes Woody Allen’s films based on philosophical theories and trends, and the second chapter is entitled “A Therapeutic Autobiography: Annie Hall (1977).” This chapter is a particularly useful analysis of the scenes in the film that have specific, directed commentaries about Woody Allen’s views on life, love, values, and responsibility.
The beginning of this chapter brings up the important point that Woody Allen rejects the idea that Annie Hall is autobiographical. Allen claims that all his films have a few true facts in them, but presumably that is the limit. Although Lee acknowledges this point, the chapter continues to remark on the continuity within Woody Allen’s film repertoire and refers to Allen’s private life within the commentary on the film and the philosophical ideas. The elements of philosophy are attributed to Woody Allen himself, presumably because he co-wrote the film, but throughout the chapter, the sense that these are part of Woody Allen’s philosophy is always present. Lee even comments on the name “Alvy” sounding much like the beginning of “Allen” with the ending of “Woody” and how Diane Keaton’s real last name is Hall. Lee refers to other Woody Allen films to support the philosophical ideas and explain some offhand comments in these movies. For example, Lee explains Rob’s calling Alvy “Max” by referring to the film Hannah and her Sisters and Woody Allen’s admiration of Ingmar Bergman, who worked frequently with actor Max von Sydow.
The explanation of the chapter's title is made clear in the onset of the chapter as Lee describes the film as a series of psychotherapy sessions, in which Alvy tries to explain all his actions and free him of confusion or guilt. This idea is linked to the basis of some autobiographical documentaries, according to Jim Lane's book. This theory is that filmmakers make personal films to attempt to impose order, understanding, and rationality on their lives.
This discussion of Annie Hall describes the film thoroughly, and the continuity that the writer draws between the life of Woody Allen, a philosophy on life that emerges in other Woody Allen films, and the events in Annie Hall supports the argument that the image of film Woody Allen is almost inextricable from the real Woody Allen.
This article presents a biased point of view of Woody Allen’s real life, depicting him as a contradiction, mystery, and possibly even a hypocrite. After succinctly delineating the persona that Woody Allen carries as an intellectual, shy, funny, and neurotic New Yorker, the article gives a detailed account of Woody Allen’s personal everyday life, removed from all of the personality that has stuck to the distinctive image of Woody Allen.
The title of the article, “The Conflicting Life and Art of Woody Allen,” establishes the point of the article: The writer attempts to list and question the many contradictions within Woody Allen’s life. Most of the contradictions come from what Woody Allen says versus what he actually does, such as a purported “disinterest for material wealth” versus the Rolls Royce that Woody Allen uses to go around New York City. The writer bases many impressions of Woody Allen on the film roles, and in some instances, the writer undoes this cinematic persona of Woody Allen with descriptions of his real life. In other instances, the image of Woody Allen says one thing, such as that he chases many women, while Allen makes comments that contradict this idea. However, in the case of women-chasing, Allen’s friend Tony Roberts laughs at Allen’s contradiction of the promiscuous Woody Allen persona. The line between reality and film becomes complicated as the line becomes an intersection between reality, film, AND self-image.
The article oscillates between Allen’s perception, the writer’s perception, and the perception of close friends. The article does not answer the questions about the contradictions in Allen’s life, but rather raises these questions through this new and thorough information and the confusion through the varying opinions and images of Woody Allen. The final statement of the article is made by Tony Roberts, personally describing the enigma of Woody Allen and his ambivalence toward fame and the way that Allen chooses to live. The article simply concludes with the idea that outsiders will never truly know Woody Allen, because he is ultimately the one in control of what people know. This statement harkens back to the ideas that Woody Allen has molded the image and that his life may not actually reflect the onscreen Woody Allen, and that is exactly how he meant it to be. Perhaps, Woody Allen should simply be viewed as a shrewd self-advertisement and manipulator.
This perspective on the issue of fact versus fiction in Woody Allen's life adds to the considerations of the autobiographical quality of Annie Hall, while allowing one to view Annie Hall, as a vehicle for an image through exaggeration and the direct contact with the audience.
This New York Times article - written in 1977 the year of the film’s release - is concerned with Annie Hall, initially title Anhedonia. The article draws on many quotations from Woody Allen about the film, amassing the information into Woody Allen's take on the film. It is a fairly unbiased, informational article about the film that also comments on the relationship between Woody Allen’s life and the events of the film.
In the beginning of the article, Allen is questioned about the comments that the film is taken directly from Allen’s life, and he denies the claim, saying that only certain details are taken from his life. Allen cites bits of character information that were drawn from reality, such as that he is friends with Tony Roberts, but he also defends his position by picking out some facts that are works of fiction, such as Alvy’s wives. The writer goes even further in depth to support Allen’s claim that the film is basically fiction by telling the story of the house under the roller coaster, which was clearly not Allen's real childhood home but something Allen felt was perfect for the character of Alvy, who is treated as a distinctly separate entity from the filmmaker. However, at the same time, the writer necessarily admits that Woody Allen initially planned to use his actual hometown of Flatbush for the film.
Also, the writer notes Diane Keaton’s role in the film and in Allen’s life, simply claiming that the relationship on film and in real life are parallels. The article goes on to describe the similarities between Keaton and her character, and the line between the film world and the real world gets even blurrier. However, as seen in other sources, Allen contests public opinion that the film reflects his life particularly strongly when connections are drawn between Alvy’s and Allen’s relationship to Annie and Keaton.
Anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure and the original title of the film, is described as the diagnosis for Alvy Singer, but when asked if it is also Allen’s problem, Allen indirectly answers the question by saying that he believes that everyone suffers from it. The title of the article “Woody Allen Fights Anhedonia” undoes this universality and places Allen as Alvy, just as the end of the article attempts to do by painting Woody Allen’s comedic, real life stories in a cinematic and exaggerated fashion - classic Woody Allen as the public knows him.
This article is particularly relevant, because it harps on the idea that Woody Allen depicts his real life in film. Though the article does not come to any conclusion on the matter, the writer does a good job of clearly outlining the issue of autobiography versus fiction, wondering what is real and what is not.
Written by the psychologist Dee Burton, this book compiles and analyzes her patients' dreams, which involve Woody Allen. This source describes the many facets of the Woody Allen persona while identifying the place that Woody Allen holds in the minds of his audience and what he has come to symbolize. Woody Allen is perceived as an artist, a friend, a lover, and a quiet thinker that one wants to get to know. The many incarnations of Woody Allen in his films have made him identifiable, relatable, and a moldable image.
Burton points out that Woody Allen’s philosophy on life – on morality, mortality, sexuality, and constant struggles between the self and society – delve into the subjects that people consider everyday on a subconscious level. Woody Allen, known to be an avid fan of psychoanalysis, bled his philosophy and his psychoanalytical tendencies into his films, and as a result, he has become a symbol for openness, genius, and an aspiration toward understanding oneself. As Woody Allen absorbs himself into his films through his roles, writing, and marginally (or not so marginally) autobiographical touches, Allen begins to feel like a friend who one is comfortable with but who one desires to know in even more depth. Some element of his personality – whatever element from whatever personal perception or Woody Allen film – touches his audience members, and the dreams compiled in this book are a testimony to the influence that Woody Allen has had over his audience in a lingering way, particularly through his roles and the illusion of autobiography in his film.
Another interesting fact from this book is that Annie Hall is favorite film among these compiled Woody Allen dreamers, perhaps because Annie Hall is one of his most autobiographical films, where he even addresses the audience with private thoughts and his imaginative portrayals. Still, Burton makes a clear distinction between Woody Allen and Dream Woody. These dreamers have simply identified with the Woody Allen film persona and internalized this identification, which supports the argument that through his films, Woody Allen has created a variation on the auteurist cinema, where he has not only made recognizable films in a recognizable style, but he has also created an onscreen persona that has rendered a lasting offscreen impression.
This project is a collection of sources that discuss the idea of Woody Allen as one of Hollywood's most auteurist of filmmakers, because his films, particularly Annie Hall (1977), are autobiographical, based on his personal philosophy on life, and have a recognizable style. The recognizable Woody Allen style and persona is exemplified in the Academy Award-winning Annie Hall (1977), in which Woody Allen writes, directs, and stars. The sources cover information about autobiographical documentary, whose techniques are used in Allen's films; timely written articles about Woody Allen before and after he became a filmmaker; essays that discuss Allen's career and other similarities between his personal life and films; and writing that discusses both sides of the argument for and against the autobiographical quality of Annie Hall. With all of these sources and the quotes from Woody Allen himself, one must admit the amount of self-reflection Allen uses, but the extent to which film events are impressed upon Allen's private life may be exaggerated. The final sources gauge the reception and reaction to Woody Allen's work - how his persona and style have seeped into the consciousness of his audiences and created an image and brand name (which was created and has endured whether or not one can conclusively say that it is factual) out of the real Woody Allen.
The premise of the article is that despite the film’s wild and enduring success, the creation of the film was not as smooth as one might think. In fact, as the title of the article suggests, the film was so problematic that it almost did not get made. When Ralph Rosenblum, the film’s editor, initially started looking through Allen’s 100,000 feet of footage he stated that it was “‘an untitled and chaotic collection of bits and pieces that
seemed to defy continuity,’ and he held little hope for popular success.” The biggest obstacle for Rosenblum and Allen was trying to find a linear plot that rescued the film from being a scattered stream of consciousness monologue. Rosenblum was able to do this by focusing on Alvy Singer’s relationship with Annie Hall, or rather Woody Allen’s relationship with Diane Keaton. Even though this new focus allowed the studio to change the title to Annie Hall, the film is truly about Alvy Singer and his struggle with himself and his relationships. Another major obstacle in the promotion of this film was Allen’s aversion to Hollywood and the use of publicity and marketing to promote the film. Even though Woody Allen was supported by a major studio, his style was much more in line with that of an independent filmmaker than a Hollywood filmmaker. This article is extremely relevant to history of Annie Hall and has a high level of credibility due to Meade’s use of legitimate sources including editor Ralph Rosenblum, Woody Allen himself, UA executives Eric Pleskow and Gabe Sumner, and her use of direct quotes from the film as evidence to support her arguments.
William Cook’s article from the New Statesman addresses how Woody Allen has caused Europeans to embrace the United States, specifically New York City, through his epitomized portrayal of the city in his films. The wide reception of Woody Allen’s films in Europe, especially by the French and the British, has turned Allen into a venerated figure in these respective countries. Cook argues that Allen’s depiction of Manhattan through his films is only an “immaculate illusion” and is therefore deceptive in its portrayal of the landscape. Cook includes a quote from Allen in which he states, “I constantly run into Europeans whose only sense of New York comes from Manhattan and Annie Hall…If that's what they're expecting to find, I guess they're disappointed.” Cook does not explicitly reveal whether or not he feels that this is a good or bad concept, but rather just brings it to light to let the reader draw his or her own conclusions. The essence of this article is Cook’s exploration of what makes Woody Allen’s films so appealing to European viewers, but Cook manages to put it in a larger context by tying in the relationship of the United States with France.Cook’s article deals more with the relationship of Woody Allen and his fans in Europe serving as a microcosm for the relationship of the United States and European countries such as France and England than it does with any specifics of the film Annie Hall. That being said, Cook tackles an interesting perspective regarding the reception of Woody Allen’s films, including that of Annie Hall and focuses on Allen’s portrayal of New York City in the film. New York City plays a major role in Annie Hall and exploring its significance as the film’s landscape is essential to a comprehensive analysis. Therefore, while this article is not specifically or directly relevant to Annie Hall, the connotations and implications that this articles holds can be extraordinarily pertinent and vital to an analysis of Annie Hall.