The Woody Allen Collection: Vol. 3
After his transition from neurotic funnyman to neurotic genius in the late 1970s, during which he reacted to his artistic triumphs Annie Hall and Manhattan with the ill-received Interiors and Stardust Memories, Woody Allen settled in to his most consistent, but perhaps least auspicious period. From 1982 to 1987, Allen created a series of six small, warm, and interesting comedies that climaxed in 1986 with his third masterpiece, Hannah and Her Sisters. Leading up to that insightful, hilarious, and moving family dramedy, Allen jumped through styles and periods. The director tamed his Bergman complex with A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982), inspired by the Swedish director's less severe romantic comedies, and completely shed the self-indulgent tendencies of his previous films with the ingenious mockumentary Zelig (1983). With his next two films, Allen tackled and mastered the tricky genre of the bittersweet farce, first with the modest Broadway Danny Rose (1984) and then with the technically tricky classic Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). The endings of these light films became increasingly cynical, and Allen unleashed his resurfacing neuroses with one of his five landmark creations, Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), a complex and searing, frequently funny relationship comedy that won Allen his second Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Following Hannah, Allen indulged his childhood nostalgia with the period mosaic Radio Days (1987), an affectionate but unassuming ode to the WWII era. While most Allen fans find their favorites outside this stretch of his career, it marks his longest winning streak, and is propelled by a frequently airy lightness soon to be consumed by his serious turn back toward stark, Bergmanesque introspection in the films that followed. MGM's The Woody Allen Collection: Volume Three offers all six films in fine, though by no means meticulous, 1.85:1 anamorphic transfers and Dolby Digital mono (Allen's preferred audio format). All discs include theatrical trailers; the set comes in six keep-cases packed in a paperboard slip-case.
Gregory P. Dorr
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