Centred around a weekend party at the home of inventor Andrew Hobbs and his wife Adrian, attended by randy doctor Maxwell Jordan, his nurse Dulcy, renowned philosopher Dr.Leopold Sturgis and his fiancée, this is a light comedy concerning their various emotional, intellectual and sexual entanglements, loosely based on Ingmar Bergman's 'Smiles of a Summer Night' . Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Woody Allen has said of Mia Farrow's performance anxieties on this movie: "I calmed her but I was not completely sympathetic, because I didn't realize the dimensions, the gravity. I knew she'd be wonderful in it. It never occurred to me she'd disappoint me." See more »
About thirteen minutes into the movie, a crew member is visible crouched by a tree, as a deer runs through the woods. See more »
As long as you don't mind making light of deception, adultery, and plain old cheating on your wife and lover, this is a really well constructed, fast, brilliantly written film.
Woody Allen, by nature, has some combination of striving for depths and avoiding them by silliness that is beguiling. It's really fun to see one of his "entertainments" like this (as opposed to his all out comedies or his more serious films) because it carves out an ingenious, lovable world where you don't have to worry about a thing for an hour and a half. There is surprising humor (of course), sight gags and turns of phrase, and the absurdity of situation. But there is also a layer of despair at the universe, too, which is like pepper in the sugar.
Now Allen is a director as much as a writer (both, never forget) and he makes movies fluid, visually tight, and fresh in spirit. And he does this in part because he gets great actors and he gets them to perform at their best. That's part of what a great director does, inspiring and making the most of everyone. Here we have Mia Farrow, who is her usual meek intelligent self, and a counterpart, an echo really, played to perfect pitch by Mary Steenburgen. But even more astonishing really is the arrogant, prolix professor played by Jose Ferrar, who never cracks from his erudite Victorianism. And there is Allen himself, playing the same kind of neurotic, feeling, questioning man he is so good at.
So there is nothing her not to like. Toss in the parallels to Shakespeare, an homage to Bergman, and the use of Mendelssohn for music (a switch for Allen), and you have a movie that would stand up to studying. Not that it needs study. It's too slight and frivolous to worry much about, and it gets downright ridiculous (or puerile) at times, so don't worry beyond having fun. For some, it might be too affected, and it might have too many lines that seem obvious, or are played with a kind of falseness when genuine intensity might be welcome. But not really. It's a set piece, a play held flat by celluloid, an overly controlled contrivance, a highly successful resolution of intention. When it's done, you won't be changed, you won't cry, but you'll feel good, and will have a good laugh or two to remember.
I have to admit this movie just clicks with me, and every time I watch it I'm aware it's a completely frivolous, minor effort. But I really like it anyway, and I think it has some sparkling lines, really funny comic comeback and expressions. The movie is also one of the famous set of nearly flawless films shot for Allen by the great cinematographer Gordon Willis.
The premise here is simplethree mismatched couples get together for a weekend in the country. (Note hereAllen famously hates the country, and this feels like upstate New York in spirit.) We not only see the quirks in the relationships that exist, we see the attempts at new matches in a kind of grab bag of infidelity. That part of the movie is silly and fun.
The other theme here is sort of serious, though in comic clothes. And that's whether there is life after death, or a world of spirits in any way. The answer is Allen's wishful one: yes. But he can only approach it in this kind of fantasy, because in the real world he believes otherwise (from what I read).
So this is just a postscript after yet another fun viewing. Short and funny.
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