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A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
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Index 46 reviews in total 

44 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

an overlooked masterpiece

10/10
Author: David from Tennessee, USA
25 May 2002

I am amazed at how neglected this film is. It is a real gem. I'm a big Woody Allen film and I consider it one of his best. The story is intelligent, well-written, funny, and charming. The themes of love, fate, and immortality are explored in a thoroughly entertaining way. A great performance by all the actors, but special mention should be made of Jose Ferrer and Julie Haggerty. See this movie. You will not be disappointed.

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35 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Shakespeare and Bergman and Sprites and Spirits oh my

8/10
Author: canadude
31 May 2005

When I look at his filmography on this site and count the films I consider great from the 70s till the early 90s I only stumble over two or three entries I am not fond of. Granted, some are greater than others, but Woody Allen essentially created consistently excellent films for two decades. Whether comedy or drama, whether set in New York or elsewhere, his films are not only great American films, but they belong in the international arena of film art.

Having said all that, and hopefully having disclosed my own bias in discussing the man's work, I can say without further ado that I loved "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy." It is hardly the type of Woody Allen film that would receive dozens of critical accolades and nominations (in fact it was only nominated for a Razzie), but I think that can be explained by the fact that Woody Allen set a bar of expectation for himself. When you watch "Manhattan" or "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and then this you see a change of pace, a sort of lighter tone. That does not, however, mean that this film is without its merits. Taken strictly as a film, not as a Woody Allen film, it is plain wonderful. I think that goes for most of his films (except maybe some of the more recent ones).

Allen, of course, is up to his usual tricks again - he takes a Bergman film ("Smiles of a Summer Night") and spoofs it, makes it his own and I think successfully. The atmosphere of this film is what makes it so watchable - the beautiful blend of humor, nostalgia and unfulfilled desire, which I think he perfected in "Radio Days," come through exquisitely. It's also an interesting move away from the stark atheism, or at least agnosticism of his earlier films - the presence of spirits, shadows and ghosts, things unexplained by science, unaccounted for by our sentient experience.

The most interesting aspect of it is that this mystical theme is hardly incongruous with Allen's other films, including his tragedies. Whether his films underline the hopelessness of existence (like "Interiors") or the mystical, and thus hopeful nature of human relationships, they only differ by the mood the storyteller is in when he speaks of them.

Here we have an entirely Shakespearean comedy full of criss-crossing love affairs, absurd relations, untamed desires all leading to hilarious revelations, or serious revelations under the most comic circumstances. Jose Ferrer is remarkable as Professor Leopold, a cold, atheistic intellectual, an accomplished thinker and professor. Contrary to his character, Allen bestows him with some of the funniest lines in the entire film. For example, when he realizes that his marriage to Mia Farrow's Ariel will be the end of his bachelorhood and that he is attracted to Julie Hagerty's nurse Dulcy, he attempts to compliment Dulcy over a game of chess. He says: "You have a wonderful flair for spatial relationships." These little speeches are completely in line with the comic absurdity of the whole, like Tony Robert's Maxwell, a romantic doctor who, gets shot not once, but twice in the film (once for love and once for revenge {meant for someone else}, nonetheless), or Woody Allen's stockbroker / inventor Andrew.

There is such joy in this film, such passion. Yes, maybe "Radio Days" is more articulate and personal on the subject, maybe "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of his best tragedies, "Manhattan" one of my favorite of his films along with "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Another Woman." And, while "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" is not as great, in my humble opinion, as the aforementioned films, it is still a great film, if that makes any sense.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Light and Sensual Smile

7/10
Author: Galina from Virginia, USA
20 June 2006

Woody Allen's "Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" that was made in 1982 between "Stardust Memory" (1980) and "Zelig"(1983) is considered by many as a lesser Allen's work or even failure. It was even nominated for a Razzie (Mia Farrow) for crying out loud. Well, failure or not, I'd take this silly, funny, humorous, beautifully photographed with Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, Violin Concerto in E Minor, Piano Concerto No. 2 and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" suite for the soundtrack little treasure over the majority of Hollywood comedies any day or night including midsummer night. Spoofing Shakespeare's classic comedy and highly successful Ingmar Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night", Woody made a light comedy about six very different people - three couples in a turn-of-the-century who gathered together in a country during the weekend party in search for love, understanding and meaning of life and death which has his own unique style. Allen does not take things too seriously and laughs at and with his characters providing the best comical scenes in the movie as an inventor. One scene is his first appearance with the wings on his back when he tries to fly and another when he pedals his flying bicycle in a very ET - manner. Funny and memorable.

7.5/10

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Woody in the woods

Author: drosse67 from Virginia
8 July 2002

While this movie is not considered to be one of Woody Allen's masterworks, the sight of him in the countryside he so feared in Annie Hall and Manhattan, surrounded by crickets, rabbits, frogs and wild mushrooms, is a funny one, especially for his fans. Shakespeare was clearly on Allen's mind when he made and titled this movie--not only A Midsummer Night's Dream, but also The Tempest. There are obvious references (Mia Farrow's character's name is Ariel), and more subtle ones in the dialogue, when Woody's character talks about a "half goat" mystical lover. The film also marks Allen's first union with Mia Farrow, and the two work wonders together here which would be proved in several subsequent films (it's quite sad that their off-screen relationship ended the way it did). It is beautifully filmed and Allen uses music as effectively as he did in Manhattan. There are not a lot of belly laughs or memorable one-liners, but it is fun to watch nevertheless, and everyone in his ensemble cast seems to be having a great time.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps lesser known, but not lesser quality woody film

10/10
Author: Curtis Mark Stratmeyer (curtstrat@msn.com) from Bellevue, Washington
19 March 2000

Almost a hidden gem, except that no one has an excuse for not knowing about any Woody film. The cast is delightful. Every line of dialog is laced with wit and humor. No New York angst here, just the usual relationship muddle, mixed with the usual existential questions of the the meaning of love and life and ...

Not a message movie. As the title indicates, the point of all this is comedy. My favorite bit, which didn't make it into the quotes section goes something like this:

<Andrew is hovering outside Maxwell's window in his self-propelled helicopter>

Maxwell: Andrew! What do you think you're doing?

Andrew: Its an invention of mine. I think I've got most of the bugs worked out. What do you think?

Maxwell: Andrew, don't be silly. You can't fly.

Andrew: I can't?

Maxwell: Of course not! You're a mammal!

Andrew: Oh.

<Andrew crashes to ground>

Tony Roberts is the perfect straight man. Its a pity that Woody hasn't used him in some of his later films. This is one of those handful of films that can be watched over and over again. One to own. Sadly, this (and several other Woody masterpieces) are out of print.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Manhattan in the woods

Author: Gyran from Birmingham, England
30 August 2001

When I saw this film I thought it was from Allen's early period and I thought of it as a prototype Manhattan but when I checked the chronology I discovered that it belongs to his middle period and postdates both Annie Hall and Manhattan. It really is like Manhattan set in the woods of New England. As far as I can see, it is his first film with Mia Farrow and his camera is besotted with her as are all the male characters in the film. Mary Steeburgen also looks good although I can never work out whether she really can act or whether she is just having trouble with her contact lenses. The scenes of New England are beautifully shot and are ravishing to look at. I thought the element of mysticism sat uneasily with the rest of the film.

This film is said to be Allen's take on the Bergman film Three Smiles of a Summer Night although I cannot comment on this because I last saw the Bergman film 35 years ago at a student film society. Maybe the mystical element in Allen's film is lifted from Bergman. There are also obvious parallels with A Midsummer Night's Dream with the mortals swapping partners and with spirits flitting about in the woods. In keeping with the subject matter, Allen uses Mendelssohn for the incidental music rather that his usual classic jazz numbers.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Very funny and entertaining movie!

8/10
Author: ugobo (oupsenaihay@hotmail.com) from Montreal
26 May 2003

First,i should say that i am an inconditional Woody Allen fan. I saw this movie for the first time yesterday and i had a GREAT time! Tony Roberts is just great in that one! I wonder why Woody did'nt cast him more often? I won't give you the plot as you already know it. I'll just add that A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is a different Woody Allen film. This time he focus on the country in is beautifulness instead of the more common urban movie he used to shoot. And that gives this movie something unique compared to Woody's other works. The jokes and the situations are very funny and i laughed a lot! So if you are a Woody Allen fan and haven't seen that one,forget about all the bad words that movie got and enjoy a realy entertaining viewing!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Magic!

9/10
Author: james ryan thompson (jamie T) from Sheffield, England
8 March 2000

Despite being one of Woody's lesser works this film still succeeds to entertain. The sight of Woody on a flying bicycle is worth watching the film alone, as is the wonderful scenery. Despite not having an outstanding script, though good by anyone else's standards, Woody's take on Bergman & Shakespeare's tale is a success that makes the summer seem like a magical time of escapism and hope. Woody succeeds in the modern take on the Shakespearian theme of confusion & love and manages to make a warm and pleasant film

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Allen's country comedy

8/10
Author: Petri Pelkonen (petri_pelkonen@hotmail.com) from Finland
15 January 2010

The movie takes place in the early 1900's.Inventor Andrew Hobbs and his wife Adrian are having a party party at their home in the country.They have invited Adrian's cousin, an aging philosopher Leopold and his younger fiancée Ariel, a randy doctor Maxwell and his date Dulcy, who's a nurse.During the weekend these people feel like cheating on their companions.Also some spirits come interfering their weekend in the country.Woody Allen does solid work as the writer, director and main actor in A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy from 1982.It's loosely based on Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night.For Mia Farrow this was the first time with Woody of the thirteen movies she made with him.She didn't deserve that Razzie Award nomination.José Ferrer is great as Leopold.Julie Hagerty is very good as Dulcy, the free-thinking nurse.Tony Roberts is terrific as Maxwell.Mary Steenburgen does very good job as the wife Adrian.In this movie Allen goes very Shakespearian showing all those spirits going wild.The movie is better than its reputation.It's quite a delight to watch Allen with that flying device and taking Farrow for a ride.Also the magic lantern is quite an invention.The conversations they have with each other over the table is just enjoyable to listen.On the music department we hear some great stuff by Felix Mendelssohn.Allen's not close to his best here, but it has a lot of good.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Woody's Comic Valentine to Ingmar Bergman and his first film with Mia Farrow

7/10
Author: Isaac5855 from United States
2 May 2007

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY was Woody Allen's amusing variation on the Ingmar Bergman classic SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT, which had been previously re-worked as a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim called A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. This film is about three couples in turn of the century who gather at one of their country homes for the weekend and it is clear at the beginning of the story that these three couples are hopelessly mismatched and we see the very human foibles that split up and mix up these three couples during this memorable weekend in the country. Woody and Mary Steenburgen plays the hosts for the weekend, a seemingly happily married couple whose happiness is clearly surface deep. Tony Roberts plays a womanizing physician and Woody's best pal who arrives for the weekend with his nurse (Julia Hagerty). In her first screen pairing with Woody Allen, Mia Farrow plays a former flame of Woody's who has arrived with her much older fiancée (Jose Ferrer) who she is scheduled to marry on Monday. Watching these three couples fuss and fumble all over each other in an attempt to be with the person they really want to be with is what makes this charming period comedy work. As always in Woody's films, music is crucial in setting the mood and Woody has chosen some classic Mendelsohhn pieces that set the perfect mood for the piece. The performances are uniformly fine, with Roberts a standout. Not one of Woody's better known films, but if you'd like to see where his relationship with Mia began, take a look.

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