Woody Allen's sentimental reminiscence about the golden age of radio. A series of vignettes involving radio personalities is intertwined with the life of a working class family in Rockaway Beach, NY circa 1942. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
William H. Macy appears not only as a radio voice, but also as one of the radio actors at the Pearl Harbor Announcement. See more »
In the closing sequence, when Helen Miller (Mother) says "I'm worried about the future," she spills champagne on the baby she is holding. She looks down briefly, but the camera ignores it and pans over. See more »
Ceil adored a very prominent ventriloquist, and this always used to drive Abe crazy:
He's a ventriloquist on the radio - how do you know he's not moving his lips?
Who cares? Leave me alone!
[bursts with laughter]
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This is a wonderful wonderful movie that exemplifies the phrase, "misty watercolored memories." It is a joy to watch and listen to. The era before and during WWII, however, was anything but wonderful. Radio Days presents a time when America was dealing with the Great Depression and its after effects and the horrible event that was World War II. Since the man narrating the memories was only a boy then, it is altogether fitting and proper that he see things as a child; for as he states in one scene, "our conversation turned from Nazis to more important things,like girls." No movies, except this one, that I recall, are able to deal with this critical age in American history without conveying the tragic time that it was.
I would like to think this family was really Woody Allen's, but it is probably a work of fiction, like his other pieces. But how tremendous that he can create (or remember) these people. As I watched it, one thought that kept recurring was that these were not "beautiful" manufactured people like we see in the media today; they had big hips and were fat and poor and... and none of that mattered. They were real. They were believable. You can't watch this movie without wondering what happened to them, did Aunt Bee find a husband? You cared about this family and personally, I wished they were mine.
The vignettes were sad and sweet. My favorite was poor departed Kirby Kyle; at least he had heart! And Leonard; and "donations for the promotion of a state in Palestine." So many memories that make us a part of a family most people never had. The viewer belongs to this warm and loving group.
Something has been lost with the concept of "nuclear family," with the lonely big houses and empty hours and unshared hopes and sorrows. Radio Days reminds us that having someone to experience life with is a treasure and a blessing, despite whacks on the head, martians, and fish, "That man always brings home fish!"
And oh, the music!
This is Woody Allen's masterpiece.
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