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>
The song sung by Frank Sinatra on screen in the scene at Radio City Music Hall, "If You Are But a Dream," [written by Moe Jaffe (my father), Nat Bonx, and Jack Fulton], was published in 1942, after the supposed date of the event portrayed. Additionally, the particular recording used in the film dates from 1944. See more »
Radio Days has got to be one of my absolute favorite films of all time. To me, it's a film that balances story, characters and atmosphere better than just about any other. It's truly a great work of art, and a very, very underrated one. The best thing about it is how Allen's love for his subject, the romantic nostalgia he feels, translates so eloquently to the screen. You've also got to hand it to the cast. Diane Weist, Julie Kavner, Mia Farrow, Josh Mostel, a briefly-glimpsed Jeff Daniels, and a young Seth Green all give great performances that are right out of the period, yet instantly recognizable. Allen had Santo Loquasto, his art director, do a bang-up job on creating the world of early-1940s Rockaway, New York, and Jeffrey Kurland's costumes help immensely. Particularly note-worthy is Carlo Di Palma's stunning cinematography. The colours, the smoky nightclubs and soundstages, the dimly-lit nighteries and the dazzling rooftop set come to life like few sets do in films. And then there's the music. That dazzling array of classic music, from one of the best periods for it in American history. Allen's decision to use only music from that time might sound cliche, but he's definatly justified here. And there's always the Radio Show Themes piece by Dick Hyman (I'm always by that name) that accompanies many of the scenes. That piece of music alone is worth seeing the film. As you can probably tell, I love this film simply for the fact that it's such a charming, enchanting, beautiful film. It's one I'd show my children, even the nude dancing scene, had I any children to show it to. Woody Allen's turn in the films he's made lately (as of 2003) are, to me, pretty depressing and perverse, with none of the charm, life and humor that works like Radio Days symbolize, Sweet and Lowdown notwithstanding. Hopefully, more films like this gem are on the horizon.
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