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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Woody Allen once said of this film in an interview with Stig Björkman: I think of Radio Days (1987) basically as a cartoon. If you look at my mother, my Uncle Abe, my schoolteacher, my grandparents, they were supposed to be cartoon exaggerations of what my real-life people were like". See more »
In the closing sequence, when Julie Kavner (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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RADIO DAYS is one of Woody Allen's most underrated comedies, a fond look back to the days of radio and its effects on his family.
Set against long-forgotten radio programs, hit songs, and the coming of World War II, we get two narrative threads. The Rockaway family dealing with everyday issues in a series of vignettes, and the fictional life of Sally White (Mia Farrow) as she rises from cigarette girl to glittering radio star.
The cast is excellent. Farrow has a solid role as the Brooklyn girl with the Judy Holliday voice who battles her way toward upward mobility. Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker are terrific as the parents. Dianne Wiest is sweet as Aunt Bea, always on the lookout for true love. Seth Green plays Woody as a kid. Diane Keaton and Kitty Carlisle show up as singers. Josh Mostel and Renee Lippin are hilarious as the aunt and uncle. Wallace Shawn has a funny bit as the "Masked Avenger." Other notables include Richard Portnow as Si, Kenneth Mars as the rabbi, Larry David as the crazed neighbor, Jeff Daniels and William H. Macy as radio actors, Tony Roberts as the game show host, Danny Aiello as the gangster, and a special kudo for the hilarious Gina DeAngelis as his mother.
Highlights include Bea's date on the night of Orson Welles' famous radio program about a Martian invasion, and the poignant episode about the live radio coverage of a girl who's fallen down a well. The film also takes nostalgic looks at radio serials, quiz programs, and comedy shows.
The film perfectly captures the middle class neighborhood of Allen's youth. The interiors are beautifully done (Santo Loquasto), and very memorable is the awe-inspiring visit to Radio City Music Hall with its dimmed lights, lush carpets, and warm red-and-gold tones.
There is also a parade oh hit songs of the day that include "September Song," "Tico Tico," "Mairzy Doats," "South American Way," "Pistol Packin' Mama," "If I Didn't Care," and so many others.
A final word for the many actors and actresses in small parts who make this movie feel so right. Many have walk-ons or have only a line or two but they add the perfect touch and help recreate Woody Allen's beloved New York City.
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