Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Judah Rosenthal is an ophthalmologist and a pillar of the community who has a big problem: his mistress Dolores Paley has told him that he is to leave his wife and marry her - as he had promised to do - or she will tell everyone of their affair. When he intercepts a letter Dolores has written to his wife Miriam, he is frantic. He confesses all to his shady brother Jack who assures him that he has friends who can take care of her. Meanwhile, filmmaker Cliff Stern is having his own problems. He's been working on a documentary film for some time but has yet to complete it. He and his wife Wendy have long ago stopped loving one another and are clearly on their way to divorce. He falls in love with Halley Reed who works with a producer, Lester. Cliff soon finds himself making a documentary about Lester and hates every minute of it. Written by
Originally, Alan Alda was only supposed to appear in the opening party scene with Daryl Hannah. Woody Allen expanded Alda's part after he asked Alda to improvise and Allen liked the improvisation. Allen wrote Alda's part as they went along. See more »
When Judah decides to have Delores killed, he only dials seven digits on the phone calling his brother, Jack. Judah lives in Connecticut and Jack lives in New York, so he would have to dial at least 10 digits to call him. See more »
We're all very proud of Judah Rosenthal's philanthropic efforts. His endless hours of fund raising for the hospital, the new medical center, and now, the ophthalmology wing, which until this year had just been a dream. But it's due to Rosenthal our friend that we most appreciate. The husband, the father, the golf companion. Naturally if you have a medical problem you can call Judah...
You're blushing darling.
...day or night, weekends or holidays. But you can also call Judah to ...
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Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) was written and directed by Woody Allen. The film stars Allen as a documentary filmmaker, who makes documentaries that no one would want to see.
The structure of the film is unusual. It's really two movies with a fragile link that connects them.
In one plot, Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) is a prominent ophthalmologist and philanthropist. He's married to Miriam (Claire Bloom), but he's had an affair with Dolores, played by Anjelica Huston. Any movie that contains these three great actors will be a pleasure to watch.
The second plot concerns Cliff Stern (Woody) who's married to Wendy (Joanna Gleason) but is in love with Halley (Mia Farrow).
The link between the two plots is that Wendy's brother Ben (Sam Waterston) has a degenerative eye disease. Ben is being treated for this disease by Judah. Because Ben is a rabbi, Judah confides in him about the love triangle in which he finds himself.
Allen is a brilliant writer and director, and his strengths are in getting dialog right and carefully portraying the milieu in which his characters live and work. Granted, "the Woody Allen part" is predictable and hard to watch. (He's still writing that part, although he's too old now to play it. Just watch "Midnight in Paris" and you'll see the same character in a script written over 20 years after "Crimes and Misdemeanors.")
This is a film I enjoyed and recommend. In my opinion, almost everything Woody Allen directs is worth seeing. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of Allen's best, and is definitely worth seeking out. (We saw the film on DVD, and it worked well on the small screen. If it's not showing in revival, rent or buy the DVD,)
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