A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Set in 1920's New York City, this movie tells the story of idealistic young playwright David Shayne. Producer Julian Marx finally finds funding for the project from gangster Nick Valenti. The catch is that Nick's girl friend Olive Neal gets the part of a psychiatrist, and Olive is a bimbo who could never pass for a psychiatrist as well as being a dreadful actress. Agreeing to this first compromise is the first step to Broadway's complete seduction of David, who neglects longtime girl friend Ellen. Meanwhile David puts up with Warner Purcell, the leading man who is a compulsive eater, Helen Sinclair, the grand dame who wants her part jazzed up, and Cheech, Olive's interfering hitman / bodyguard. Eventually, the playwright must decide whether art or life is more important. Written by
According to John Baxter's biography of Woody Allen, Jennifer Tilly was the only member of the cast allowed to ad-lib or add to her lines, an acting impulse which Allen otherwise routinely crushed. She also claims that Allen actually advised her not to allow any other actors to slip into ad-libs but to interrupt them or talk over them instead. See more »
Helen gives David a gift on his birthday, and calls him a Scorpio. Two scenes later, it is September 24th. The sun enters the sign of Scorpio at the end of October. David is a Virgo or a Libra. See more »
Great but not one of my favorites from Woody Allen!
This film is typical of Woody Allen's brilliance. He creates the scene about 1920's New York theater scene with scene stealer Dianne Weist who wins her second academy award again with Woody Allen plays a theater dame with a grandiose presence who takes on John Cusack's character. Of course, the play has problems getting produced. They filmed it at the real Belasco Theater in New York where I saw Jackie with Margaret Colin in 1997. Of course, that's what makes Woody Allen's films special is that he always films it in New York. I don't recall him as an actor in this film. He was wise enough to pass the role over to Cusack who does a superb job playing Woody's younger self. Anyway, Tilly does a terrific job playing an annoying and terrible actress but girlfriend of a mobster. What she wants is what she usually gets. First rate cast with Chaz Palminteri who was nominated along with Tilly for supporting acting Oscars. I hope Woody Allen will finally be recognized for his genius and get top honors like the National Medal of the Arts and honored by the Kennedy Center finally for his work. Nobody does New York like Woody Allen, of course, we all would like a bit of diversity in his films.
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