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Deconstructing Harry (1997)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 30,081 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 125 user | 103 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Stephanie Roth Haberle ...
Janet (as Stephanie Roth)
Dan Frazer ...
Joel Leffert ...
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...
Ken
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Yankee Announcer (voice)
Jane Hoffman ...
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Annette Arnold ...
Frederick Rolf ...
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Lortensia Hayes ...
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Storyline

Harry Block is a well-regarded novelist whose tendency to thinly-veil his own experiences in his work, as well as his un-apologetic attitude and his proclivity for pills and whores, has left him with three ex-wives that hate him. As he is about to be honored for his writing by the college that expelled him, he faces writer's block and the impending marriage of his latest flame to a writer friend. As scenes from his stories and novels pass and interact with him, Harry faces the people whose lives he has affected - wives, lovers, his son, his sister. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Harry Block has written a best seller... bout his best friends... he revealed their deepest secrets... and they're not pleased... now Harry Block is going to Hell... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Meanest Man in the World  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

DEM 948,872 (Germany) (22 May 1998)

Gross:

DEM 1,795,078 (Germany) (29 May 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Mono)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Albert Brooks was the last actor to be offered the role of Harry. In an interview with Playboy magazine, he stated that he received a nice letter from Woody Allen offering him the role. Brooks responded, "It was insane that [Allen] didn't do it himself." Apparently, Woody took his advice. See more »

Quotes

Harry Block: Six shrinks later, three wives down the line, and I still can't get my life together.
See more »

Connections

References Alice (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)
(1936)
Written by Louis Prima
Performed by Benny Goodman
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Vulgar, funny, honest, sad, a little bizarre
3 March 1999 | by (Eastbourne, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Woody bares his soul--again--and if the introspective vision of the sad clown (growing old) isn't what you're expecting, the film is likely to be a disappointment. The film is funny, of course, and vulgar (as most Allen movies are), but it's also bitter and cynical, and rather sad.

The jerky jump-cuts might be a stylized editing cover-up for jumping from take to take to utilise the best performances of a pantheon of actors, or they might be planned...I don't know. I had to see a few of them before I settled into accepting them as "the style", but I decided they work in this film.

Other "user comments" complain about Woody and the sexy young women. That bothers me in some films, but not here. Here it's part of Harry's character--part of Woody's "character"--and is clearly part of his problem.

I think this is an honest film, a sad and revealing film about one of the most clever and creative writers in America. It's funny, it's witty, and it's also depressing. It has moments of pure, laugh-out-loud humour (eg. the elevator going down to the bottom floor of hell; Harry arriving at the honouring ceremony with a dead body, a prostitute, and his "kidnapped" son in the car), but underneath it's the story of a man who cannot function happily in real life, only in the fictions he creates. Although fantasy plays a major role in the story, the story is not a fantasy. The parallels between Allen himself and the character and plot he's created here are obvious.

I enjoyed watching this video, and would recommend it-- selectively--to friends. If you like the Allen sense of humour, want to see a fairly unusual editing style used effectively, want to see some superb acting cameos by some very talented actors, or have an interest in the torments of a neurotic middle-aged genius and how they might be revealed on film, then you'll like this movie. If this doesn't sound like your kind of thing, watch something else.


26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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