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Deconstructing Harry (1997)

R | | Comedy | 2 January 1998 (USA)
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 & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Janet (as Stephanie Roth)
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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 »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Meanest Man in the World  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$356,476 (USA) (12 December 1997)

Gross:

$10,569,071 (USA) (6 March 1998)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Mono)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

In Harry's line "I once almost ran over a book critic..." the word "book" doesn't match his lips; "book" is dubbed over what looks to be "film." See more »

Quotes

Lucy: You schmuck, you bastard. I'd like to cut your fuckin' head off.
Harry Block: You're upset, right?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In the Shadow of Hollywood (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Twisted
(1952)
Music by Wardell Gray
Lyrics by Annie Ross
Performed by Annie Ross
Courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Allen at his best
22 August 1999 | by (Langley) – See all my reviews

Regardless of what Woody Allen may do in real life, he surely shines through his films. Just like the main character in this film who can't seem to get personal matters resolved, Allen faces the same predicament each day. He lets his films do the talking and stays away from the limelight. Deconstructing Harry does him justice in a few sequences as to what he feels and how the media treats him.

This film showcases some of Allen's better quirks when it comes to storywriting and directing. The much used "jump cut" effect helps to create a world that is disjointed from all else. When things are going fine, there are no jump cuts. However when things are less than opportune jump cuts add confusion to the scene and are used more often as the tension increases. The "out of focus" effect is the first of its kind and is very funny. The Robin Williams cameo didn't have much meaning, but his scene was one of the funniest due to him losing his touch. The same effect is used on Allen himself later in the film in another hillarious scene.

The storyline has many layers and isn't at all confusing (as others may have you believe) to the viewer. The use of actors portraying actors in this film is pure Allen genius and is another way that this film differs itself from the crowd. It is not so much that one follows along to see what happens to Harry, but rather to see what is going to happen next. When Allen needs an entourage to go to his alma mater honouring, he ends up taking a very unlikely group. The humour is at times crude and pokes fun at his usual groups (ie - ultraorthodox jews, hookers, WASP's and just about everyone else).

Allen uses his interesting techniques and smart plot to make this such a good film. One can only wonder how he always gets the foxes. At least he got Billy Crystal to play the devil. How fitting.

8/10 stars.


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