Iconic writer, director, actor, comedian and musician Woody Allen allowed his life and creative process to be documented on-camera for the first time. With this unprecedented access, Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert B. Weide followed the notoriously private film legend over a year and a half to create the ultimate film biography. "Woody Allen: A Documentary" chronicles Allen's career - from teen writer to Sid Caesar's TV scribe, from stand-up comedian to award-winning writer-director averaging one film-per-year for more than 40 years. Exploring Allen's writing habits, casting, directing, and relationship with his actors first-hand, new interviews with A-listers, writing partners, family and friends provide insight and backstory to the usually inscrutable filmmaker. Written by
This documentary may not go too far below the surface of Woody Allen's persona but for fans of his films it offers a lot to enjoy. It looks at his career from his earliest days as a joke writer via stand-up comedian on to his film career up until his biggest commercial success Midnight in Paris. It was interesting to see the young Allen, who looked surprisingly ungeeky it has to be said. And it was good to see the path that led to his talents ending up in cinema. But the real pleasure of this documentary is in simply revisiting so many of his films. Virtually all of his movies from the period that covers Take the Money and Run to Shadows and Fog are represented with clips. While, several other key movies after this are featured too, although perhaps though it would have been better if more of his unsuccessful films were shown as a point of comparison. But time restraints do limit things I guess I saw the shorter theatrical cut and it was really just fun revisiting the good ones to be honest.
For the reasons mentioned above, it would probably be fair to say that this is a documentary primarily aimed at people who are Allen fans to begin with. The wealth of well-chosen clips really is very good, while the selection of talking heads add good value. It's basically a pure celebration of Allen's work and it does well to show the sheer volume of quality he has produced over the years. Very enjoyable.
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