Forty-two year old Isaac Davis has a romanticized view of his hometown, New York City, most specifically Manhattan, as channeled through the lead character in the first book he is writing, despite his own Manhattan-based life being more of a tragicomedy. He has just quit his job as a hack writer for a bad television comedy, he, beyond the ten second rush of endorphins during the actual act of quitting, now regretting the decision, especially as he isn't sure he can live off his book writing career. He is paying two alimonies, his second ex-wife, Jill Davis, a lesbian, who is writing her own tell-all book of their acrimonious split. The one somewhat positive aspect of his life is that he is dating a young woman named Tracy, although she is only seventeen and still in high school. Largely because of their differences a big part of which is due to their ages, he does not see a long term future with her. His life has the potential to be even more tragicomical when he meets journalist Mary...Written by
During the fireworks in the opening sequence the screen goes black several times - but not completely: Two bright circles - glasses - can be seen as a reflection (probably because the sequence was filmed from behind a window) and there is also a very slight after-image of the person wearing the glasses who might even be the director. See more »
[music: the opening of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Voiceover]
Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over.
Chapter One: He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on...
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One of the very few Woody Allen films to not have traditional opening credits, save the production company bumper (United Artists), and the film title MANHATTAN is seen as a long vertical flashing bright neon sign, located on the side of a New York City building, and is seen for under seven seconds just before Woody Allen narrates his first line. See more »
Woody Allen has been churning out mediocre films for so long now that it's easy to forget how good some of his older films were. "Manhattan" is the product of Allen's "mature" 1970s phase, the phase that also produced "Annie Hall" and "Interiors," and it's a wonderful film. It's not the plot that makes it singular -- it's typical upper-crust New York Allen, full of neurotic people in therapy cheating on one another and making mistake after mistake in their pursuit of what they think will make them happy. No, what makes "Manhattan" so effective is its style. Filmed in black and white (because, as Allen's character says in an opening voice over, New York is a city that has always and will always exist in black and white), the film is a love letter to NYC, and it suggests that the neuroses that fill its denizens are as much a part of the city's character as its architecture, culture and diversity. I would instantly be annoyed by the people that populate Allen's films if I met them in any other context. As it is, I can't imagine any Allen film (at least not one set in New York) without them.
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