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A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)

PG | | Comedy | 16 July 1982 (USA)
A wacky inventor and his wife invite two other couples for a weekend party at a romantic summer house in the 1900s countryside.

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Woody Allen ... Andrew
Mia Farrow ... Ariel
José Ferrer ... Leopold (as Jose Ferrer)
Julie Hagerty ... Dulcy
Tony Roberts ... Maxwell
Mary Steenburgen ... Adrian
Adam Redfield Adam Redfield ... Student Foxx
Moishe Rosenfeld Moishe Rosenfeld ... Mr. Hayes
Timothy Jenkins ... Mr. Thomson
Michael Higgins ... Reynolds
Sol Frieder Sol Frieder ... Carstairs
Boris Zoubok Boris Zoubok ... Purvis
Thomas Barbour Thomas Barbour ... Blint
Kate McGregor-Stewart ... Mrs. Baker
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Storyline

Centred around a weekend party at the home of inventor Andrew Hobbs and his wife Adrian, attended by randy doctor Maxwell Jordan, his nurse Dulcy, renowned philosopher Dr.Leopold Sturgis and his fiancée, this is a light comedy concerning their various emotional, intellectual and sexual entanglements, loosely based on Ingmar Bergman's 'Smiles of a Summer Night' . Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Six characters in search of love [Video]

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While Tony Roberts had been in a few of Woody Allen's movies, this was the first time he was one of the main characters and not just Woody's occasional sidekick and/or straight man. See more »

Goofs

About thirteen minutes into the movie, a crew member is visible crouched by a tree, as a deer runs through the woods. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Leopold: Ghosts or little spirits or pixies, I don't believe in them. Do you Mr. Foxx?
Student Foxx: No, sir.
Leopold: You sounded, with all your metaphysical gibberish.
Student Foxx: Well, I didn't mean ghosts or spirits, professor.
Leopold: Nothing is real, but experience. That which can be touched, tasted felt, or in some scientific fashion proved. We must never substitute qualitative events that are marked by similar properties and reoccurrences for fixed substances.
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Soundtracks

A Midsummer Night's Dream
(1826)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (as Mendelssohn)
Performed by Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra
Courtesy of CBS Records
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User Reviews

 
Shakespeare and Bergman and Sprites and Spirits oh my
31 May 2005 | by canadudeSee all my reviews

When I look at his filmography on this site and count the films I consider great from the 70s till the early 90s I only stumble over two or three entries I am not fond of. Granted, some are greater than others, but Woody Allen essentially created consistently excellent films for two decades. Whether comedy or drama, whether set in New York or elsewhere, his films are not only great American films, but they belong in the international arena of film art.

Having said all that, and hopefully having disclosed my own bias in discussing the man's work, I can say without further ado that I loved "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy." It is hardly the type of Woody Allen film that would receive dozens of critical accolades and nominations (in fact it was only nominated for a Razzie), but I think that can be explained by the fact that Woody Allen set a bar of expectation for himself. When you watch "Manhattan" or "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and then this you see a change of pace, a sort of lighter tone. That does not, however, mean that this film is without its merits. Taken strictly as a film, not as a Woody Allen film, it is plain wonderful. I think that goes for most of his films (except maybe some of the more recent ones).

Allen, of course, is up to his usual tricks again - he takes a Bergman film ("Smiles of a Summer Night") and spoofs it, makes it his own and I think successfully. The atmosphere of this film is what makes it so watchable - the beautiful blend of humor, nostalgia and unfulfilled desire, which I think he perfected in "Radio Days," come through exquisitely. It's also an interesting move away from the stark atheism, or at least agnosticism of his earlier films - the presence of spirits, shadows and ghosts, things unexplained by science, unaccounted for by our sentient experience.

The most interesting aspect of it is that this mystical theme is hardly incongruous with Allen's other films, including his tragedies. Whether his films underline the hopelessness of existence (like "Interiors") or the mystical, and thus hopeful nature of human relationships, they only differ by the mood the storyteller is in when he speaks of them.

Here we have an entirely Shakespearean comedy full of criss-crossing love affairs, absurd relations, untamed desires all leading to hilarious revelations, or serious revelations under the most comic circumstances. Jose Ferrer is remarkable as Professor Leopold, a cold, atheistic intellectual, an accomplished thinker and professor. Contrary to his character, Allen bestows him with some of the funniest lines in the entire film. For example, when he realizes that his marriage to Mia Farrow's Ariel will be the end of his bachelorhood and that he is attracted to Julie Hagerty's nurse Dulcy, he attempts to compliment Dulcy over a game of chess. He says: "You have a wonderful flair for spatial relationships." These little speeches are completely in line with the comic absurdity of the whole, like Tony Robert's Maxwell, a romantic doctor who, gets shot not once, but twice in the film (once for love and once for revenge {meant for someone else}, nonetheless), or Woody Allen's stockbroker / inventor Andrew.

There is such joy in this film, such passion. Yes, maybe "Radio Days" is more articulate and personal on the subject, maybe "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of his best tragedies, "Manhattan" one of my favorite of his films along with "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Another Woman." And, while "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" is not as great, in my humble opinion, as the aforementioned films, it is still a great film, if that makes any sense.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

16 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,514,478, 18 July 1982

Gross USA:

$9,077,269

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,077,269
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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