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.
Larry and Carol are fairly normal New Yorkers who have sent their son off to college. They meet an elderly couple down the hall and later in the week find that the wife has suddenly died. Carol becomes suspicious of Paul who seems to be too cheerful and too ready to move on. She begins her investigation. Larry insists she is becoming too fixated on their neighbor as all of the irregularities seem to have simple non-homicidal explanations. Ted, a recently divorced friend helps her investigation and Larry begins to become jealous of their relationship and agrees to help her.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
At their neighbors' house, Carol prepares coffee in the kitchen. She makes filter coffee and puts a can of water under the filter. You have to pour water in the machine to warm it up and then go through the filter. The can will be filled with coffee in the end. See more »
C'mon, you promised to sit through the hockey game without being bored,
I know, honey, I promised.
and I'll sit through the Wagner opera with you next week.
I already bought the earplugs.
Yeah, well, with your eyesight I'm surprised you can see the puck. Wow, yay, come on.
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Leave it to Woody Allen to create interesting characters and funny dialogue. He plays Larry Lipton, a New York City book editor, whose wife Carol (Diane Keaton) becomes convinced that one of their apartment neighbors is a murderer. Half the enjoyment of this film is watching, and listening to, neurotic Larry as he reacts to his wife's excellent sleuthing adventure. She and Larry's friend Ted (Alan Alda) plot strategy on how to catch the presumed murderer, much to the chagrin of Larry.
Some of the dialogue is amusing, like when Carol insists that Larry accompany her to the suspects' apartment for some serious nosing around. Says Larry: "I can't relax; I'm in a strange man's apartment in my T-shirt and pajamas".
My impression is that at least some of the dialogue is semi-improvised. Whatever the dialogue method, the result is back and forth banter that sounds highly natural and convincing. When you combine this naturalistic style of talk with terrific performances by Allen, Keaton, Alda, and several other actors, the time flies by, and you're sorry when the film ends.
The murder "mystery" element isn't really believable. But that's okay, since it's strictly ancillary to the characterizations and the humorous talk. Even so, there is indeed a puzzle that will be solved by the film's end.
Editing and cinematography are fine. Background music features 1930's and 40's pop songs. With all the NYC street scenes, I even learned what New Yorkers mean when they refer to a "crosstown bus".
Normally, I don't care for talky films. But the dialogue here is so clever that the cinematic experience is pleasant despite a talk heavy script. "Manhattan Murder Mystery" provides a lot of enjoyment, at the expense of a neurotic character whose life is turned into a fun house of comically scary and startling events.
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