Movie Diary 1/22/2023

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (Woody Allen, Senkichi Tanaguchi, 1966). Quite a bit of blissful silliness, plus padding. The most surprising thing, seeing it again after many years, is how deliberate the pace is; any modern sitcom moves so much quicker. The sexism of the era is of course thick.

Take the Money and Run (Allen, 1969). The Woodman’s first real directing credit, full of sight gags and physical humor. There’s a full-program interview with Allen on the Dick Cavett show circa 1971, and he says there that he wanted his first movies to look “sloppy,” as though anything could happen, and he certainly gets that knockabout quality here. The quasi-mockumentary set-up looks ahead of its time, from our perspective. The gaggery is indelible, even if uneven, and the scenes with Janet Margolin are weirdly sincere, considering the goofy surroundings.

Play It Again, Sam (Herbert Ross, 1972). Ross’s direction has a “let’s liven this up” tendency that I don’t care for, but there are so many funny things in the movie it hardly matters. The scene with the nihilistic woman in the art museum remains a signature Allen bit, one of his greatest.


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