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Stardust Memories [DVD]
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Woody Allen wrote, directed and starred in this film about a comic film-maker who no longer considers himself funny. He decides to move into serious film-making, but his efforts are poorly received by critics and public alike. He withdraws to the Stardust Hotel, where a retrospective of his work is being run, and ends up reflecting on his life, his loves and his art.
"Doesn't he know he's got the greatest gift anyone can have, the gift of laughter?" Woody Allen stars as filmmaker Sandy Bates, who, like John Sullivan in Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels, no longer wants to make comedies. As studio executives threaten to wrest control of his latest film, he reluctantly attends a weekend film-culture festival in his honour, where he is besieged by journalists ("I'm doing a piece on the shallow indifference of celebrities"), groupies ("I drove all the way from Bridgeport to make it with you"), and persistent oddballs ("Can I talk to you about my idea I have for a movie? It's a comedy based on the whole Guyana mass suicide").
After the exhilarating Manhattan, Stardust Memories was a dramatic departure that threw critics and fans for an outraged loop. But out of all of Allen's films, it is perhaps the one most ripe for rediscovery. It poses the same dilemma Stephen King would later tackle in Misery: What happens when a popular artist is held captive by an adoring audience that doesn't want him to change? The answer may come from an extraterrestrial, who in one of the many fantasy sequences advises the comedian, "You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes."
The film is impeccably cast with Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, and Marie-Christine Barrault (of Cousin/Cousine) as the three women in Sandy's life. There are also choice bits by Sharon Stone as a fantasy woman on a train, Daniel Stern as an aspiring actor, Louise Lasser as Sandy's overwhelmed secretary, Laraine Newman as an unimpressed studio executive, and Tony Roberts as Tony Roberts. My own aunt, Victoria Zussin, utters the film's most famous line as the patron who tells Sandy she loves his movies, especially "your early funny ones." --Donald Liebenson
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Top Customer Reviews
straddles the line between homage and rip-off when it comes to
But it's so physically beautiful, and so full of unforgettable moments
of humor and heartbreak, that I can watch it over and over and just see
more and more in it. It's an odd, wonderful mix of sad, angry, surreal
and very funny. It's a chilling, hysterical look at the emptiness
of being famous, at what it means to not trust your own worth, what it
means to be scared of happiness.
The jump cut sequence with Charlotte Rampling is one of the best, most
incisive pieces of film-making I've ever seen. Period.
For me, it's a tragically underrated film. I'm thrilled to see it
getting support here. I guess it can be validly criticized, but my
emotional reaction to the nit-picking is 'who cares?' This is brave,
unique, special film-making in a world with far too little.
PS Keep your eyes peeled for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it from a young Sharon Stone at the beginning. The old dear keeps her legs close together.
Taken at face value, this is a comedy of grotesques: it's funny, desperate, purposely incoherent and confused. It's made that way, I imagine, to show the protagonist's state of mind: much of the film actually takes part therein. This film is a perfect release for DVD; the black and white photography is best seen 'sharp' and, as I say, it's the kind of movie better seen again. I started to like it the second time I saw it; now - I love it!
Highly recommended to everyone but especially to Woody Allen fans.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I usually love Woody Allen but this film has no comedy and is pretty depressing.Published 9 months ago by Montague Barber
This is one of Woody’s more complicated movies and whilst quite stunning to look at and full of his usual wit; it is not easy to follow. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Thespionic
Great comic moments as always with Woody Allen films, but with a serious theme. Jaded director, fed up just making funny films, and dealing with fame, recalls past and present... Read morePublished 15 months ago by fastforwardfan
Awesome film, I really enjoyed it. Quick delivery and the item was in perfect condition.Published 16 months ago by V. streymoy
A much underrated Woody Allen. Very harsh and tough but with a sense of himself that is quite astounding. Possibly his truest film and his most misunderstood. Read morePublished 18 months ago by HSJ Foster
I recently watched & enjoyed Match Point, a Woody Allen film which i was inicially put off seeing due to the negative reviews. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mr. E. A. Dobson
In a strange way this is a precursor to Woody Allen's real life. I found his constant hitting on women boring and stalkerish. A bit weird.Published on 31 Jan. 2014 by lovebooks