Stardust Memories 1980

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(22) IMDb 7.5/10
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Sandy Bates is a comic filmmaker who no longer feels funny. When he ventures into serious cinema for a new challenge, he is not well received by the critics or the public, and he becomes depressed. Spending a weekend at Stardust Hotel during a retrospective showing of his films, Sandy reflects upon his life, art and relationships with three contrastingly different women: the beautiful but neurotic Dorrie, sensitive and talented violinist Daisy, and earthy mature Isobel.

Starring:
Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 25 minutes
Starring Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Marie-Christine Barrault, Jessica Harper, Tony Roberts
Director Woody Allen
Genres Comedy, Drama
Studio MGM
Rental release Limited availability
Main languages English
Subtitles Finnish, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
The Woodmeister himself has declared Stardust Memories one of his best movies, and I have to agree with the funny old ferret. Allen's early career consisted of laugh-a-minute slapstick comedies, which were wonderful (especially Love & Death in 1975); from Manhattan(1979) onwards he toned everything down a bit, replacing the slapstick with human drama, although always leaving in the priceless oneliners. I feel that Stardust Memories is his best film because it manages to meld the comedy and drama together better than all of his other attempts. (I'm not a big fan of Manhattan, I think it's dull; Crimes & Misdemeanors is perhaps his second-best movie-wovie.) There's some out-and-out hilarious comedy, particularly in the scenes that show clip's from the Allen character's early films, and the drama is complex and moving. There are moments of bad taste, and the film sometimes seems geared to patronise Allen's fans, but these are brave moves, and make it all the more memorable. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, brilliantly written, astoundingly funny, powerfully touching, insanely insane, comically surreal, slyly self-referential, overtly recommendable to friends and family, oven-fresh and microwave-compatible.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Film Buff on 8 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stardust Memories (1980) for me is one of Woody Allen's very best films even though it doesn't seem to have dazzled critics in the same way as Manhatten or Annie Hall. The humor is bitter - verging on sour - as we chart the visit of film director Sandy Bates (Woody himself) to a festival held in his honor. Everyone congratulates him on his previous funny movies that now he'd rather forget, intent as he is on making 'serious' films. At this stage of his career Woody had had enough of the celebrity side of the film business and used the film to vent his bile on all his pet hates. In between the sycophants and fan geeks who latch on to him like leeches, Woody takes us through the women of his life, most significantly the manic depressive Dorrie (a superbly neurotic Charlotte Rampling), his current mistress, Isobel (a sexy and very feminine Marie-Christine Barrault) and the inevitable young new attraction, Daisy (Jessica Harper). His perceptions are by turn witty, poignant, bitter-sweet and revealing about the mechanisms that lie behind this nebbish schlmiel from the Bronx. His ripping-off of 8 1/2 enraged the Fellini family at the time, but it didn't stop Woody from later ripping off La Strada for Sweet and Lowdown as well! Also, there is a fair bit of borrowing from Ingmar Bergman, most notably in the 2 minute close up jump-cut feast on Dorrie's face. At the time many attacked Woody's stealing from his favorite European directors. Looking back after 30 years or so however and his 'stealing' now seems vindicated because he still managed to turn his films into something both honest to himself and uniquely American. He had spent much of the early 70s churning out 'funnies' such as Sleeper, Bananas and Love and Death.Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Deej on 13 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
A film presumed autobiographical by many and, therefore, considered insulting by some. When Allen's character becomes disillusioned and unhappy with the limitations imposed upon him by his audience, his financers and his life, he seems to grow resentful and begin to attack.

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!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colin W on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of Woody Allen's best films. Shot in black and white after the highly rated Manhatten, this film seems to have been underrated and neglected. In fact, it has an excellent script and great cast. Both funny and serious by turns, the film explores the dilemmas and temptations facing a popular and successful artist. The artist in question is undoubtedly Woody Allen himself, by another name. Perhaps this self-reference caused critics and audiences to baulk at the time. Influences include Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini but the film is typically Woody with some hilarious throw-away lines. Charlotte Rampling is terrific as the unstable love interest but there are other possible lovers, from casual to serious. The opening sequence (which includes a brief glimpse of Sharon Stone) is incredibly funny summing up feelings which we all have sometimes.
Highly recommended to everyone but especially to Woody Allen fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I put off seeing this for years. My mother introduced me to Woody Allen and always insisted Stardust Memories was a disappointing film. Well, I think it's time she watched it again.

The flipside of Manhattan (1979), Stardust Memories (1980) is another b/w movie, sort of an arthouse Sullivans Travels, in so far as the director character wants to switch from comedy to more serious fare. I think it is Woody's most successful amalgamation of Bergman's influence with his own innate comedic flare. Actually, Annie Hall is a better comparison than Manhattan because once again Woody's protagonist is reflecting on a past love affair, whilst being overwhelmed by the attentions of admirers at a festival of his films. The scattergun questions and comments thrust at and around him by his fans and critics are hilariously perceptive, and the flights of fancy beautifully integrated and dovetailed. Personally, I think the film might be just a fraction too long - even at 85mins - but there's so much to laugh at, admire and enjoy, it hardly matters. I guess, it's a summation of his work from the 1970s, before the new period with Mia Farrow and Allen's increasing delight in nostalgia.

Charlotte Rampling is splendid as Sandy's (Allen) lost love - the scene where they break up is very cleverly done. There's also a lovely cut away from a dialogue with space aliens (you'll see) to the image of lots of air balloons coming in to land. You can see how Allen must have caught his target audience off guard with the disorientating opening scene, the coda of Sandy's new film which the studio execs loathe. Truth is, it's very poetic, expertly done, even as a parody, and in true Woody Allen fashion, intellectual pretension is undercut by humour immediately.

Sandy may want to confront life's tragedy, but Stardust Memories is a comedy with its teeth bared. You'll enjoy it, a masterpiece, a world away from some of the recent euro stinkers.
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