Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now
Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Have To Have A Little Faith In People, 28 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Manhattan [DVD] [1979] (DVD) observes Mariel Hemingway’s (now) 18-year old student, Tracy, to Woody Allen’s 'failing’ writer, Isaac Davis, to conclude Allen’s 1979 masterpiece in what is, for me, one of cinema’s greatest endings. It’s a nice observation, as well, since Isaac (and, no doubt, co-screenwriter Allen) finally realises that (thus far, at least) Tracy has shown herself to be the most trustworthy of all his close confidants. In fact, Manhattan wears its romantic heart on its sleeve and, whilst it blends typical Allen gags (there are as many great one-liners here as in any of his films) with the more ‘sophisticated’ film-making began with Annie Hall (and continued through the likes of Crimes And Misdemeanours, Hannah And Her Sisters and Stardust Memories), for me, it is equally memorable for its many moments of poignant romance (indeed Allen puts in probably his finest all-round acting turn here).

Of course, Manhattan is a magnificent sensorial experience as well – one that can probably be at least partially appreciated by those who are not fans of 'Allen comedy’ – with Gordon Willis’ superb black-and-white cinematography (e.g. the stunning dawn shot of Isaac and Diane Keaton’s Mary Wilkie sitting on a park bench beside the Brooklyn Bridge as Someone To Watch Over Me plays in the background) and with Allen’s chosen Gershwin score (which, it could be argued, is an 'easy win’ for the film, but is nonetheless perfectly suited and, of course, exquisitely romantic). These 'technical’ elements add much to what is otherwise relatively standard Allen fare – an episodic tale of the New York 'media middle classes’, their relationships and hang-ups, but with much perceptive (and hilarious) observations on artistic ambition, neuroses, loyalty, pretence and guilt (all overlaid with Allen’s 'New York Jewish tinge’).

Acting-wise, Allen’s film is pretty much flawless. Keaton is superb as the snooty, uptight, insecure fellow writer Mary ('I’m just from Philadelphia, I believe in God’), erstwhile 'mistress’ of Isaac’s 'best friend’, Michael Murphy’s college professor, Yale Pollack, and for whom Isaac falls. Meryl Streep turns in a nice cameo as Isaac’s (second) divorced wife (and who, to her ex-‘s great embarrassment, is writing a set of 'intimate memoires’), whilst Anne Byrne is also very good in the straight role as Yale’s cuckolded wife, Emily. But the other particularly impressive turn here is that of 17-year old Hemingway as the street-smart, but vulnerable, student, Tracy – of course, as with many of Allen’s on-screen relationships, one has to suspend disbelief, but Hemingway is excellent here in this role (a role that was always likely to be a career-topping one).

There are, of course, too many great gags to list, but particularly memorable scenes (for me) include Isaac and Mary’s art gallery meeting ('negative capability’), Mary 'trashing’ Isaac’s 'heroes’ (Mahler, van Gogh, Jung, Fitzgerald, Bruce, Mailer, Mozart, Bergman), Isaac arguing with his TV production crew over 'what’s funny’, Isaac and Tracy in bed ('it sounds like a man sawing a trumpet in half’) and Isaac and Yale’s 'showdown' (framed against a prehistoric human skeleton, 'you think you’re God’, 'I gotta model myself after someone’).

I have always regarded Manhattan as Allen’s most affectionate tribute to his home city (narrowly surpassing the likes of Radio Days, Broadway Danny Rose and Play It Again Sam), a view reinforced for me by the film’s stunning opening to Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue and it is (again) the slow-build of Gershwin’s music (He Loves And She Loves, this time) which makes Isaac’s final 'last-minute dash’ such a poignant moment of cinematic brilliance. And although I know Allen himself doesn’t have much time for Manhattan, he should (perhaps) be reassured by the fact that his ambition of being remembered as a maker of (at least some) great films is, for me, firmly secured by Manhattan.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in