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Manhattan [DVD] 
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Woody Allen co-writes, directs and stars in this romantic comedy drama. Isaac Davis (Allen) is a twice-divorced TV comedy writer, frustrated in both career and his love life. An on-off affair with teenage drama student Tracy (Mariel Hemingway) is blighted by his anxiety about their age difference, whilst his attraction to the pretentious Mary (Diane Keaton) is complicated by the fact that she is already having an affair with his married friend Yale (Michael Murphy). Meanwhile, his lesbian ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) prepares to dish the dirt about their marriage in a forthcoming book. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Hemingway) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
Manhattan, Woody Allen's follow-up to Oscar-winning Annie Hall, is a film of many distinctions: its glorious all-Gershwin score, its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis (best-known for shooting the Godfather movies); its deeply shaded performances; its witty screenplay that marked a new level in Allen's artistic maturity; and its catalogue of Things that Make Life Worth Living. Allen's "Rhapsody in Gray" concerns, as his own character puts it, "people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more insoluble, terrifying problems about the universe". It's a romantic comedy about infidelity and betrayal, the rules of love and friendship, young girls (a radiant and sweet Mariel Hemingway) and older men (Allen), innocence, and sophistication. (a favourite phrase is used to describe a piece of sculpture at the Guggenheim: "It has a marvellous kind of negative capability".) The film's themes can be summed up in two key lines: "I can't believe you met somebody you like better than me", and "It's very important to have some kind of personal integrity". OK, so they may not sound like such sparkling snatches of brilliant dialogue, but Manhattan puts those ideas across with such emotion that you feel an ache in your heart. --Jim Emerson
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Visually stunning, it's black and white photography captures a romantic (if not wholly romanticised) vision of New York's Manhattan; It perhaps is the film that best encapsulates Allen's self-effacing, gently satirical portrayal of the white, middle-class creative community and it's milieu. It's funny, clever and engaging, though I remember it came in for criticism at the time of it's release over the age difference between Allen's character and his girlfriend, played by Mariel Hemingway.
Combined with the evocative soundtrack of George Gershwin`s music this is one of Allen's best movies – if not THE best; that's for you to decide.
Like all Woody Allen DVDs there are no extras other than the trailer; the quality of the transfer is showing it's age, it could do with a new digital transfer – but it remains quite acceptable, even on a large-screen TV.
soundtrack. Woody Allen was in great form and the dialogue was classic knock about with a serious note
here and there. The depiction of the relationships was funny and well observed. The disc was
in great condition and the film CD good value. Excellent
It’s the late seventies. Isaac (Woody Allen), a middle-aged television writer based in Manhattan, is having a fling with a seventeen year old girl. When he falls for his married friend’s girlfriend (Diane Keaton), because opposites attract, Isaac’s life becomes even more neurotic.
Allen and Marshall Brickman’s script snaps with terrific one-liners shared between the cast, yet it is the pulling and pushing of relationships that makes Manhattan a triumph. This is Allen at his comedic best. Manhattan should be the target romantic comedies aim to surpass. Two nice Woody Allen companion pieces to this film are Annie Hall (1977) or Midnight in Paris (2011), both funny, character driven and sentimentalises the cities they are set in. The cherry on this delicious cake is Gordon Willis’s cinematography, which illuminates every inch of New York in a glowing black and white, creating romance in people, parks, shops, streets and even traffic.
I thoroughly enjoyed Manhattan and would recommend it for that magical time between Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening.
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