A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy [DVD]
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A Woody Allen turn-of-the-century tale of love and lust. Three couples spend a 'quiet' weekend together to celebrate one of their weddings. Inventor Andrew (Woody Allen) and Adrian are the hosts, while his cousin Dr Leopold has arrived to marry his fiancée Ariel (Mia Farrow). However, Andrew begins to lust after Ariel, as does Dr Maxwell Jordan (Tony Roberts), who has brought along his nurse, Dulcy. There follows a multitude of seductions and sexual misadventures with the bride and groom saying 'I do' to everyone but each other.
Woody Allen's 1982 homage to Bergman and Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is a delight from start to finish and must rate as one of his most joyous films. The period setting--Edwardian up state New York--gives the whole thing a misty, elegiac quality.
Part Midsummer Night's Dream (the magic supplied by visions through a spirit glass) and part Smiles of a Summer Night (Bergman's source material provides the basic plot and ensuing couplings), it's a gentle satire on male sexuality and frustration. Allen handles the angst with the lightest of touches. He plays a Wall Street broker who spends his holidays inventing flying machines (they work, with telling consequences). He and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) are increasingly depressed by their ailing sex life. Cue the arrival of weekend guests: crusty academic (Jose Ferrer) and beautiful blue-stocking fiancée previously in love with Allen (Mia Farrow, of course); and insatiable doctor (Tony Roberts) with his latest squeeze, a nurse (the excellent Julie Hagerty). Eighty minutes of unravelling, discovery and renewal follow, accompanied by a Mendelssohn sound track. This is one of Allen's most treasurable pictures.
On the DVD: A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is presented in widescreen that recaptures the pleasure which greeted the setting of this most pastoral of Allen's films on its first release; it really does glow with summery light. The standard stereo soundtrack is perfectly acceptable. Extras include the original theatrical trailer and multiple language soundtracks.--Piers Ford
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Top Customer Reviews
The basic story is simple. Leopold (Jose Ferrer-a wonderful performance), a pompous philosophy professor from middle Europe visits Andrew's (Allen) and his wife's house for the last day of his bacherlorhood with his attractive and very much younger wife-to-be Ariel (Mia Farrow). Andrew's friend, the lascivious doctor Maxwell (Tony Roberts) joins them with his latest aquisition Dulcy (Julie Hagerty). None of these relationships is working; there is a great deal of soul searching, arguing, seductions...the normal Allen fayre. At first this seems quite bizarre, as we are so used to seeing this played out against a New York background; it seems alien in this lush rural setting. Allen is, mysteriously, both a Wall Street banker and an eccentric inventor (somewhat like Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). His inventions include an early flying machine which plays its part in one attempted seduction. All this is enough to unsettle the viewer as you're not quite sure what genre this is-comedy, romance,fantasy, drama.
But if you stay with the film long enough, the mind spends less time juggling with the surface matter and starts to be seduced by the atmosphere. There is at the heart of this film the issue of life being what we make of it; the cold professor gradually realises that there may be more to life than what science alone can explain.Read more ›
Not what you'd expect from the title
Still in Allen's period of obsessing about NYC neurotics,but a satire ( albeit with little bite ) rather than a rom-com
Obviously a homage to Bergman it does assume some literacy of its viewers,to the extent that in parts Allen is more interested in demonstrating his cleverness and wit than entertaining the audience or maintaining a cogent storyline - at times it feels as if Stephen Fry had written the screenplay
Some interesting additions to his usual ensemble
Allen's setting of the film in the early 20th century allows viewers to suspend their collective disbelief. The guests, who arrive for their country weekend in jaunty roadsters, are clad in head-to-toe dusters; the women with their long wasp-waisted skirts and lacy blouses look as if they have stepped out of a Gibson Girl calendar. Adrian's repression, in fact, is emphasised by her tightly-strung corset, and the trouble in her marriage to Andrew is made evident by the camera's focus not on husband and wife but on their mirrored image on the wall of their empty bedroom, with its striped wallpaper and old-fashioned framed sentimental prints of blissful couples.
Andrew and Adrian's white wooden Victorian gingerbread house is set in a New York meadow surrounded by lush woodlands in which the light dances as it filters through the leaves, constantly altering our perspective.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Woody Allen - love him or hate. I love the old slapstick Woody, not too keen on the modern Woody and this is a mix of both. Read morePublished 5 months ago by cb
Perhaps not Woody's greatest film but a pleasurable experience all the same.Published 9 months ago by ANTHONY PLATTEN
This film stands out as a reminder that after all this time, iis as fresh and hilarious as it was when made. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rainbowchaser
Don’t be put off by the title there is no nudity in this film at all. There are adult themes of course; it’s a 15. Read morePublished 21 months ago by fastforwardfan
i thoroughly recommend this firm as a first rate source of dvd s at a very fair and competitive pricePublished on 2 May 2014 by A. E. Nicholson
I love this film, such a lovely setting very tranquil and funny love woody allen films and he always picks grt actors to surround himPublished on 6 Aug. 2013 by carol diett
I absolutely adore this film: beautifully filmed, beautifully acted, with beautiful landscapes and costumes and music, a storyline that's just wonderful (apparently an homage to... Read morePublished on 3 Sept. 2012 by Sebastian Palmer
I recently saw this mid-eighties Allen masterpiece in the cinema and was so amazed by how funny it was I bought the DVD to recapture the experience. Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2012 by schumann_bg
A cute and charming romp -- a group of friends in the early 20th century
get caught up in a weekend of love and sex in the country. Read more