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Stardust Memories 1980

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4.5 out of 5 stars (25) 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 16 July 2007
Main languages English
Subtitles Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, German, Spanish, Danish, Italian, French, Norwegian
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: DVD
I know -- I'm supposed to like 'Manhattan' more. I know -- this
straddles the line between homage and rip-off when it comes to
Fellini...

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.
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Format: VHS Tape
Stardust Memories was almost a nail in the coffin for Allen's career- journalists mimicked those in the film regarding who this film was about, while this would be the last film he made for United Artists (who would fold after the failure of Heaven's Gate). It seems very bitter & bleak, after the joys of Annie Hall & Manhattan- perhaps a reaction to the faulure of the Bergman-style Interiors(1978)?
Shot in black&white by Gordon Willis (The Godfather) Stardust Memories resembles Fellini's 8 1/2 - though obviously it's not close to that. Allen plays a comic-filmmaker (who could that be based on, then?) who is celebrated at a film festival one weekend, the film moving on several levels- between films he has made (one with Tony Roberts, who plays an actor here, resembles a short story of Allen's) & an 8 1/2 style dream on a train. There are women- the insane Charlotte Rampling (a similar character pops up in Husbands&Wives), the French woman (Marie-Christine Barrault) who gives some European allure to proceedings & the fan (Jessica Harper, not as barmy as in Play MIsty for Me)- who resembles too many of Woody's females (Juliette Lewis in Husbands&Wives, Dianne Wiest in Hannah, Mia Farrow in Crimes&Misdeameanours, Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan, Shelley Duvall in Annie Hall).
Allen's Sandy is unhappy about his place in 'entertainment'- a bit like his character in Manhattan (who declared 'gossip the new pornography' & left his job in TV, a bit like the character in Hannah/Sisters...)- here we have the common maladies that afflict characters in Woody Allen films. This is much more surreal & exagerrated, almost deliberately provocative- a bit like OLiver Stone's Natural Born Killers.
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