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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(containing "hall"). See all 23 reviews
on 26 September 2016
Not quite sure why Amazon are saying this set won't be released until Oct 3rd 2016 as I picked it up from HMV today. Monday 26th Sep. It's a great set. My only gripe is that Annie Hall is not an Arrow Academy release but the previous MGM Blu-Ray release in an Arrow Academy sleeve. So I'm now expecting Manhattan to be the same in volume 2. I would have given this set 5 stars except for this annoyance.
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on 11 December 2016
You either are, or are not, a Woody Allen fan. I am. I know and respect many people who are not. And many more who are. If you don't know Woody Allen films then this collection is a good introductory way to get started on what for me has been virtually a lifetime's love affair with his work.

Before I get going, I should say that there really is such a thing as a Woody Allen film - aside from the fact that Woody Allen himself is in many of them and that he had long-running collaborative relationships with many of the key creative contributors (Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, Susan E. Morse, Gordon Willis etc), all of his films have a certain feeling of warm cynicism and healthy scepticism about the nobility of the human condition. They are also, almost always, very funny comedies.

This collection of his films, from the end of the seventies through the first half of the eighties, includes one of his two masterpieces. 'Manhattan' was made shortly after his other great film, 'Annie Hall', and is a skillful coalescence of his script, his performance, the music of George Gershwin and the cinematography of Gordon Willis ('The Godfather').

'Stardust Memories' was the first of several films he made about show business and was loosely based on Fellini's '8 and a half' and of which it is a parody. The other two show biz movies in this collection are 'The Broadway Danny Rose' where he plays a New York showbiz agent and 'The Purple Rose of Cairo'.

Both 'Zelig' and 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' are technically interesting films combining the polished craft skills from his earlier films together with the sophisticated post-production techniques that were emerging in the eighties.

In many ways the films in this collection represent a kind of a golden age in Woody Allen's immensely long film-making career. Unlike most film collections, where there are often a couple of duds included to make up the numbers, all six of these films are fine standalone motion pictures.

Either side of the millennium, Allen's career went into a bit of a relative decline, only to re-emerge in the last half dozen years or so with a string of great films. Here I'm thinking in particular of 'Midnight in Paris' (Owen Wilson) and 'Blue Jasmine' (Cate Blanchett), both of which won Academy awards.

So if you find yourself enjoying the films in this collection, you are certain to find many others elsewhere in his filmography (he made way over 50 films) that you'll also appreciate. 5 stars.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 August 2008
This is a marvellous boxed set. Arguably the three best Woody Allen films money can buy. These still have the great one liners like his earlier 'funny' ones. However all three films in this set have considerably more emotional depth than say Sleeper or Love and Death.

Its very hard to seperate these films, but if I had to only pick one it would be Manhattan. Its as near a perfect film as I've seen. Both brilliantly written and photographed with a marvellous soundtrack of Gershwin music. However if I was writing this review on another day I might well pick Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters instead. Choosing between these films is very difficult, which is what makes this set such a great buy.

Sadly none of Woody Allens best films have extras on them (yet). So by buying this set you are losing nothing. The individual films are in the slim DVD cases and this represents great value for money.
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on 6 September 2016
Woody Allen: Six Films 1971 – 1978, Arrow Academy Blu-ray Review, contains Bananas (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), Annie Hall (1977), Interiors (1978) with 100 page hardback book.

The emergence of Woody Allen’s early material on Blu-ray has been somewhat sketchy, especially in the UK. So for that reason alone, the release of Woody Allen: Six Films 1971 – 1978 is certainly a most welcome collection. The early to mid-70s of course saw Allen arguably at his most comedic, slapstick best. Arrow’s box set features Allen’s early output specifically for United Artists and they’re pretty much considered the classics of his starring roles – perhaps with the exception of Play it again Sam (1972) which Allen made for Paramount.

In Bananas, Allen stars as bumbling New Yorker Fielding Mellish who, after being dumped by his activist girlfriend, travels to a tiny Latin American nation and becomes involved in its latest rebellion. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) is loosely based on Dr. David Reuben's book of the same name. The film consists of a series of seven vignettes with Allen appearing in four of the stories. The late great Gene Wilder also appears in the memorable sketch ‘What Is Sodomy?’ playing Dr. Ross who inadvertently falls in love with a sheep named Daisy. Sleeper sees Allen as health food store owner Miles Monroe who is who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200 years later in an ineptly led police state. In Love and Death Allen stars as Boris Grushenko, a coward and pacifist scholar, who is forced to enlist in the Russian Army during the Napoleonic wars. The film reunited Allen with his Sleeper co-star Diane Keaton and boasts some nice production values, including the use of Prokofiev’s music which adds to the Russian flavour rather perfectly. Annie Hall is a beautifully crafted romantic comedy starring both Allen and Keaton. The film opened to worldwide critical acclaim and picked up the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also collected Oscars in three other categories: two for Allen (Best Director and, with Marshall Brickman, Best Original Screenplay), and Keaton for Best Actress. Finally, there is Interiors a serious drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. Often described as his Bergmanesque film, Interiors is an extremely bleak and sombre film. The performances are quite faultless, however its look, its subject matter and overall style, (depending upon your tastes) are hard work and at times the pace is tediously slow.

In terms of quality, early films such as Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex and Sleeper have all had a fairly grainy look to them. However, Arrow’s Blu-ray’s show a significant improvement over previous DVD releases; there is still a degree of natural grain while colours and blacks look perfectly normal and accurately graded. Later films such as Love and Death are more vividly defined, which suites the location work and the period setting. Interiors is also a very nice smooth transfer, regardless of the bleak use of pastel colours in both set and costume design. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for Annie Hall, as this film was rather curiously left absent from the review discs.

Arrow’s box set does contain a 100 page hardback book featuring new and archival writing on all the films by Woody Allen, Michael Brooke, Johnny Mains, Kat Ellinger, John Leman Riley, Hannah Hamad and Brad Stevens. However, the actual discs are sadly stripped down to an absolute ‘bare bones’ standard. Of the five films received for review purposes, bonus material consists simply of the film’s original theatrical trailer. Unfortunately, it is widely rumoured that Woody Allen is not a great supporter of supplementary material, but it would had been nice to call in a few Allen aficionados to perhaps produce a few retrospective featurettes or perhaps even some form of commentary. Whether or not such material has to be given the green light by Allen is something I can’t be sure of? Personally, I think it would had been great if Arrow had negotiated in obtaining the rights for ‘Woody Allen: Love, Death, Sex and Matters Arising . . .’ a superb BBC documentary presented by Christopher Frayling which was broadcast on British television in or around 1987. As a career overview, I believe this would had proven ideal and fit perfectly alongside the movies as an important bonus feature.
Overall, it’s a fine collection of movies. However, I can’t help thinking how much more appealing the collection would prove, had the set extended its dateline by another year to 1979 and perhaps included Manhattan over Interiors? Now that would be some set…

Region B, Rating 18, Cat No FCD1278, Duration 527 minutes, Language English, Subtitles English SDH, Aspect Ration 1.85:1, Audio Mono PCM, Discs: 6, Colour/BW.
Darren Allison – Cinema Retro Magazine
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on 28 June 2010
While perhaps this 'middle' collection of Woody Allen's films is a tiny touch more inconsistent than the first, it's still a remarkable collection of important films by one of our best filmmakers. My individual thoughts, in chronological order (Note - I use a 4 star system);

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) *** The earliest, and for me, the weakest of the group, though far from 'bad'. 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. Certainly enjoyable, if not really much more. Gordon Willis's photography is nowhere near as amazing as his earlier collaborations with Woody, and the film doesn't have any wildly funny moments. But the writing is witty, and the acting solid if not triumphant. It just doesn't feel like a Woody Allen film somehow. More like a nice, solid, unassuming French farce. That's not a bad thing, and this film is still better than 99% of what comes out of Hollywood, with a sweeter, more upbeat tone than usual for Allen. It's just coming on the heels of masterpieces like 'Annie Hall', 'Manhattan', and 'Stardust Memories', and just before other great films like 'Zelig' 'Hannah and Her Sisters', and 'Purple Rose of Cairo', it can't help but pale a bit in comparison.

Zelig (1983)**** Amazing technically, with a lot to say about society, conformity, and how we see ourselves. This brilliantly made mock documentary about a 'human chameleon' in the 1920s and 30s who unconsciously changes his appearance in a desperate attempt to fit in and be liked, is hilarious and heartbreaking, often at the same time. Some of the visual effects are still astounding by modern standards. And Allen gives a performance that is surprisingly subtle. There are a few slow moments, and a few jokes feel self-conscious, but not enough to hurt the film in any way. This is tied with 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' and 'Hannah and her Sisters' for my 2nd favorite Allen film behind 'Annie Hall'. One of the greatest films by one the great filmmakers of the 2nd half of the 20th century. Very worth seeking out.

Broadway Danny Rose (1984)***1/4 A sweet, fun, well-told, Damon Runionesque fable of a well meaning if pathetic theatrical manager getting caught up with the mob. Not quite as amazing as Allen's very best films, but there's a touching, gentle, funny humanity that runs through it all. Mia Farrow gives what is arguably the strongest performance of her career -- she certainly stretches way beyond her usual image -- to play a tough, gum chewing mafia gun mol. It's also interesting to see Woody play a bit more of a 'character' than usual. The film has some lovely black and white images, even if its not as striking as the greatest of the Gordon Wills/Allen collaborations like 'Manhattan'. A good-hearted film that will make you smile more than laugh out loud, it's well-worth seeing if you have any fondness for Allen's work.

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)***1/2 An utterly sweet, inventive and charming film that examines our love affair with the movies and our need to escape into fantasy. The central device of the wall breaking down between the characters in a film and those watching is great fun, and both Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels do some of their very best work in this. That said, for me, it lacks a little of the depth and complexity of my very favorite of Allen's film. It's a little too cute and simplistic in the middle, although the first and last third, and the uncompromised ending are terrific. It doesn't quite hold up on multiple viewings
the way 'Annie Hall', or 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' or 'Hannah and Her Sisters' or 'Zelig' do. But even 2nd tier Woody Allen is better than almost anything else out there. And on a certain level, with great filmmakers its about personal taste, not right and wrong. (e.g. Is Chaplin's 'Modern Times' better than 'City Lights' ?) So, if you like Allen's work at all and you've never seen this, you owe yourself a look to decide for yourself.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)**** A wonderful mix of moving and funny, thought provoking and silly. There's amazing acting all around from the first rate ensemble cast including Diane Wiest, Michael Caine (both of whom deservedly won Oscars), Max Von Sydow, Allen, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey etc. (Mild spoiler) It features a rare movie happy ending that's actually earned! This is probably the closest to Annie Hall of all Woody Allen films in the mix of wit, technical proficiency, sophisticated style, acting, emotion, etc. He takes a bevy of characters and creates a complex heartfelt portrait of family, lovers, friends, and artists that's funny but with insightful bite. A rare film that acknowledges how wonderful life is, without denying how hard it can be at the same time. Or at least how hard we find ways to make it.

Radio Days (1987) ***1/4 A beautifully looking film, both in its production design by the great theater designer Santo Loquasto, and the wonderful photography by Carlo Di Palma, in his first of several fruitful collaborations with Allen. Together with Allen's witty, tender script, and a host of wonderful performances, the film does a terrific job of creating an intentionally larger than life, and slightly surreal memory piece of short stories about growing up in an age when radio was still the king of entertainment. It's a small, sweet. charming piece. Some of the stories are flat out great, some occasionally feel a bit meandering or pointless, but none are truly weak. The best moments rival Felliini's `Amarcord'. Perhaps not among Allen's greatest films, but still better than the vast majority of what has gotten produced in America in recent years.
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on 11 August 2016
Beware of ordering the wrong collection. Annoyingly Amazon have clumped together reviews that "seem" to be for the same thing, this is annoying enough to when it is applied to different edition of the same CD or film (with or without remastering, extras etc,). In this case there are two Woody Allen box sets of films, The Woody Allen Collection contains Hannah and Her Sister, Annie Hall and another 18 films. Woody Allen, Collection, contains a list of other films but the reviews have been lumped together. Come on Amazon, get this sorted
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