original film poster
|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Robert Greenhut|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Editing by||Susan E. Morse|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||September, 1980|
|Running time||91 min|
Stardust Memories is a 1980 film written and directed by Woody Allen, who considers this to be one of his best films in addition to The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point. The film is shot in black-and-white, particularly reminiscent of Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963), which it parodies. It was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for "Best Comedy written directly for screen".
It is the story of a famous filmmaker Sandy Bates (Allen), who is plagued by fans who prefer his "earlier, funnier movies" to his more recent artistic efforts, while he tries to reconcile his conflicting attraction to two very different women: the earnest, intellectual Daisy (Jessica Harper), and the more maternal Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault). Meanwhile, he is also haunted by memories of his ex-girlfriend, the mercurial Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling).
The conflict between the maternal, nurturing woman and the earnest, usually younger one, is a recurring theme in Allen's films. Like many of Allen's films, Stardust Memories incorporates several jazz recordings including those by such notables as Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Chick Webb. The film's title alludes to the famous alternate take of "Stardust" recorded in 1931 by Armstrong, wherein the trumpeter sings "oh, memory" three times in succession.
This movie deals with issues regarding religion, God, and philosophy; especially existentialism, psychology, symbolism, wars and politics. It is also about realism, relationships, and death. It refers to many questions about the meaning of life for mankind.
Allen denies that this film is autobiographical and has expressed regret that audiences interpreted it as such. The film sharply divided both audiences and critics, with some Allen fans proclaiming it his best picture and perhaps just as many classing it among his worst.
Stardust Memories opened in North America on September 26, 1980 to an onslaught of bad reviews. At 29 theatres, it grossed $326,779 ($11,268 per screen) in its opening weekend. The film failed to attract more than Allen's loyal fanbase in the long run, and it grossed a modest $10,389,003 by the end of its run. The film's budget was $10 million, so it likely made a profit after foreign revenue was taken into account.
The film featured Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Daniel Stern, Tony Roberts, Amy Wright, Judith Roberts, and Helen Hanft. Among the extended cast members were an ingenue named Sharon Stone, in her first film appearance; a young Brent Spiner, later famous as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation; Laraine Newman of Saturday Night Live fame; Allen's ex-wife Louise Lasser; and Alan Colmes, the liberal-leaning former co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political-debate show on Fox News Channel.