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Woody Allen

Allen at the 2009 premiere of Whatever Works
Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg
December 1, 1935 (1935-12-01) (age 74)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Director
Screenwriter
Comedian
Musician
Playwright
Years active 1950–present
Spouse(s) Harlene Rosen (1954–1959)
Louise Lasser (1966–1969)
Soon-Yi Previn (1997–present)

Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American screenwriter, film director, actor, comedian, writer, musician, and playwright.

Allen's distinctive films, which run the gamut from dramas to screwball sex comedies, have made him a notable American director. He is also distinguished by his rapid rate of production and his very large body of work.[1] Allen writes and directs his movies and has also acted in the majority of them. For inspiration, Allen draws heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema, among a wealth of other fields of interest.

Allen developed a passion for music early on and is a celebrated jazz clarinetist. What began as a teenage avocation has led to regular public performances at various small venues in his hometown of Manhattan, with occasional appearances at various jazz festivals. Allen joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the New Orleans Funeral Ragtime Orchestra in performances that provided the film score for his 1973 comedy Sleeper, and performed in a rare European tour in 1996, which became the subject of the documentary Wild Man Blues.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Allen was born and raised in New York City, the son of Nettie (née Cherrie; November 8, 1906 - January 27, 2002), a bookkeeper at her family's delicatessen, and Martin Konigsberg (December 25, 1900 - January 13, 2001), a jewelry engraver and waiter.[2] His family was Jewish and his grandparents were Yiddish- and German-speaking immigrants.[3] Allen has a sister, Letty (born 1943), and was raised in Midwood, Brooklyn.[4] His parents were both born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[3] His childhood wasn't particularly happy. His parents didn't get along, and he had a rocky relationship with his stern, temperamental mother.[5] Allen spoke Yiddish during his early years and, after attending Hebrew school for eight years, went to Public School 99 and to Midwood High School.[6] During that time, he lived in an apartment at 1402 Avenue K, between East 14th and 15th Streets. He impressed students with his extraordinary talent at card and magic tricks.[7]

To raise money he began writing gags for the agent David O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. According to Allen, his first published joke read: "Woody Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices—over people's salaries."[8]

He began to call himself Woody Allen. He was a highly gifted young comedian and would later joke that when he was young he was often sent to inter-faith summer camps, where he "was savagely beaten by children of all races and creeds".[7] At the age of 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen.[9]

After high school, he went to New York University (NYU), where he studied communication and film. He was never committed as a student, so he failed a film course, and was eventually expelled.[10] He later briefly attended City College of New York, and eventually taught at The New School.

Comedy writer and playwright

After his false starts at NYU and City College, he became a full-time writer for Herb Shriner, earning $75 a week at first.[8] At age 19, he started writing scripts for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, specials for Sid Caesar post-"Caesar's Hour" (1954-57), and other television shows.[11][12] By the time he was working for Sid Caesar, he was making $1500 a week; with Caesar he worked alongside Danny Simon, whom Allen credits for helping him to structure his writing style.[8][13]

In 1961, he started a new career as a stand-up comedian, debuting in a Greenwich Village club called the Duplex.[8] Examples of Allen's standup act can be heard on the albums Standup Comic and Nightclub Years 1964-1968 (including his classic routine entitled "The Moose").[14]

Allen wrote for the popular Candid Camera television show, and appeared in some episodes. Together with his managers, Allen developed a neurotic, nervous, and intellectual persona for his stand-up routine, a successful move which secured frequent gigs for him in nightclubs and on television.

Allen started writing short stories and cartoon captions for magazines such as The New Yorker; he was particularly inspired by the tradition of four big New Yorker's humorists, S. J. Perelman, George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Max Shulman, whose material he modernized.[15][16][17][18][19] He also became a successful Broadway playwright and wrote Don't Drink the Water in 1966. It starred Lou Jacobi, Kay Medford, Anita Gillette and Allen's future movie co-star Anthony Roberts. A film adaptation of the play, directed by Howard Morris, was released in 1969 starring Jackie Gleason. In 1994 Allen directed and starred in a third version for television with Michael J. Fox and Mayim Bialik.

The next Broadway hit that he wrote was Play It Again, Sam; he also starred in it. It opened on February 12, 1969, and ran for 453 performances. It also featured Diane Keaton and Anthony Roberts. Allen, Keaton and Roberts would reprise their roles in the film version of the play, directed by Herbert Ross. For its March 21 issue, Life featured Allen on its cover.[20]

Allen is also an accomplished author having published four collections of his short pieces and plays. These are Getting Even, Without Feathers, Side Effects and Mere Anarchy. His early comic fiction was heavily influenced by the zany, pun-ridden humour of S.J. Perelman.

Early films

His first movie production was What's New, Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the initial screenplay. He was hired by Warren Beatty to re-write a script, and to appear in a small part in the movie. Over the course of the re-write, Beatty's part grew smaller and Allen's grew larger. Beatty was upset and quit the production. Peter O'Toole was hired for the Beatty role, and Peter Sellers was brought in as well; Sellers was a big enough star to demand many of Woody Allen's best lines/scenes, prompting hasty re-writes.

Allen's first directorial effort was What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966 co-written with Mickey Rose), in which an existing Japanese spy movie (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi [1965] — "International Secret Police: Key of Keys") was redubbed in English by Allen and his friends with completely new, comic dialogue.

He acted in the James Bond spoof, Casino Royale.

1960s and 1970s

Allen directed Take the Money and Run (1969), and then Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), Sleeper, and Love and Death. Take the Money and Run and Bananas were both co-written by his childhood friend, Mickey Rose.

In 1972, he starred in the film version of Play It Again, Sam, which was directed by Herbert Ross. All of Allen's early films were pure comedies that relied heavily on slapstick, inventive sight gags, and non-stop one-liners. In 1976, he starred in The Front directed by Martin Ritt), a humorous and poignant account of Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s.

Annie Hall won four Academy Awards in 1977, including Best Picture and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Diane Keaton. Annie Hall set the standard for modern romantic comedy, and also started a minor fashion trend with the unique clothes worn by Diane Keaton in the film (the offbeat, masculine clothing, such as ties with cardigans, was actually Keaton's own). While in production, its working title was "Anhedonia," a term that means the inability to feel pleasure, and its plot revolved around a murder mystery. Apparently, as filmed, the murder mystery plot did not work (and was later used in his 1993 Manhattan Murder Mystery), so Allen re-cut the movie after production ended to focus on the romantic comedy between Allen's character, Alvy Singer, and Keaton's character, Annie Hall. The new version, retitled Annie Hall (named after Keaton, Hall being her given last name and Annie a nickname), still deals with the theme of the inability to feel pleasure. Ranked at No. 35 on the American Film Institute' s "100 Best Movies" and at No. 4 on the AFI list of "100 Best Comedies," Annie Hall is considered to be among Allen's best.

Manhattan, released in 1979, is a black-and-white film that can be viewed as an homage to New York City. As in many other Allen films, the main characters are upper-class academics. Even though it makes fun of pretentious intellectuals, the story is packed with obscure references which makes it less accessible to a general audience. The love-hate opinion of cerebral persons found in Manhattan is characteristic of many of Allen's movies including Crimes and Misdemeanors and Annie Hall. Manhattan focuses on the complicated relationship between a middle-aged Isaac Davis (Allen) and a 17-year-old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway).

Between Annie Hall and Manhattan, Allen wrote and directed the gloomy drama Interiors (1978), in the style of the late Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, one of Allen's major influences. Interiors represented a significant departure from Allen's "earlier, funnier comedies" (a line from 1980s Stardust Memories).

1980s

Allen's 1980s films, even the comedies, have somber and philosophical undertones. Some, like September and Stardust Memories, are heavily influenced by the works of European directors, most notably Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.[citation needed]

Stardust Memories features as a main character Sandy Bates, a successful filmmaker played by Allen, who expresses resentment and scorn for his fans. Overcome by the recent death of a friend from illness, the character states, "I don't want to make funny movies any more," and a running gag throughout the film has various people (including a group of visiting space aliens) telling Bates that they appreciate his films, "especially the early, funny ones."[21] To this day, Allen believes this to be one of his very best films.[22]

However, by the mid-1980s, Allen had begun to combine tragic and comic elements with the release of such films as Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he tells two different stories that connect at the end. He also produced a vividly idiosyncratic tragi-comical parody of documentary, titled Zelig.

He also made three films about show business. The first is Broadway Danny Rose, in which he plays a New York show business agent; the second is The Purple Rose of Cairo, a movie that shows the importance of the cinema during the Depression through the character of the naive Cecilia. Lastly, Allen made Radio Days, which is a film about his childhood in Brooklyn, and the importance of the radio. Purple Rose was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best films of all time, and Allen has described it as one of his three best films, along with Stardust Memories and Match Point.[23] (Allen defines them as "best" not in terms of quality, but because they came out the closest to his original vision.)

Before the end of the '80s, he made other movies that were strongly inspired by Ingmar Bergman's films. September resembles Autumn Sonata, and Allen uses many elements from Wild Strawberries[24] in Another Woman. Similarly, the Federico Fellini classic Amarcord strongly inspired Radio Days.[25]

1990s

His 1992 film Shadows and Fog is a black-and-white homage to German expressionists and features the music of Kurt Weill. Allen then made his critically acclaimed drama Husbands and Wives (1992), which received two Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Judy Davis and Best Original Screenplay for Allen. His film Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) combined suspense with dark comedy, and marked the return of Diane Keaton, Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston.

Next, he returned to lighter movies, such as Bullets Over Broadway (1994), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, followed by a musical, Everyone Says I Love You (1996). The singing and dancing scenes in Everyone Says I Love You are similar to many musicals starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The comedy Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which the Greek drama plays a large role, won an Academy Award for Mira Sorvino. Allen's 1999 jazz-based comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Sean Penn (Best Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress). In contrast to these lighter movies, Allen veered into darker satire towards the end of the decade with Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Celebrity (1998). Allen made his only sitcom "appearance" to date (2009) via telephone on the show Just Shoot Me!, in a 1997 episode, "My Dinner with Woody," which paid tribute to several of his films. Allen also provided the lead voice in the 1998 animated film Antz, which featured many actors he had previously worked with and had Allen play a character that was very similar to his earlier neurotic roles, only as an insect.

2000s

Small Time Crooks (2000) was his first film with DreamWorks SKG studio and represented a change in direction: Allen began giving more interviews and made an apparent attempt to return to his slapstick comedy roots. Small Time Crooks was a relative success, grossing over $17 million domestically, but Allen's next four films floundered at the box office, including Allen's most expensive film to date, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (with a budget of $33 million). Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, and Melinda and Melinda were given "rotten" ratings from film-review website Rotten Tomatoes and each earned less than $5 million domestically.[26] Some critics claimed that Allen's films since 1999's Sweet and Lowdown were subpar and expressed concern that Allen's best years were now behind him.[27] Woody gave his godson, Quincy Rose, a small part in Melinda and Melinda.

Woody Allen in concert in New York City, 2006

Match Point (2005) was one of Allen's most successful films in the past 10 years and generally received very positive reviews. Set in London, it starred Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. It is also markedly darker than Allen's first four films under the DreamWorks SKG banner. In Match Point, Allen shifts his focus from the intellectual upper class of New York to the moneyed upper class of London. It earned more than $23 million domestically (more than any of his films in nearly 20 years) and over $62 million in international box office sales.[28] Match Point earned Allen his first Academy Award nomination since 1998 for Best Writing - Original Screenplay and also earned directing and writing nominations at the Golden Globes, his first Globe nominations since 1987. In an interview with Premiere Magazine, Allen stated this was the best film he has ever made.

Allen returned to London to film Scoop, which also starred Johansson, as well as Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane and Kevin McNally. The film was released on July 28, 2006, and received mixed reviews. He has also filmed Cassandra's Dream in London. Cassandra's Dream stars Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Wilkinson and was released in November 2007.

After finishing his third London film, Allen headed to Spain. He reached an agreement to film Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Avilés, Barcelona and Oviedo, where shooting started on July 9, 2007. The movie stars international actors and actresses, including Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, and Penélope Cruz.[29][30] Speaking of his experience there, Allen said: "I'm delighted at being able to work with Mediapro and make a film in Spain, a country which has become so special to me." Vicky Cristina Barcelona was well received, winning "Best Musical or Comedy" at the Golden Globe awards. Penélope Cruz received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

Allen has said that he "survives" on the European market. Audiences there have tended to be more receptive to Allen's films, particularly in Spain and France, both countries where he has a large fan base (something joked about in Hollywood Ending). "In the United States things have changed a lot, and it's hard to make good small films now," Allen said in a 2004 interview. "The avaricious studios couldn't care less about good films – if they get a good film they're twice as happy, but money-making films are their goal. They only want these $100 million pictures that make $500 million."[31]

In April 2008, he began filming for a movie focused more towards older audiences starring Larry David, Patricia Clarkson[32] and Evan Rachel Wood.[33] He revealed in July 2008 the title of this film, to be released in 2009: Whatever Works,[34][35] described as a dark comedy, follows the story of a botched suicide attempt turned messy love triangle. Whatever Works was written by Allen in the 1970s and the character now played by Larry David was originally written for Zero Mostel, who died the year Annie Hall came out.

Allen's current project, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, filmed in London, stars Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Anupam Kher, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. Filming started in July 2009.

Distinction in the film world

Life-size statue of Woody Allen in Oviedo.
Close up of Allen's statue in Oviedo (Asturias, Spain).

Over the course of his career, Allen has received a considerable number of awards and distinctions in film festivals and yearly national film awards ceremonies, saluting his work as a director, screenwriter, and actor.[12] When premiering his films at festivals, Allen does not screen his motion pictures in competition, thus deliberately taking them out of consideration for potential awards.

  • Allen's film Annie Hall won four Academy Awards in 1977, including best picture.
  • Allen won the 1978 O. Henry Award for his short story "The Kugelmass Episode," published in The New Yorker on May 2, 1977.
  • Allen twice won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, the first in 1980 for Manhattan and the second in 1986 for The Purple Rose of Cairo. Seven other of his movies were nominated for the prize.
  • In 1986, Allen won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay for The Purple Rose of Cairo, and in 2009 he won the same award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for Vicky Christina Barcelona. He was also nominated four times as Best Director, four times for Best Screenplay and twice for Best Actor (Comedy/musical).
  • At the 1995 Venice Film Festival, Allen received a Career Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.
  • In 1996, Allen received a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America.
  • In 2002, Allen won the Prince of Asturias Award. Subsequently, the city of Oviedo, Spain, erected a life-size statue of Allen.[36]
  • In 2002, Allen received the Palme des Palmes, a special lifetime achievement award granted by the Cannes Festival and whose sole other recipient is Ingmar Bergman.[37]
  • In a 2005 poll The Comedian's Comedian, Allen was voted the third greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.
  • In June 2007, Allen received a Ph.D. degree Honoris Causa from Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain).

Academy Awards

Woody Allen has won three Academy Awards and been nominated a total of 21 times: 14 as a screenwriter, six as a director, and one as an actor. He has more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer; all are in the "Best Original Screenplay" category. He is tied for fifth all-time with six Best Director nominations. His actors have regularly received both nominations and Academy Awards for their work in Allen films, particularly in the Best Supporting categories.

Annie Hall won four Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actress). The film received a fifth nomination, for Allen as Best Actor. Hannah and Her Sisters won three, for Best Screenplay and both Best Supporting Actor categories; it was nominated in four other categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Despite friendly recognition from the Academy, Allen has consistently refused to attend the ceremony or acknowledge his Oscar wins. He broke this pattern only once. At the Academy Awards ceremony in 2002, Allen made an unannounced appearance, making a plea for producers to continue filming their movies in New York City after the 9-11 attacks, where he stated "I didn't have to present anything. I didn't have to accept anything. I just had to talk about New York City."[38] He was given a standing ovation before introducing a montage of movie clips featuring New York.

  • Five actors have won six Academy Awards for their work in Allen films: Diane Keaton (Best Actress, Annie Hall), Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor, Hannah and Her Sisters), Dianne Wiest (Best Supporting Actress, Hannah and Her Sisters and Bullets Over Broadway), Mira Sorvino (Best Supporting Actress, Mighty Aphrodite), and Penélope Cruz (Best Supporting Actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona).
  • Eleven actors have received Academy Award nominations for their work in Allen films: Allen himself (Best Actor, Annie Hall), Geraldine Page (Best Actress, Interiors), Martin Landau (Best Supporting Actor, Crimes and Misdemeanors), Chazz Palminteri (Best Supporting Actor, Bullets Over Broadway), Maureen Stapleton (Best Supporting Actress, Interiors), Mariel Hemingway (Best Supporting Actress, Manhattan), Judy Davis (Best Supporting Actress, Husbands and Wives), Jennifer Tilly (Best Supporting Actress, Bullets Over Broadway), Sean Penn (Best Actor, Sweet and Lowdown), and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress, Sweet and Lowdown).

BAFTA

Allen has won a number of British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards and nominations for best picture, best director, best actor, and best screenplay. In 1997, he received the honorary BAFTA Fellowship for his work.

Title sequences

Virtually all of Allen's films since Annie Hall begin with the same style of title sequence, incorporating a series of black-and-white title cards in a vintage typeface (most often Windsor Light Condensed) reminiscent Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu, set to a selection of jazz music that occasionally figures prominently later in the film's story (e.g., Radio Days). Additionally, the cast is placed on one such title card and listed in alphabetical order, and not in the order of the relative "star power" of the actors at the time in which the film was made. There is one minor variation in Deconstructing Harry, where the titles are weaved in with a looped shot. Another exception to this is Manhattan, which opens with a series of black-and-white shots of the city set to Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue"; the film's title comes after the opening narration is over.

Theater

Although best known for his films, Allen has also enjoyed a very successful career in theater, starting as early as 1960 when Allen was writing sketches for the revue From A to Z. His first great success was Don't Drink the Water, which opened in 1968 and ran for 598 performances for almost two years on Broadway.[39] His success continued with Play it Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen and Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, although none of the nominations were for Allen's writing or acting.[40]

In the '70s, Allen wrote a number of one-act plays, most notably God and Death, which were published in his 1975 collection Without Feathers.

In 1981, Allen's play The Floating Light Bulb opened on Broadway. The play was a critical success but a commercial flop. Despite two Tony Award nominations, a Tony win for the acting of Brian Backer (who also won the 1981 Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award for his work), the play only ran for 62 performances.[41] As of January 2008, it is the last Allen work that ran on Broadway.

After a long hiatus from the stage, Allen returned to the theater in 1995 with the one-act Central Park West, an installment in an evening of theater known as Death Defying Acts that was also made up of new work by David Mamet and Elaine May.[42]

For the next couple of years, Allen had no direct involvement with the stage, yet notable productions of his work were being staged. A production of God was staged at the The Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro,[43] and theatrical adaptations of Allen's films Bullets over Broadway[44] and September[45] were produced in Italy and France, respectively, without Allen's involvement. In 1997, rumors of Allen returning to the theater to write a starring role for his wife Soon-Yi Previn turned out to be false.[46]

In 2003, Allen finally returned to the stage with Writer's Block, an evening of two one-acts--Old Saybrook and Riverside Drive--that played off-Broadway. The production marked the stage-directing debut for Allen.[47] The production sold out its entire run.[48]

Also that year, reports of Allen writing the book for a musical based on Bullets over Broadway surfaced, but no show ever formulated.[49] In 2004, Allen's first full-length play since 1981, A Second Hand Memory,[50] was directed by Allen and enjoyed an extended run off-Broadway.[48]

In June 2007, it was announced that Allen would make two more creative debuts in the theater, directing a work that he didn't write and directing an opera – a re-interpretation of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi for the Los Angeles Opera[51] - which debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on September 6, 2008.[52] Commenting on his direction of the opera, Allen said, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” His production of the opera opened the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, in June 2009.[53]

Marriages and relationships

Harlene Rosen

At age 19, Allen married 16-year-old Harlene Rosen.[54] The marriage lasted five "nettling, unsettling years", from 1954 to 1959.[54]

Rosen, whom Allen referred to in his standup act as "the Dread Mrs. Allen," later sued Allen for defamation due to comments at a TV appearance shortly after their divorce. Allen tells a different story on his mid-1960s standup album Standup Comic. In his act, Allen said that Rosen sued him because of a joke he made in an interview. Rosen had been sexually assaulted outside her apartment, and, according to Allen, the newspapers reported that she "had been violated." In the interview, Allen said, "Knowing my ex-wife, it probably wasn't a moving violation". In a later interview on The Dick Cavett Show, Allen brought the incident up again where he repeated his comments and stated that the amount that he was being sued for was "$1 million".

Louise Lasser

Allen married Louise Lasser in 1966. Allen and Lasser divorced in 1969, and Allen did not marry again until 1997. Lasser starred in four Allen films after the divorce--Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) and Sleeper--and made a brief appearance in Stardust Memories.

Diane Keaton

In 1970, Allen cast Diane Keaton in his Broadway play Play It Again, Sam, which had a successful run. During this time, she became romantically involved with Allen, and although Allen and Keaton broke up after a year, she continued to star in a number of his films after their relationship had ended, including Sleeper as a futuristic poet and Love and Death as a composite character based on the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Annie Hall was very important in Allen and Keaton's careers. Furthermore, it is said that the role was written especially for her, and even the title speaks to this as Diane Keaton's given name is Diane Hall. She then starred in Interiors as a poet again, followed by Manhattan. In 1987, she had a cameo as a night-club singer in Radio Days and was chosen to replace Mia Farrow in the co-starring role for Manhattan Murder Mystery after Allen and Farrow began having troubles with their personal and working relationship while making this film. Keaton has not worked with Allen since Manhattan Murder Mystery.

Stacey Nelkin

The film Manhattan is said to have been based on his romantic relationship with the actress Stacey Nelkin. Her bit part in Annie Hall ended up on the cutting room floor, and their relationship, though never publicly acknowledged by Allen, reportedly began when she was 17 years old and a student at New York's Stuyvesant High School.[55][56][57]

Mia Farrow

Starting around 1980, Allen began a 12-year relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who had leading roles in several of his movies from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married, but they adopted two children together: Dylan Farrow (who changed her name to Eliza and is now known as Malone) and Moshe Farrow (now known as Moses); they also had one biological child, Satchel Farrow (now known as Ronan Seamus Farrow). Allen did not adopt any of Farrow's other biological and adopted children, including Soon-Yi Farrow Previn (the adopted daughter of Farrow and André Previn, now known as Soon-Yi Previn). Allen and Farrow separated in 1992 after Farrow discovered nude photographs that Allen had taken of Soon-Yi. In her autobiography, What Falls Away (New York: Doubleday, 1997), Farrow says that Allen admitted to a relationship with Soon-Yi.

After Allen and Farrow separated, a long public legal battle for the custody of their three children began. During the proceedings, Farrow alleged that Allen had sexually molested their adopted daughter Dylan, who was then seven years old. The judge eventually concluded that the sex abuse charges were inconclusive,[58] but called Allen's conduct with Soon-Yi "grossly inappropriate". She called the report of the team that investigated the issue "sanitized and, therefore, less credible", and added that she had "reservations about the reliability of the report". Farrow ultimately won the custody battle over their children. Allen was denied visitation rights with Malone and could see Ronan only under supervision. Moses, who was then 14, chose not to see Allen.

In a 2005 Vanity Fair interview,[59] Allen estimated that, despite the scandal's damage to his reputation, Farrow's discovery of Allen's attraction to Soon-Yi Previn, by accidentally finding nude photographs of her, was "just one of the fortuitous events, one of the great pieces of luck in my life. [...] It was a turning point for the better". Of his relationship with Farrow, he said, "I'm sure there are things that I might have done differently. [...] Probably in retrospect I should have bowed out of that relationship much earlier than I did".

Soon-Yi Previn

Soon-Yi Previn and Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

After ending his relationship from Farrow in 1992, Allen continued his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. Even though Allen never married or lived with Farrow,[60][61] and was never Previn's legal stepfather, the relationship between Allen and Previn has often been referred to as a father involved romantically with his stepdaughter,[62] since he had been perceived as being in the child's life in a father-like capacity. For example, in 1991, The New York Times described Allen's family life by reporting, "Few married couples seem more married. They are constantly in touch with each other, and not many fathers spend as much time with their children as Allen does."[61] Despite assertions from Previn that Allen was never a father figure to her,[63] the relationship became a scandal. At the time, Allen was 56 and Previn was 22. Asked whether their age difference was conducive to "a healthy, equal relationship," Allen said equality is not necessarily a desideratum in a relationship, and said, "The heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that's that".[64]

Allen and Previn married on December 24, 1997, in the Palazzo Cavalli in Venice. The couple has adopted two daughters, naming them Bechet and Manzie[65] after jazz musicians Sidney Bechet and Manzie Johnson.

Allen and Farrow's only biological son, Ronan Seamus Farrow, said of Allen: "He's my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression. I cannot see him. I cannot have a relationship with my father and be morally consistent...I lived with all these adopted children, so they are my family. To say Soon-Yi was not my sister is an insult to all adopted children."[66]

Woody Allen with Jerry Zigmont and Simon Wettenhall performing at Vienne Jazz Festival, Vienne, France.

Clarinetist

Allen is a passionate fan of jazz, which is often featured prominently in the soundtracks to his films. He began playing as a child and took his stage name from clarinetist Woody Herman. He has performed publicly at least since the late 1960s, notably with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper. One of his earliest televised performances was on The Dick Cavett Show on October 20, 1971.

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band play every Monday evening at Manhattan's Carlyle Hotel, specializing in classic New Orleans jazz from the early twentieth century.[67] The documentary film Wild Man Blues (directed by Barbara Kopple) documents a 1996 European tour by Allen and his band, as well as his relationship with Previn. The band has released two CDs: The Bunk Project (1993) and the soundtrack of Wild Man Blues (1997).

Allen and his band played the Montreal Jazz Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008.

Work about or inspired by Woody Allen

Apart from Wild Man Blues directed by Barbara Kopple, there are a number of other documentaries featuring Woody Allen, including the 2002 cable-television documentary Woody Allen: a Life in Film, directed by Time Magazine film critic Richard Schickel, which interlaces interviews of Allen with clips of his films, and Meetin' WA, a short interview of Allen by French director Jean-Luc Godard.

Waiting for Woody Allen is a 2004 short film, starring Modi Rosenfeld, parodying Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. From 1976 to 1984, Stuart Hample wrote and drew Inside Woody Allen, a comic strip based on Allen's film persona. Central Park West Stories (Baldini Castoldi Dalai publisher, 2005) by Glauco Della Sciucca (Italian contributor to Columbia Journalism Review, The New Yorker, and The Jewish Week, since September 2003) are inspired by Allen. "Death of an Interior Decorator" is a song on Death Cab for Cutie's album Transatlanticism that was inspired by Woody Allen's Interiors. In Love Creeps, a novel by Amanda Filipacchi, a group of birders in Central Park spot Woody Allen and Soon-Yi stepping out onto their balcony and get very excited, which torments a nearby group of recovering stalkers from Stalkaholics Anonymous, causing one of them to suddenly lose his sobriety by grabbing the binoculars from around the neck of a birder to stare at Woody Allen and Soon-Yi.

In 1998, the Spanish novel Yo-Yo Boing! by Giannina Braschi features a party scene in which Woody Allen fidgets and stammers while explaining literary classics and the films of Federico Fellini.

In 2003, Keith Black wrote, directed and starred in the award-winning film Get the Script to Woody Allen.[68] The feature was about a neurotic young man who is obsessed with getting his script to Woody.

While not making a case for direct influence or affinity while reviewing American Splendor inspired by/about graphic artist Harvey Pekar, columnist Jaime Wolf drew attention to formal parallels between the film and subject, on one hand, and Allen, Annie Hall, and other Allen films, on the other.[69]

Psychoanalysis

Allen spent at least 30 years undergoing psychoanalysis. Many of his films contain references to psychoanalysis. Even the film Antz, an animated feature in which Allen contributes the voice of lead character Z, opens with a classic piece of Allen analysis shtick.

Moment Magazine says, "It drove his self-absorbed work." John Baxter, author of Woody Allen - A Biography, wrote, "Allen obviously found analysis stimulating, even exciting."[70]

Allen says he ended his psychoanalysis visits around the time he began his relationship with Previn. He says he still is claustrophobic and agoraphobic.[59]

Filmography

Theater works

In addition to directing, writing, and acting in films, Allen has written and performed in a number of Broadway theater productions.

Year Title Credit Venue
1960 From A to Z Writer (book) Plymouth Theatre
1966 Don't Drink the Water Writer
1969 Play It Again, Sam Writer, Performer (Allan Felix) Broadhurst Theatre[71]
1975 God Writer
1975 Death Writer
1981 The Floating Light Bulb Writer Vivian Beaumont Theatre
1995 Central Park West Writer Variety Arts Theatre
2003 Old Sybrook Writer, Director Atlantic Theatre Company
2003 Riverside Drive Writer, Director Atlantic Theatre Company
2004 A Second Hand Memory Writer, Director Atlantic Theater Company

Bibliography

Published plays

  • Don't Drink the Water: A comedy in two acts (1967), ASIN B0006BSWBW
  • Play It Again, Sam (1969), ISBN 0-394-40663-X
  • God: A comedy in one act (1975), ISBN 0-573-62201-9
  • The Floating Light Bulb (1981)
  • Three One-Act Plays: Riverside Drive / Old Saybrook / Central Park West (2003), ISBN 0-8129-7244-9
  • Writer's Block: Two One-Act Plays (2005), ISBN 0-573-62630-8 (includes Riverside Drive and Old Saybrook)
  • A Second Hand Memory: A drama in two acts (2005)
  • The one-act plays God and Death are both included in Allen's 1975 collection Without Feathers (see below).

Short stories

  • Getting Even (1971), ISBN 0-394-47348-5
  • Without Feathers (1975), ISBN 0-394-49743-0
  • Side Effects (1980), ISBN 0-394-51104-2
  • Mere Anarchy (2007), ISBN 978-1-4000-6641-4

Anthologies

  • Complete Prose of Woody Allen (1992), ISBN 0-517-07229-7. (Collection of Allen's short stories first published in Getting Even, Without Feathers and Side Effects.)
  • The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007, ISBN 978-0812978117.

Chapbook

  • Lunatic's Tale (1986), ISBN 1-55628-001-7 (Short story previously included in Side Effects.)

References

  1. ^ "Greatest Film Directors of All Time". http://www.filmsite.org/directors.html. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  2. ^ "Woody Allen Biography (1935-)". Filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/33/Woody-Allen.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  3. ^ a b "The religion of Woody Allen, director and actor". http://www.adherents.com/people/pa/Woody_Allen.html. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  4. ^ Newman, Allen, and Kilganon. "Curse of the Jaded Audience: Woody Allen, in Art and Life - New York Times". http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E2DB1E3AF936A35755C0A9649C8B63+. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  "I think he's slacked off the last few movies, said Norman Brown, 70, a retired draftsman from Mr. Allen's old neighborhood, Midwood, Brooklyn, who said he had seen nearly all of Mr. Allen's 33 films."
  5. ^ "The Unruly Life of Woody Allen". Partners.nytimes.com. http://partners.nytimes.com/books/first/m/meade-woody.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ The principal of P.S. 99 was Mrs. Eudora Fletcher; Allen has used her name for characters in several of his films.
  7. ^ a b "Woody Allen : Comedian Profile". http://www.comedy-zone.net/standup/comedian/a/allen-woody.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Woody Allen: Rabbit Running". Time. 1972-07-03. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,877848-2,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  9. ^ Woody Allen at Encyclopedia Britannica
  10. ^ "Famous college drop-outs who became successful businessmen - Non-Traditional College Students - Helium - by Glenda K. Fralin". Helium. 1962-06-08. http://www.helium.com/tm/798054/there-several-entrepreneurs-throughout. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  11. ^ Eric Lax, "Woody Allen: A Biography" (2000), p. 111
  12. ^ a b "IMDb: Woody Allen". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000095/+IMDb+profile. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  13. ^ "TV Comedy Writer Danny Simon Dies". http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/27/AR2005072702568_pf.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  14. ^ "Woody Allen - The Moose". YouTube. 21 August 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmnLRVWgnXU. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  15. ^ Daniele Luttazzi, preface to the Italian tranlation of Allen's trilogy Complete prose, ISBN 9788845233074 p.7 quote: "Uno dei tanti meriti di Allen e' quello di aver reso moderno l'arsenale comico della tradizione cui si ispira, quella dei monumentali umoristi della rivista New Yorker (Perelman, Kaufman, Benchley e Shulman)"
  16. ^ Allen, W. (2004) I Appreciate George S. Kaufman, NY Times, October 24, 2004
  17. ^ Woody Allen: Rabbit Running. TIME.com. 1972-07-03. pp. 5-6 quote: "I never had a teacher who made the least impression on me, if you ask me who are my heroes, the answer is simple and truthful: George S. Kaufman and the Marx Brothers."
  18. ^ Michiko Kakutani (1995) Woody Allen. This interview is part I of the series The Art of Humor, published by Paris Review v37, n136 (Fall, 1995):200 (23 pages). [1]
  19. ^ "www.jstor.org/pss/3201987". http://www.jstor.org/pss/3201987. 
  20. ^ "1969 LIFE Magazine Cover Art". http://www.2neatmagazines.com/life/1969cover.html. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  21. ^ "Stardust Memories review". http://triviana.com/film/sfilm/stmem.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  22. ^ Review by DAVID KAMP (2007-11-18). "Conversations With Woody Allen - Eric Lax - Books by Woody Allen - Book Review - New York Times". Nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/Kamp-t.html?ex=1352955600&en=a6afbde4f7e9bcfa&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  23. ^ "Woody Speaks!", Premiere Magazine interview by Jason Matloff. [2]
  24. ^ "Roger Ebert’s review of ''Another Woman''". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1988-11-18. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19881118/REVIEWS/811180301/1023. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  25. ^ "Radio Days :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1987-01-30. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19870130/REVIEWS/701300302/1023. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  26. ^ "Woody Allen - Rotten Tomatoes Celebrity Profile". http://www.rottentomatoes.com/p/woody_allen. Retrieved 2008-01-17. /
  27. ^ "Melinda and Melinda review (2004) Woody Allen - Qwipster's Movie Reviews". http://www.qwipster.net/melindamelinda.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  28. ^ "Box Office Mojo - People Index". http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?view=Director&id=woodallen.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  29. ^ "Woody Allen�s Next Star: Penelope Cruz - Celebrity Gossip". FOX News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,249259,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  30. ^ "Spain woos Woody - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety". http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117935397?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  31. ^ Garfield, Simon (August 8, 2004). "Why I love London". The Guardian. http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,6737,1278451,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  32. ^ "Watch out for our Emma in Woody Allen's next movie". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/bazbamigboye.html?in_article_id=528290&in_page_id=1794. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  33. ^ "Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood to star in Woody Allen's next movie". Hollywood Insider. http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2008/02/larry-david-to.html?xid=rss-cnn-todayslatest-20080206-Allen+casts+Larry+David%2C+Evan+Rachel+Wood. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  34. ^ Barnes, Jessica (2008-07-31). "Woody Allen Reveals Latest Movie Title: 'Whatever Works'". Cinematical. http://www.cinematical.com/2008/07/31/woody-allen-reveals-latest-movie-title-whatever-works. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  35. ^ "Twilight of the Tummlers (2009) New York Magazine". http://nymag.com/movies/features/56930/. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  36. ^ "Neatorama". Neatorama. 2006-06-09. http://www.neatorama.com/2006/06/09/woody-allen-visits-woody-allen/. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  37. ^ Mitchell, Elvis. "Arts", The New York Times, May 18, 2002.
  38. ^ "Deconstructing Woody". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,346426__422878,00.html+. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  39. ^ The Broadway League. "Internet Broadway Database: Don't Drink the Water Production Credits". Ibdb.com. http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=3347. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  40. ^ The Broadway League (1970-03-14). "Internet Broadway Database: Play It Again, Sam Production Credits". Ibdb.com. http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=2849. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  41. ^ The Broadway League. "Internet Broadway Database: The Floating Light Bulb Production Credits". Ibdb.com. http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=4112. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  42. ^ "Death Defying Acts and No One Shall Be Immune — David Mamet Society". Mamet.eserver.org. http://mamet.eserver.org/review/1995/death.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  43. ^ "Allen's God Shows Up in Rio, Jan. 16". Playbill.com. 1998-01-15. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/36475.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  44. ^ "Playbill News: Woody Allen Adaptation Debuts at Italian Theatre Festival, Aug. 1". Playbill.com. 1998-07-31. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/40306.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  45. ^ "Playbill News: Stage Version of Woody Allen's September to Bow in France, Sept. 16". Playbill.com. 1999-09-15. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/47752.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  46. ^ "NY Post: Woody Allen Penning Play for Soon-Yi Previn". Playbill.com. 1997-12-31. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/36263.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  47. ^ "Playbill News: Woody Allen's Writer's Block, with Neuwirth and Reiser, Opens Off-Broadway May 15". Playbill.com. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/79561.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  48. ^ a b "Playbill News: Two Weeks Added to Woody Allen's New Play, Second Hand Memory, at Off-Bway's Atlantic". Playbill.com. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/89553.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  49. ^ "Playbill News: Work Continues of Musical Version of Bullets Over Broadway". Playbill.com. 2003-07-17. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/80729.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  50. ^ "Playbill News: Woody Allen Directs His Second Hand Memory, Opening Nov. 22 Off-Broadway". Playbill.com. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/89716.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  51. ^ "Woody Allen makes debut at opera". BBC News (BBC). 2008-09-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7603731.stm. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  52. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (2008-09-07). "Puccini With a Sprinkling of Woody Allen Whimsy". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/arts/music/08trit.html. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  53. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/arts/music/08arts-WOODYALLENSP_BRF.html
  54. ^ a b "Woody Allen: Rabbit Running". TIME.com. 1972-07-03. p. 3. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,877848-3,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  55. ^ Fox, Julian. Woody: Movies from Manhattan. New York: Overlook Press, 1996. 111-112
  56. ^ Baxter, John. Woody Allen: A Biography. New York: Caroll & Graf., 1998. 226, 248, 249, 250, 253, 273-4, 385, 416
  57. ^ Bailey, Peter J. The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001. 61
  58. ^ Brozan, Nadine. "Chronicle", The New York Times, May 13, 1994.
  59. ^ a b Biskind, Peter (2009-10-20). "Biskind, Peter. "Reconstructing Woody," ''Vanity Fair'', December 2005". Vanityfair.com. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2005/12/woodyallen200512. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  60. ^ Glenn Collins, Mixed Reviews Greet Woody Allen Marriage, The New York Times, 25 December 1997. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  61. ^ a b Lax, Eric. "Magazine", The New York Times, Feb 24, 1991.
  62. ^ Hornblow, Deborah. "Entertainment", LA Times, Aug 30, 2001.
  63. ^ Isaacson, Walter. "U.S.", Time, Aug 31, 1992.
  64. ^ The heart wants what it wants By WALTER ISAACSON, interview to WOODY ALLEN, Monday, Aug. 31, 1992, Time.com
  65. ^ "Woody Allen Ventures Out With Soon-Yi and the Kids". http://www.observer.com/2008/o2/woody-allen-ventures-out-public-appearance-wife-and-children.  The New York Observer
  66. ^ NICHOLL, KATIE; KIKI KING (2005-01-23). "Woody Allen son: I'll never forgive dad; Marriage to adopted daughter is 'immoral'". Mail on Sunday: p. 52. 
  67. ^ "New Orleans Trombone, Jerry Zigmont - Jazz Trombone, Eddy Davis & His New Orleans Jazz Band featuring Woody Allen, Cafe Carlyle, Woody Allen Band". http://www.woodyallenband.com. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  68. ^ "Get The Script To Woody Allen". Get The Script To Woody Allen. http://getthescripttowoodyallen.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  69. ^ Slate "Harvey, Meet Woody: American Splendor vs. Annie Hall"; by Jaime Wolf 9-24-03. Retrieved 12-28-08.
  70. ^ "Moment Mag". http://www.momentmag.com/archive/dec99/feat1.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  71. ^ "Woody Allen Biography (1935-)". filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/33/Woody-Allen.html. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 

Further reading

  • Stardust Memories: Visiting Woody Michael Žantovský recalls a memorable meeting between two giants, Woody Allen and Václav Havel
  • Essay by Victoria Loy on Woody Allen's career
  • The Essential Woody Allen; Lauren Hill
  • Fun With Woody, The Complete Woody Allen Quiz Book (Henry Holt), Graham Flashner
  • The Importance of Being Famous: Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity Industrial Complex by Maureen Orth p233 ISBN 0-8050-7545-3
  • Woody Allen - A Biography; John Baxter (1999) ISBN 0-7867-0666-X
  • Woody Allen: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series), ed. R. E. Kapsis and K. Coblentz, (2006) ISBN 1-57806-793-6
  • Woody Allen; Stephan Reimertz, (rororo-Monographie), Reinbek (2005) ISBN 3-499-50410-3 (in German)
  • Woody Allen: Eine Biographie; Stephan Reimertz, Reinbek (2000) ISBN 3-499-61145-7 (in German)
  • Woody Allen On Location, by Thierry de Navacelle (Morrow, 1987); a day-to-day account of the making of Radio Days (1987)
  • Woody Allen on Woody Allen: In Conversation With Stig Bjorkman (1995), ISBN 0-8021-1556-X
  • Woody Allen: Profane and Sacred; Richard A. Blake (1995) ISBN 978-0-810-82993-0
  • "Woody plots film return to London" by A Correspondent, Times Online, November 30, 2005

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn't and you lose.

Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Königsberg, 1935-12-01) is an American film director, writer, musician, actor and comedian.

See also: Woody Allen films

Contents

Sourced

To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer.
Can we actually "know" the universe? My God, it's hard enough finding your way around in Chinatown.
  • I think crime pays. The hours are good, you meet a lot of interesting people, you travel a lot.
  • Allen: That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn't it?
    Woman: Yes, it is.
    Allen: What does it say to you?
    Woman: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of man forced to live in a barren, godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror, and degradation, forming a useless, bleak straitjacket in a black, absurd cosmos.
    Allen: What are you doing Saturday night?
    Woman: Committing suicide.
    Allen: What about Friday night?
  • Millions of books written on every conceivable subject by all these great minds and in the end, none of them knows anything more about the big questions of life than I do ... I read Socrates. This guy knocked off little Greek boys. What the Hell's he got to teach me? And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we're gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again. It's not worth it. And Freud, another great pessimist. I was in analysis for years and nothing happened. My poor analyst got so frustrated, the guy finally put in a salad bar. Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer.
  • What a world. It could be so wonderful if it wasn't for certain people.
  • We're worth a lot of dough. Whatever you see is antiques. This thing here. This is from — I don't remember exactly. I think it's the Renaissance or the Magna Carta or something. But that's where it's from.
  • The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn't and you lose.
  • As a filmmaker, I'm not interested in 9/11 [...] it's too small, history overwhelms it. The history of the world is like: He kills me, I kill him, only with different cosmetics and different castings. So in 2001, some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again.
  • I have no apprehension whatsoever. I've been through this so many times. And I found that one way or the other, your life doesn't change at all. Which is sad, in a way. Because the people love your film... nothing great happens. And people hate your film... nothing terrible happens. Many years ago, I would... I would... a film of mine would open, and it would get great reviews, and I would go down and look at the movie theater. There'd be a line around the block. And when a film is reviled, you open a film and people say "Oh, it's the stupidest thing, it's the worst movie." You think: oh, nobody's going to ever speak to you again. But, it doesn't happen. Nobody cares. You know, they read it and they say "Oh, they hated your film." You care, at the time. But they don't. Nobody else cares. They're not interested. They've got their own lives, and their own problems, and their own shadows on their lungs, and their x-rays. And, you know, they've got their own stuff they're dealing with.... So, I'm just never nervous about it.

Bananas (1971)

  • Fielding Mellish: You busy tonight?
    Norma: Some old friends are coming over. We're gonna show some pornographic movies.
    Fielding Mellish: You need an usher?
  • Nancy: Have you ever been to Denmark?
    Fielding Mellish: I've been...yes, to the Vatican.
    Nancy: The Vatican? The Vatican is in Rome.
    Fielding Mellish: Well, they were doing so well in Rome that they opened one in Denmark.
  • I was a nervous child, I was a bedwetter. I used to sleep with an electric blanket and I was constantly electrocuting myself.
  • I remember when I was a little boy, I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in Braille. I used to rub the dirty parts.
  • Nancy: You're immature, Fielding!
    Fielding Mellish: How am I immature?
    Nancy: Well, emotionally, sexually and intellectually.
    Fielding Mellish: Yeah, but what other ways?
  • Prosecutor: Tell the court why you think he is a traitor to this country.
    Miss America: I think Mr. Mellish is a traitor to this country because his views are different from the views of the president and others of his kind. Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not when they're too different. Then he becomes a subversive mother.
  • Fielding Mellish: I object, Your Honor! This trial is a travesty! It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham! I call a mistrial Your Honor! Do you realize there is not one homosexual in the jury?
    Judge: Yes there is!
    Fielding Mellish: Really? Which one? Is it that big guy on left?

Getting Even (1971)

  • I don't believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.
    • "Conversations with Helmholtz"

My Philosophy

  • Can we actually "know" the universe? My God, it's hard enough finding your way around in Chinatown.
  • It is impossible to experience one's own death objectively and still carry a tune.
  • Eternal nothingness is O.K. if you're dressed for it.
  • Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)

  • Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
  • They called me mad... But it was I - yes I - who discovered the link between excessive masturbation and entry into politics!
  • When it comes to sex there are certain things that should always be left unknown, and with my luck, they probably will be.

Sleeper (1973)

  • My brain: it's my second favorite organ.
  • Oh, he was probably a member of the National Rifle Association. It was a group that helped criminals get guns so they could shoot citizens. It was a public service.
  • I'm not really the heroic type. I was beat up by Quakers.
  • Sex and death are two things that come but once in my lifetime, but at least after death you're not nauseous.
  • [After discovering that they are trying to clone "the leader" from only his nose] Now is the time to strike. The Leader is at great handicap, he has no head or body!

Love and Death (1975)

To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you're getting this down.
  • To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you're getting this down.
  • Human beings are divided into mind and body. The mind embraces all the nobler aspirations, like poetry and philosophy, but the body has all the fun.
  • The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter... if it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he is evil. I think that the worst thing you could say is that he is, basically, an under-achiever.
  • After all, there are worse things in life than death. If you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you know what I'm talking about.
  • The key is, to not think of death as an end, but as more of a very effective way to cut down on your expenses.
  • Regarding love... what can you say? It's not the quantity of your sexual relations that counts. It's the quality. On the other hand if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it.
  • Where did you go to finishing school? On a pirate ship?
  • Sonja: "Violence is justified in the service of mankind!"
    Boris: Who said that?
    Sonja: Attila the Hun!
    Boris: You're quoting a Hun to me?
  • Sonja: Sex without love is an empty experience!
    Boris: Yes, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best!
  • Countess: You are a great lover!
    Boris: I practice a lot when I'm alone.
  • Sonja: Boris, Let me show you how absurd your position is. Let's say there is no God, and each man is free to do exactly as he chooses. What prevents you from murdering somebody?
    Boris: Murder's immoral.
    Sonja: Immorality is subjective.
    Boris: Yes, but subjectivity is objective.
    Sonja: Not in a rational scheme of perception.
    Boris: Perception is irrational. It implies immanence.
    Sonja: But judgment of any system of phenomena exists in any rational, metaphysical or epistemological contradiction to an abstracted empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur in the thing itself, or of the thing itself.
    Boris: Yeah, I've said that many times.
  • Him: Come to my quarters tomorrow at three.
    Sonja: I can't.
    Him: Please!
    Sonja: It's immoral. What time?
    Him: Who is to say what is moral?
    Sonja: Morality is subjective.
    Him: Subjectivity is objective.
    Sonja: Moral notions imply attributes to substances which exist only in relational duality.
    Him: Not as an essential extension of ontological existence.
    Sonja: Can we not talk about sex so much?
  • Sgt: Next week, we leave for the front. The object will be to kill as many Frenchmen as possible. Naturally, they are going to try and kill as many Russians as possible. If we kill more Frenchmen, we win. If they kill more Russians, they win.
    Boris: What do we win?
    Sgt: What do we win, private?
  • Boris: Nothingness. Non-existence. Black emptiness.
    Sonja: What did you say?
    Boris: Oh, I was just planning my future.
  • Boris: (a) Socrates is a man.(b) All men are mortal.(c) All men are Socrates. That means all men are homosexuals. I'm not a homosexual. Once, some Cossacks whistled at me. I happen to have the kind of body that excites both persuasions.
  • Boris: Then there is a God. Incredible. Moses was right. [a ray of light shines over Boris] He that abideth in truth will have frankincense and myrrh smeared on his gums in abundance, and he shall dwell in the house of the Lord for six months with an option to buy. But the wicked man shall have all kinds of problems. His tongue shall cleave to the roof of his upper palate. And he shall speak like a woman, if you watch him closely. And he shall... The wicked man shall be delivered into the hands of his enemy, whether they can pay the delivery charge or not. And... [ray of light turns off] Wait, I have more about the wicked man. [turns on again] I shall walk through the valley of the shadow of death... In fact, now that I think of it, I shall run through the valley of the shadow of death, cos' you get out of the valley quicker that way. And he that hath clean hands and a pure heart is OK in my book. But he that fools around with barnyard animals has got to be watched.
  • Boris: I was walking through the woods, thinking about Christ. If he was a carpenter, I wondered what he charged for bookshelves.
  • Sonja: I do believe that this is truly the best of all possible worlds.
    Boris: Well, it's certainly the most expensive.

Without Feathers (1975)

What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
  • As the poet said, "Only God can make a tree"—probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.
    • "The Early Essays"
  • Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
    • "The Early Essays"
  • The chief problem about death, incidentally, is the fear that there may be no afterlife — a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave. Also, there is the fear that there is an afterlife but no one will know where it's being held.
    • "The Early Essays"
  • What a wonderful thing, to be conscious! I wonder what the people in New Jersey do.
    • "No Kaddish for Weinstein"
  • Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    • "Selections from the Allen Notebooks"
  • What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
    • "Selections from the Allen Notebooks"
  • If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank.
    • "Selections from the Allen Notebooks"
  • It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens.
  • The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won't get much sleep.
    • "Scrolls"
  • What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
    • from the play "God"
  • Rabbi Raditz of Poland was a very short rabbi with a long beard, who was said to have inspired many pogroms with his sense of humor. One of his disciples asked, "Who did God like better, Moses or Abraham?"
    "Abraham," the Zaddik said.
    "But Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land," said the disciple.
    "All right, so Moses," the Zaddik answered.
    • "Hassidic Tales, with A Guide to Their Interpretation by the Noted Scholar"

Annie Hall (1977)

  • Don't knock masturbation — it's sex with someone I love.
  • Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. The horrible are the cancer patients and the terminal cases... the miserable is everyone else. So, be thankful that you're miserable.
  • There's an old joke... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life — full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness — and it's all over much too quickly.
  • The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious", and it goes like this — I'm paraphrasing — um, "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.
  • I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken.' And the doctor says, 'Well why don't you turn him in?' and the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.

Manhattan (1979)

Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage.
  • This is so antiseptic. It's empty. Why do you think this is funny? You're going by audience reaction? This is an audience that's raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out!
  • Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage.
  • I think that people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.
  • I can't express anger. That's my problem. I internalize everything. I just grow a tumor instead.
  • She's 17. I'm 42 and she's 17. I'm older than her father, can you believe that? I'm dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.
  • You know a lot of geniuses, y'know. You should meet some stupid people once in a while, y'know, you could learn something.
  • I had a mad impulse to throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion.
  • What are you telling me, that you're, you're, you're gonna leave Emily, is this true? And, and run away with the, the, the winner of the Zelda Fitzgerald emotional maturity award?
  • It's just gossip, you know. Gossip is the new pornography.

Side Effects (1980)

  • It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off.
    • "The UFO Menace"
  • Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought — particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things.
    • "The UFO Menace"
  • More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
    • "My Speech to the Graduates"

My Apology

Woody Allen as Socrates...
  • Of all the famous men who ever lived, the one I would most like to have been was Socrates. Not just because he was a great thinker, because I have been known to have some reasonably profound insights myself, although mine invariably revolve around a Swedish airline stewardess and some handcuffs.
  • Death is a state of non-being. That which is not, does not exist. Therefore death does not exist. Only truth exists. Truth and beauty. Each is interchangeable, but are aspects of themselves. Er, what specifically did they say they had in mind for me?
  • Hey listen — I've proved a lot of things. That's how I pay my rent. Theories and little observations. A puckish remark now and then. Occasional maxims. It beats picking olives, but let's not get carried away.
  • Agathon: But all that talk about death being the same as sleep.
    Socrates: Yes, the difference is that when you're dead and somebody yells, "Everybody up, it's morning," it's very hard to find your slippers.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

  • My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.
  • Where I grew up... in Brooklyn, nobody committed suicide... you know, everyone was too unhappy.

Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

  • Taste my tuna casserole — tell me if I put in too much hot fudge.
  • What has gotten into you lately? Save a little craziness for menopause!
  • I bought her this handkerchief... and I didn't even know her size.
  • I can't listen to that much Wagner, ya know ? I start to get the urge to conquer Poland.

Zelig (1983)

  • I worked with Freud in Vienna. We broke over the concept of penis envy. He thought it should be limited to women.
  • My brother beat me. My sister beat my brother. My father beat my sister, my brother, and me. My mother beat my father, my sister, my brother, and me. The neighbors beat our family. The family down the street beat the neighbors and our family.
  • I'm twelve years old. I run into a synagogue. I ask the rabbi the meaning of life. He tells me the meaning of life but he tells it to me in Hebrew. I don't understand Hebrew. Then he wants to charge me $600 for Hebrew lessons.

Don't Drink the Water (1994)

  • [about his daughter] I'd rather she grew up here than grew up as an orphan, you know I can tolerate anybody's orphans but my own.
  • ...years of insanity have made this guy crazy!

Deconstructing Harry (1997)

  • Between the Pope and air conditioning, I'd choose air conditioning.
  • You think the President of the United States wants to fuck every woman he meets?... Well, bad example.
  • No, I don't think you're paranoid. I think you're the opposite of paranoid. I think you walk around with the insane delusion that people like you.
  • Tradition is the illusion of permanence.
  • [On being called a self-hating Jew] Hey, I may hate myself, but not because I'm Jewish.
  • Doris: You have no values. With you its all nihilism, cynicism, sarcasm, and orgasm.
    Harry: Hey, in France I could run for office with that slogan, and win!

Standup Comic (1999)

A CD compilation of Allen comedy routines from 1964-1968

  • A lot of things have happened in my private life recently that I thought we could review tonight.
  • I feel sex is a beautiful thing between two people. Between five, it's fantastic.
  • A fast word about oral contraception. I was involved in an extremely good example of oral contraception two weeks ago. I asked a girl to go to bed with me, she said "no."
  • Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats.
  • I was in analysis. I was suicidal. As a matter of fact, I would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian and if you kill yourself they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
  • I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.
  • I tended to place my wife under a pedestal.
  • I'm not a drinker — my body will not tolerate spirits. I had two Martinis on New Year's Eve and I tried to hijack an elevator and fly it to Cuba.
  • When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out my room.

Mere Anarchy (2007)

How could I not have known that there are little things the size of "Planck length" in the universe, which are a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter?
  • How could I not have known that there are little things the size of "Planck length" in the universe, which are a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter? Imagine if you dropped one in a dark theater how hard it would be to find.
  • And how does gravity work? And if it were to cease suddenly, would certain restaurants still require a jacket?
  • With that, he scribbled in an additional ninety thousand dollars on the estimate, which had waxed to the girth of the Talmud while rivaling it in possible interpretations.
  • I have also reviewed my own financial obligations, which have puffed up recently like a hammered thumb.
  • She quarreled with the nanny and accused her of brushing Misha's teeth sideways rather than up and down.
  • As we know, for centuries Rome regarded the Open Hot Turkey Sandwich as the height of licentiousness.
  • I was supremely confident my flair for atmosphere and characterization would sparkle alongside the numbing mulch ground out by studio hacks. Certainly the space atop my mantel might be better festooned by a gold statuette than by the plastic dipping bird that now bobbed there ad infinitum.
  • Bidnick gorges himself on Viagra, but the dosage makes him hallucinate and causes him to imagine he is Pliny the Elder.
  • To a man standing on the shore, time passes quicker than to a man on a boat — especially if the man on the boat is with his wife.

Quotes about Allen

  • In this land of unlimited opportunity, a place where, to paraphrase Woody Allen, any man or woman can realize greatness as a patient or as a doctor, we have only one commercial American filmmaker who consistently speaks with his own voice. That is Woody Allen, gag writer, musician, humorist, philosopher, playwright, stand-up comic, film star, film writer and film director.
  • With the possible exception of What's Up, Tiger Lily (1966), the schlocky Japanese spy movie to which he attached his own, sidesplitting English soundtrack, no Woody Allen movie has ever been more or less serious than another of his works. He's always been serious. It's the audiences who have been frivolous.
    In Zelig he reassures us that he can still be funny and moving without making the sort of insistent filmic references in which he delights but which can be infuriating to others. Zelig is a nearly perfect — and perfectly original — Woody Allen comedy.

External links

Wikipedia
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Woody Allen
File:Woody Allen (2006).jpeg
Born Allen Stewart Königsberg
December 1, 1935 (1935-12-01) (age 75)
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Years active 1950 - present
Influenced by Ingmar Bergman, Groucho Marx, Federico Fellini, Cole Porter, Anton Chekhov
Spouse Harlene Rosen (1956-1962)
Louise Lasser (1966-1969)
Soon-Yi Previn (1997-)
Parents Martin Konigsberg (1900-2001)
Nettie Cherry (1906-2002)
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Königsberg on December 1, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, jazz musician, comedian, and playwright, who has won the Academy Award three times, as well as many others in his very long career.

His many works and his cerebral film style, mixing satire and humor, have made him one of the most respected film directors in the modern era. Allen writes and directs his movies and has also acted in most of them. To inspire himself for his movies, Allen uses literature, philosophy, psychology, Judaism, European cinema and New York City, where he was born and has lived all life.

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