“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 3)

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 3)

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 3/4

Uploaded by on Jul 21, 2008

Woody Allen interview from 1971, just after the worldwide release of ‘Bananas’


Looking at the (sometimes skewed) morality of Woody Allen’s best films.

In the late ’60s, Woody Allen left the world of stand-up comedy behind for the movies. Since then, he’s become one of American cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers. Sure, he’s had his stinkers and his private life hasn’t been without controversy. But he’s also crafted some of Hollywood’s most thought-provoking comedies. Philosophical, self-deprecating and always more than a tad pessimistic, Allen adds another title to his oeuvre this Friday with Midnight in Paris. Whether it will be remembered as one of his greatest or another flop is too early to say, but its release gives us a chance to look back at some of his most indispensable works.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Match Point (2005)

The sanctity of art plays a role in Crimes and Misdemeanors, but it’s a minor one compared to Allen’s interest in the human conscience. Does God exist, his characters wonder, and if He doesn’t, can there still be objective morality? His characters have asked these questions before, but never have the stakes been so high as when Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a prominent New York ophthalmologist, finds his life turned upside by an act of violence he’s responsible for. In the aftermath, he’s plagued by guilt but still wonders if a guilty conscience is such a high price to pay for keeping his good name. His transformation as he struggles with this question is chilling to watch.

The same issue is at the heart of Match Point, Allen’s first movie set outside America. The particulars are different, but its trajectory is the same. When Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) commits murder to preserve his status and good reputation, we wait for him to be caught. But Allen subverts our expectations again, as in Crimes and Misdemeanors—not because he condones murder, but to illustrate his belief that, if there’s no God, life is a crap shoot. Maybe you’ll get caught, maybe you won’t, but either way you’ll have to live with what you’ve done. In both films, he shows more pointedly than most other American filmmakers what hell on earth must look like.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

The human conscience is also the focus of Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though in a relatively smaller way. He’s also less concerned with the existence of God, but objective morality is still a question lingering in the back of his mind. As the two friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) consider their entanglement with the bohemian Spanish artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), they’re forced to re-examine the rules they each live by. Even though the movie unquestionably favors moral relativism, the character of Cristina, who was once so proud of her “liberated” spirit, comes away from her search for meaning with a more moral perspective. No longer content to live according to Juan Antonio’s eat-drink-and-be-merry philosophy, she ends her time in Spain determined to find “something else.” That something else isn’t likely to be conventional morality, but neither is it unrestrained passion. While still denying that life has any inherent meaning, Allen forces us to consider whether conventional morality is really so stifling after all.

Overall, Woody Allen can’t be called anything close to a Christian (or even a moral) filmmaker—his films often drip with pessimism (some would say nihilism). But most of his films also give viewers something to chew on, something all too rare at the movies.

Do you have a favorite Woody Allen movie?

Andrew Welch lives in Texas and has written for RELEVANT and Books & Culture.

Related posts:

“Woody Wednesday” Will Allen and Martin follow same path as Kansas to Christ?

Several members of the 70′s band Kansas became committed Christians after they realized that the world had nothing but meaningless to offer. It seems through the writings of both Woody Allen and Chris Martin of Coldplay that they both are wrestling with the issue of death and what meaning does life bring. Kansas went through […]

Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29)

Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29) What Ever Happened to the Human Race? I recently heard this Breakpoint Commentary by Chuck Colson and it just reminded me of how prophetic Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were in the late 1970′s with their book and film series “Whatever happened to the human […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen is searching for satisfaction in wrong place jh17

Coldplay – 42 Live Coldplay perform on the french television channel W9. In 1992 Woody Allen took up with one of his adopted kids and lived in with her. He was given over to the pursuit of pleasure. Actually he has made that a major focus of his life. In the latter part of his […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen realizes if God doesn’t exist then all is meaningless (jh 15)

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5) The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy. _________________________- I want to make two points today. 1. There is no […]

“Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary (jh 14)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Adrian Rogers – Crossing God’s Deadline Part 2 Jason Tolbert provided this recent video from Mike Huckabee: John Brummett in his article “Huckabee speaks for bad guy below,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 5, 2011 had to say: Are we supposed to understand and accept that Mike Huckabee is […]

Agnostic Allen notes, “The people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t” (Woody Wednesday Part 5)

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham on Religion This article below makes we think of the lady tied to the Railroad in the Schaeffer video. Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism (Modern man sees no hope for the future and has deluded himself by appealing to nonreason to stay sane. Look at the example […]

A review of Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Wednesday Part 4)

Midnight in Paris Not Dove Family Approved Theatrical Release: 6/10/2011 Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter Source: Theater Writer: Woody Allen Producer: Letty Aronson Director: Woody Allen Genre: Comedy Runtime: 100 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kurt Fuller, Kathy Bates Synopsis: Midnight in Paris is a romantic comedy that follows a family travelling […]

Woody Allen films and the issue of guilt (Woody Wednesday Part 3)

Woody Allen and the Abandonment of Guilt Dr. Marc T. Newman : AgapePress Print In considering filmmaking as a pure visual art form, Woody Allen would have to be considered a master of the medium. From his humble beginnings as a comedy writer and filmmaker, he has emerged as a major influential force in Hollywood. […]

According to Woody Allen Life is meaningless (Woody Wednesday Part 2)

Woody Allen, the film writer, director, and actor, has consistently populated his scripts with characters who exchange dialogue concerning meaning and purpose. In Hannah and Her Sisters a character named Mickey says, “Do you realize what a thread were all hanging by? Can you understand how meaningless everything is? Everything. I gotta get some answers.”{7} […]

“Woody Wednesday” Part 1 starts today, Complete listing of all posts on the historical people mentioned in “Midnight in Paris”

I have gone to see Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris” three times and taken lots of notes during the films. I have attempted since June 12th when I first started posting to give a historical rundown on every person mentioned in the film. Below are the results of my study. I welcome any […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: