PBS Immortalizes Woody Allen as an American Film Icon

Written by Joey Simpson November 25, 2011


Woody Allen belongs to that legendary class of American directors whose secret influence and legacy has been solidified for decades after his debut. His writing and directorial style are trademark and his accolades and appreciators are vast. Largely aloof and reclusive to the media, Allen defies expectation and continues to consistently make new films, despite his ever-growing repertiore of awards and nominations (Woody Allen has the record for most Oscar nominations in the Best Original Screenplay category).

As his most recent film, Midnight in Paris, dominates critics’ circles a resurgence in fascination with Allen has returned. In commemoration of Allen’s legendary career, PBS has recently released a two-part documentary, focusing on Allen’s career ambitions and realizations, and his relationships throughout the years (Annie Hall co-star Diane Keaton is a contributor among others). In his review, Odie Henderson, admittedly not a huge fan of Allen’s work, analyzes the documentary with precision and wit and thoroughly captures Allen’s distinctive character and impressive professional career.

I took this gig as a challenge. It’s not that I hate Woody Allen; I just don’t adore him as much as you would like. Plus, I live in the Bizarro World when it comes to his films, enjoying the ones most people hate and vice-versa. For example, I hated “Match Point,” disliked “Annie Hall,” and could never commit to “Manhattan” despite its astonishing, heartbreaking cinematography. Conversely, I loved “Deconstructing Harry,” found “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” amusing, and I may be the only sane person who liked “Hollywood Ending.” These confessions may disturb die-hard fans, but before you vow never to read anything of mine again, you should watch American Masters’ “Woody Allen: A Documentary.” There you’ll discover that Woody Allen dislikes most of his movies, even going so far as to offer to make a different movie for free if United Artists used “Manhattan” for kindling.

Read more about Henderson’s review here

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