Very good, fairly homogeneous selection of titles.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 05/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Woody Allen collection of six (6) early to middle films is more homogeneous than the first. You do not have the very serious `Interiors' sitting between two of Allen's funniest movies. But, there are some bumps along the road if you start watching this from the top and are not familiar with Allen's works. The titles in this set are:
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Zelig Broadway Danny Rose The Purple Rose of Cairo Hannah and Her Sisters Radio Days
The first and the last films are pretty lighthearted. The middle films have a fair share of bittersweet moments. In fact, I put `The Purple Rose of Cairo' into that rare class of movies such as Terry Gillian's `Brazil' which are so good at being poignant that they are literally hard to watch. Even the rampant parody, `Zelig' has some moments when you are really strongly influenced by the plight of the main character.
Although I suspect `A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy' may be the weakest of these six, it is the one I most enjoy rewatching. And, this is the one feature of Allen's movies I most highly value. I will enjoy a James Bond action flick once, but I will watch `Hannah and Her Sisters' over and over and over.
One of the most interesting things about `Radio Days' is that it came out in the same year as the very similar film of `Brighton Beach Memoirs'. And, as I recall, the critical opinion was that `Radio Days' was far superior. I agree.
Strongly recommended for both old and new Woody Allen fans. "
Thinking outside of the box
B. Marold | 11/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without a doubt the existence of the third Woody Allen collection is reason to rejoice. Those of you without any of the other previous releases in your collection, should consider making this your initial acquisition. Eventually, like me, you will crave that which came before, after and whatever comes next. If you assemble all the films available you will appreciate the enormity of this man's talent and range. Actually, within this set is the very essence of what he does best. A little pathos and little bathos and some very specific NYC moments you can appreciate, even if you do not live in or know NYC. His love and respect of music and its significance to the overall impact of the film is perhaps one of Woody Allen's most significant contributions to the artform. These selections from the 80's contain some of the most inspired casting, sets and script writing. All the Seinfeld devotees might investigate the origins of neurosis and urban nuance as it was originally conceived and enacted by a true comic genius. This is the template for ensemble comedic acting. Yes there are laughs but most arrive as bittersweet moments that are not annouced as marquee statements that benefit from a laugh track, but as simple moments that are so memorable because of their subtlety. Perhaps the three most unique films of Woody's pantheon are here, MidSummer Night's Sex Comedy, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Zelig. All are told as fractured fairy tales that create an atmosphere of pure escapism and delight. These three demonstrate the range and flexibility of his vision.Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days are infused with a love of subject that few films match. Again the performances of the ensemble represent some of the finest work by those actors yet. Mia Farrow's performance in Broadway Danny Rose, sinks in as you finally realize its her in the role of Tina Vitale.Hannah and Her Sisters is a tour de force of acting and script. You must see it several times to grasp it's individual performances and appreciate the complete vision it represents of human nature.When you consider the pace with which he makes his films and the balance he exhibits in the stories he chooses to tell, you can appreciate how important Woody Allen is to cinema. Think of him as the Robert Rauschenberg of film, an artist capable of taking elements from anywhere and applying his signature to them, making them his own, just by the way he assembles the pieces. Get this set and if possible try to watch all of them in sequence. I promise that if you are not a Woody Allen fan you will be after seeing this particular group. * INTERESTING NOTE: Here's something to watch for as you are viewing. In Hannah and Her Sisters you will notice a solitary ant that crosses the frame, staggering top to bottom. At first, I thought it was actually on my screen and attempted to "flick" it away. Upon finding it was in the DVD print, I then saw it as a wry Hitchcock-like reference to his role in the animated feature ANTZ. Silly I know, but just another reason to pay close attention to every little thing in his films."
Wonderful survey of Woody's 80's years
matthewslaughter | Arlington, VA USA | 05/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This edition of the Woody Allen Collection is probably the best of the three box sets recently issued by MGM DVD. While Woody is probably best known for his early-70s slapstick comedies ("Sleeper," "Bananas") and his revolutionary reconstruction of the comedy with "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," three of his absolute best films appear in this set. "Zelig," whose technological advances foreshadow those of 1994's Academy Award favorite "Forrest Gump" by nearly ten years, is easily the better film, and the three years Woody spent making this film seems well worth the effort. About a "human chameleon," Leonard Zelig, whose insecure shapeshifting act ranges from pure novelty to affinities with fascism, is as funny as it is sharp. The best film in the set, "The Purple Rose of Cairo," also foreshadows the postmodern nostalgia films of the late 1990s, particularly "Pleasantville." Set during the Depression, this film is about a woman trapped in an awful marriage and an equally dissatisfying job. She escapes the misery of her life by watching films. She watches the same film over and over, and one of the characters comes off the screen to intervene in her life. A wonderful, complex and poignant examination of the conflation between fiction and reality, "The Purple Rose of Cairo," though a sad and dramatic film, is as powerful as anything Woody Allen has directed. The third wonderful film here is "Hannah and Her Sisters," which won three Oscars, is a return to the ensemble sensibility Woody perfected in "Manhattan." "Broadway Danny Rose" is probably the best of the remaining titles--about a hardworking theatrical manager who is failure at his work specifically because he cares so much about the personal wellbeing of his clients. Mia Farrow gives one of her best performances here. "Radio Days" is a narratively complex film about a Jewish family from Rockaway in the 40s whose lives are informed and entertained by the radio (just as we are entertained by the television and the internet today). The one weak film in the set is "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy," which is very similar to the much better Ingmar Bergman film "Smiles of a Summer Night." It involves three couples together in the country one weekend who all seem to be paired with the wrong lover. This set shows an intoxicating run of quality films by a director at the peak of his powers."
Allen's mid 80's work
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 11/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Woody Allen Collection 3 gathers together six of Mr. Allen's films from the 80's. They are amongst the strongest films of his career and they feature his best work with one time wife Mia Farrow. The set features their first film together, the goofy farce, 1981's A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy as well their best film together, 1986's Hannah & Her Sisters. The latter film very well might be Mr. Allen's greatest triumph. He effortlessly weaves together the story of three sisters (Ms. Farrow, Barbara Hershey & Dianne Wiest) that involves a love triangle and Mr. Allen's brush with death that has him searching for religion among numerous hilarious plotlines. Mr. Allen won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and Ms. Wiest & Michael Caine took home Best Supporting Oscars. Zelig is a hilarious mockumentary that involves a man who has no identity of his own, so he morphs into the type of people he is around. It intercuts grainy black and white footage with color shots of experts taking about the famous Zelig. It is something of a forerunner to Forrest Gump as Zelig is seen in historical footage with numerous famous people. 1987's Radio Days is a fond look back at Mr. Allen's childhood while The Purple Rose Of Cairo has the novel idea of a Depression era woman (Ms. Farrow) who has a character from a movie (Jeff Daniels), breaks the fourth wall and comes off the screen into her life. Broadway Danny Rose is one of Mr. Allen's best acting jobs as he plays a talent agent."
Truly the Best Of Woody Allen..............
Stewart Axelrad | San Antonio, Texas United States | 10/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As many of you know, this is the 3rd box set of Woody Allen features to be released on DVD in the past couple of years.
For my money, it represents the beginning of Woody's most imaginative period as a filmmaker. In fact, the 6 films represented here could arguably be called Woody's finest work.
Sophisticated, yet hilariously funny, the plots and dialogue, as well as the peformances, can be viewed again and again without ever becoming stale. (So sue me, I'm a lifelong Woody Allen fan)
Yes, there no are extras save theatrical trailers, but at this price, who cares? Obviously, Woody isn't interested in producing featurettes, etc. and anyway, these films stand on their own as quality adult entertainment. My favorite among this bunch (and this really is a hard call) has to be Hannah and Her Sisters; Woody portrays a crazy hypochondriac who finds out that there may REALLY be something wrong with him. His character in A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is equally funny, an oddball inventor around the turn of the century. Having not actually seen the DVDs, I can't comment on audio/video quality, but if they're anything like the first two box sets, they should be superb. By the way, all of these films will be available separately when the box set is released. A must-buy for all serious Woody Allen fans!"