Friday, November 11, 2011


When I was in high school back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the teen heartthrob pictures taped inside the lockers of my classmates at dear old St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx included John Travolta, Parker Stevenson, Shaun Cassidy, and other cute lads one might find on the cover of Tiger Beat and the like. But I was always drawn to the so-called offbeat types, like Dustin Hoffman and writer/director Woody Allen, as well as Danny Kaye and Bob Hope in their 1940s movie comedies on WPIX or WOR. If I recall correctly, my sister Cara graduated from Lehman High School in 1976 at a ceremony at Manhattan’s own Carnegie Hall. Afterward, our family went to The Russian Tea Room for a celebratory lunch, all of us dressed to the proverbial nines. I was stunned to see Woody Allen and Dick Cavett standing together in front of us, chatting and waiting for their table! My combination of shyness and politeness kept me from running up to them and blathering like a fangirl. Frankly, I was perfectly content to stand on line quietly with my family, peeking at Allen out of the corner of my eye while munching on jelly-filled mints. However, Mom noticed Allen, too, and although she was never one to go up to celebrities and gush, she knew I was a big Woody Allen fan. As I believe I’ve mentioned in previous TotED posts, my dear beloved Mom was kind and as lovely as the fashion model she used to be—and about as shy as a speeding Mack truck, bless her! (She claimed to have been shy as a youngster, but she obviously got over it by the time I was born!) So I was both embarrassed and excited when Mom strode up to Allen and said in her enthusiastic way, “Mr. Allen, my daughter just loves your movies, and I knew she’d be thrilled if you’d say hello to her.” Allen had a deer-in-the-headlights look (can’t blame him, really; for all he knew, we could’ve been stalkers, or at least pests), while Cavett smirked and said, “Oh, here we go.” Mom gave Cavett a sort of elegant version of The Hairy Eyeball as she said to him, “I wasn’t talking to you, sir.” Then she turned to Allen and said, “It wasn’t so long ago that you were a movie fan like my daughter. How would you feel if someone you admired was rude and dismissive to you?” Looking both chastened and somewhat bewildered, Allen shook my hand, and I thanked him, and then our respective parties went our separate ways in the restaurant for lunch. Ah, if only Mom had lived to see our much more upbeat encounter in 2010 with our favorite Oscar-winner, Adrien Brody!  (For those who didn't read this over at our friend and fellow blogger Clara Fercovic's Via Margutta 51 blog, here's the link:
Woody Allen schlepped here. (So did our family!)
That brings us to this week’s blog post, Manhattan Murder Mystery (MMM—an appropriate acronym for such a delicious movie). For my money, it’s sheer delight, one of Allen’s funniest, most unabashedly entertaining movies. Even the locations are a joy to behold; in addition to the Russian Tea Room, there’s the Cafe Des Artistes, The Chelsea Hotel, and The '21' Club, accompanied by the great music of, among others, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman performing Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing),” and the opening number, the great Bobby Short’s rendition of Cole Porter’s “I Happen to Like New York.” The Oscar-winning team from Annie Hall—including Allen, frequent co-star/former inamorata Diane Keaton, and co-screenwriter Marshall Brickman—reunited for this film after Allen’s relationship with previous co-star/significant-other Mia Farrow ended (a long story in itself). That old magic and the marvelous quirky romantic chemistry Allen and Keaton had together in Annie Hall, Sleeper, Love and Death, and so many others was still there onscreen in full force, as if the two of them had never parted. As much as I liked Mia Farrow in Allen’s movies during the period when they were co-stars as well as lovers (they made 12 movies together, if I recall correctly), I feel Diane Keaton was the perfect choice to play Carol Lipton. While Allen certainly brought out Farrow’s funny side in their comedies, especially in Zelig and Broadway Danny Rose, it always seems to me that when Farrow plays funny everyday people—as opposed to over-the-top funny characters like the ones in Broadway Danny Rose or Radio Days—she often has a kind of a mewling, whiny quality that I feel just wouldn’t have worked for the brainy, bubbly Carol.

Is Ted hoping to make out on this stakeout?
When we meet Carol and Larry Lipton (Allen), their son Nick (Zach Braff, before TV’s Scrubs made him a star) is off to college. Carol is feeling a touch of Empty Nest Syndrome; how will she fill her days? Start a business, like maybe a restaurant, with their longtime friend Ted (Alan Alda at his most charmingly witty and rakish, kinda doing for MMM what David Wayne did for Adam’s Rib)? Ooh, wait, I know just the thing for those midlife blahs—solving a murder! You see, Carol and Larry have a chance encounter in their apartment building’s elevator with an elderly but bright and quick-witted couple, Paul and Lillian House, leading to a friendly chat-turned-impromptu-visit to the House hacienda. Carol and Lillian (Lynn Cohen, best known to Team Bartilucci as Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 thriller Munich) discuss dieting, health/fitness issues, and the Houses’ upcoming wedding anniversary. Paul, played by Broadway producer and character actor Jerry Adler (TV’s The Sopranos, Mad About You, Rescue Me, and the dark 1997 comedy film Six Ways to Sunday, with Adrien Brody in one of his earliest roles) cheerfully shows Larry his stamp collection while Larry quietly yearns to get home in time to watch the Bob Hope movie he’s been looking forward to on TV. (I wonder which one it was? If I’d written the MMM script, it would have been My Favorite Brunette! How charmingly low-tech life was before the invention of the DVR! But I digress….). Not long afterward, Carol and Larry come home from the opera to find ambulances, police, and a covered body; apparently Mrs. House died of a coronary! As time passes, Carol can’t help noticing that their “next-door widower” seems to be taking his beloved wife’s unexpected death rather well…perhaps too well? Carol’s curiosity and yearning for adventure in her own life kicks in, and she embraces her inner Nora Charles. But Carol had better watch her back; this is the kind of thing that gets Alfred Hitchcock’s characters in trouble, only (even) funnier!

At Cafe des Artistes, Marcia knows when to hold ‘em, but does Larry know when to fold ‘em?
At first, Larry is both too skeptical and too busy with his publishing job at HarperCollins to humor Carol’s amateur detective leanings. Where’s Jason Schwartzman as Bored to Death’s version of Jonathan Ames when you need him? At least Ted has both the time and, as a playwright, the imagination to help Carol solve The Case of the Merry Widower, especially since Ted is a divorcĂ©, and not exactly shy about letting his understandable crush on Carol show. What I enjoyed most about MMM‘s amateur sleuthing was that for the most part, Carol, Ted, and eventually Larry pretty much go about searching for clues the way your average Joe or Jo would, with fairly accessible, approachable, down-to-earth DIY tactics. For instance, Carol and Ted stake out the street where Mr. House has been keeping company with a lovely young model, Helen Moss (Melanie Norris). During the stakeout, whenever a woman leaves Helen’s apartment building, Ted yells out, “Helen!” to see if she turns around. Dialing *69 comes in handy, too, when Carol surreptitiously borrows the super’s keys to investigate:

“I’ll pretend I’m a pair of comfortable old shoes until the coast is clear.”
The potential for illicit romance lurks not only with Carol and Ted’s stakeouts, but also with one of Larry’s authors, the alluring, accurately-named Marcia Fox (Anjelica Huston, another one of Team Bartilucci’s favorite Oscar-winners), who’s playfully making eyes at Larry. To Larry’s credit, he truly loves Carol and doesn’t want to lose her. To Marcia’s credit, she tells Larry point blank that if he wants to keep Carol, he’d better make more of an effort. (Fun Fact: As luck would have it, I happened to go to HarperCollins for a job interview the day Allen and Huston were filming that scene in Larry’s office! Although I didn’t get the Editorial Assistant gig I’d hoped for, it was nevertheless a thrill just to get fleeting glimpses of them. But I digress….) Larry finally joins Carol on a stakeout that leads to a rundown Gramercy Park hotel, a corpse, and a chase leading to New Jersey. It’s a zany, funny ride as the Liptons find themselves in all manner of suspenseful situations with just the kind of witty goofiness you’d expect from writers Allen and Brickman and that ingratiating cast. (I cracked up when Larry “takes care of” hotel employee Aida Turturro with one dollar!) See what happens when middle-aged people have too much time on their hands?
Will our heroes push up daisies in The Garden State?

As Nick and Nora, er, Larry and Carol dash around scenic parts of Manhattan and New Jersey trying to find clues without getting themselves murdered, the cowardly if practical Larry keeps kvetching and Carol keeps grumbling about how “Ted would know what to do…” It’s a delightful tip of the hat to Allen and Keaton’s 1973 classic Sleeper and its President’s Nose/“Emo would know what to do” gag! Just thinking about the comparison had me laughing even more than I already was! More affectionate salutes to classic movies abound, including the Vertigo ad on a crosstown bus, where Carol is sure she’s just seen the allegedly dead Mrs. House looking very much alive at the moment; and the big finale with our beleaguered couple and villain caught in a funny yet suspenseful send-up of Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai in Mr. House’s revival theater. Larry gasps, “I’ll never say life doesn’t imitate art again!”

As Larry Lipton, Allen gives himself most of the best lines as he quips and dithers his way through their adventures, and why not? After all, who can say Woody Allen’s dialogue better than the man himself? Play to your strengths, I always say! Some of his best MMM lines:

On the emotions Wagnerian opera brings out in Larry: “…I always feel like invading Poland.”

On how Carol’s been dwelling on sinister things since she decided to play amateur detective : “You should wear happy glasses.”

Stunned to discover that a key player in the mystery plot is dead, and after they’d brought her a gift and everything: “She’s dead? Try giving her the present!”

Begging Carol to get rid of her fixation on the case and her jealousy of Marcia: “There’s nothing wrong with you that couldn’t be cured with Prozac and a polo mallet.”

Looking for Maxwell House, Carol finds Mrs. House!
MMM boasts stellar work from the rest of the supporting cast, too, including smart, sexy Huston, who turns out to be a pretty slick dilettante detective in her own right, bringing out the green-eyed monster in our heroine. When Carol feels like Marcia Fox is stealing both her thunder and Ted’s crush on her, you half-expect her to shout in exasperation, “It’s always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Marge Redmond of Hitchcock’s Family Plot and TV’s The Flying Nun plays Mr. House’s right-hand woman Mrs. Dalton. Redmond gets an especially nice scene in the big movie theater climax; the catch in her voice as she quotes Everett Sloane in The Lady from Shanghai always touches my heart. I also liked Joy Behar and Ron Rifkin’s scenes as two of the couple’s friends, who help out with their recording studio, resulting in a shakedown ruse that goes hilariously awry. By the way, is it me, or does Paul House’s pretty young model girlfriend Helen Moss (Melanie Norris) dress rather like Annie Hall? (Tangent Alert…For the most part, I’ve liked Alan Alda best on the TV version of M*A*S*H and in other people’s movies, rather than the films he wrote and directed himself. Whenever Alda has donned the director’s hat, it’s always seemed to me that he gets preachy, self-conscious, and sensitive in a trying-too-hard way. Heck, I even liked him better in the otherwise disappointing thriller Whispers in the Dark until writer/director Christopher Crowe suddenly turned Alda’s character into an overwrought, frothing-at-the-mouth psycho. No wonder Alda won the Razzie that year!…End Tangent Alert.)

That’s not the kind of helping hand our heroes need! 

Is that pride skeptical Larry is swallowing there in the elevator?

Eye contact is crucial when you’re catching killers!

Uh-oh! This wasn't the kind of movie-date night our heroes had in mind!

Life imitates art with the Mrs. Dalton gang!

But overall, MMM is Woody Allen Light—Light-Hearted, that is! Don’t take my word for it, watch this charming last scene (or don’t, if you’d rather be surprised):

“…And the punchline is, ‘Would you believe I’m waiting for a train?’”

Special photo treat from our pal and fab fellow blogger Caftan Woman
Her sister Maureen got to meet Woody Allen in person!
Read all about it in C.W.'s true-life anecdote in TotED's Comments Section!

“…And the punchline is, ‘Would you believe I’m waiting for a train?’” 


  1. That story about you meeting Woody is amazing.

    Thanks so much for writing about MMM. I think it's one of Woody Allen's five or so best movies, and no one ever really talks about it. The scene where Larry and Carol crash Ted and Marcia's date to talk about the murder (and then the tape recorder scene shortly after) easily stand up to any moment from his early, funny movies in the "making me laugh" department.

    MMM is also the only Woody Allen movie my wife has ever enjoyed (of the few she's seen). She generally doesn't like Woody as an actor. So I was trying to figure out the difference between Larry and his other characters.

    And I think the thing is that, in Larry, he managed to write a character for himself that has all of the funny parts of his persona and none of the pretension. He still has the nervous energy, and he gets to do some intelligent put-downs (I love the "invade Poland" like you mentioned), but there's no scenes of him or anyone else standing around talking about philosophy. It's the closest thing he's ever been to an actual everyman.

    And I agree completely that the movie so much better with Diane Keaton than it would have with Mia Farrow. Larry and Carol really do feel a version of Annie and Alvy who somehow made it to middle-age and are now (mostly) comfortably happy in their relationship.

    Finally, I think Jerry Adler is the movie's secret MVP. For much of it, Mr. House needs to be 1) acting oddly enough that Carol thinks he killed his wife, and also 2) acting normally enough that Larry thinks Carol is being ridiculous. And Adler absolutely nails it.

  2. You have the most interesting connections to the most interesting movies.

    I love the whole feel of the movie, but what I like best is that it is a movie with "real" music, my kind of music.

    Here's a picture of my sister Maureen with Woody when she was stalking him during a 2008 visit to NYC. She claims he was laughing just before the picture was snapped. She wouldn't lie about a thing like that.

  3. Anthony, having enjoyed your wit and wisdom on Twitter, I'm delighted that you've dropped by to join in the conversation here at Tales of the Easily Distracted (TotED for short)! Thanks very much indeed for your praise of my post! I'm pleased that you enjoyed my Woody Allen anecdote, too.

    You've definitely hit the proverbial nail on the head with your observation that as Larry Lipton, Woody Allen displays all his funny, smart, appealing attributes, without the pretentiousness he's sometimes prone to. I'm glad you agree that Diane Keaton was the best choice to play Carol Lipton, too. And I completely agree with you that Jerry Adler struck exactly the right notes as Mr. House; he truly kept me guessing.

    Thanks for joining the TotED chat, Anthony! You and your dear wife are welcome to drop by and comment anytime!

  4. Caftan Woman, thanks a million for your positive feedback on my MMM post and my Woody Allen experience! Extra special thanks also for being generous enough to share your sister Maureen's Woody Allen anecdote and photo! It's a very nice picture; people will say they're in love! :-) Since it really is a nice picture, I didn't think you'd mind if I posted it here on the blog for all to enjoy (crediting you, of course!).

    I completely agree with your comments about MMM's music, too. Like you, I love to hear "real" music in movies that feels spontaneous and natural, like a perfect fit.

  5. "Mo" will be thrilled you included her picture. Thanks a lot.

    There are times when nothing will do but a Woody Allen movie - or a post on Tales of the Easily Distracted.

  6. Caftan Woman, your comment put a big smile on my face, and I hope "Mo" will feel that way when she sees that charming photo of herself with Woody Allen! We of Team Bartilucci always happy to give nice shoutouts to deserving pals like you, and your kinfolk, too! :-)

  7. Obviously, I need to reappraise this movie. I saw it once a long time ago back when I was working in video retail and while I didn't hate it, neither did it leave that big an impression on me. Of the Woody comedies from this era, I like 'Bullets Over Broadway' and 'Radio Days.'

    Your mom sounds like she was pretty awesome.

  8. As a die-hard NY Woody fan, all I can say is I love, love, loved this!! I, too, was one of those starry-eyed teens who made my parent take me to the Russian Tea Room (they were more the Sizzler types). How lucky for you to see Woody! I only got to see Suzanne Pleshette be rude to a waiter. However, my friend, who used to work at the New Yorker, knew Woody from rides in the elevator. He said the Woodman was always in a raincoat no matter what the weather and that he made eye contact with no one. As for MMM - a light delight - and from Woody, that's high art to the rest of the world.

  9. Team Bartilucci's longtime friend and former fellow CAPrA cohort Ken Pettit has been trying to leave comments here at TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED for some time, but alas, Blogger and Google haven't been good to him. Therefore, I've taken the liberty of posting Ken's e-mail to me. Here it is, for your reading pleasure:

    "Hi Dorian,

    I attempted to reply to your most recent movie blog (MMM) under Google but had no luck. This isn't the first time I've made an attempt to comment regarding your blog, but this time I thought I had it down pat. Screw it. I'm too tired to reconstruct what I said here (especially since this is the second email I've typed to you; the first one was all but completed and somehow or another I lost it a few minutes ago.) Anyway. I recall you mentioning other folks had had a similar problem.

    Enjoyed your overview of the film. It's been a long time since I have seen the movie, and you made me want to see it again. Just wanted to let you know that I read all of them even if I am apparently 'cursed' to never be able to say anything. Finally, congrats regarding your Double Indemnity nomination. One of my Top 10 movies, and one that as I recall I wrote you about - TO NO DAMNED AVAIL.

    Ever see Games (1967, with James Cann?) I saw it on TV when it came out, but then it vanished. Netflix had it for streaming a few months ago, and I jumped at the chance to see it again (even if it was shown in the wrong ration.) I think it's a film you might enjoy. I think it's gone from Netflix now.

    Best to you & yours,

    Ken, if you're managing to read this, thanks a million for your intelligent, much-appreciated positive feedback! Next time you want to leave a comment here at TotED and the Comment option won't behave, by all means please feel free to send me an e-mail with your comments, and I'll gladly post them here at TotED, crediting the comments to you. (That goes for anyone else who's been having trouble with Blogger or Google, too.) I'm sorry you went through so much inconvenience, but glad you persevered and got your comments to all of us here; thanks again, my friend! I'll keep an eye out for GAMES, too; it's a film I've heard about for years, but never caught up with it -- yet! :-)

  10. Rich, thanks for your kind words! My family and friends and I can attest that Mom was indeed "pretty awesome," and then some, having had a colorful life herself. What a gal, bless her!

    BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and RADIO DAYS are definitely big favorites in our family, but over the years we've become increasingly fond of MMM because we're approaching Carol and Larry's ages ourselves (except that our daughter is still a teenager; college is still a ways off), so we can identify with them to a certain extent. Of course, we don't live in NYC anymore, but it's close enough for an occasional day trip; we can feel like Woody Allen characters for a day! :-)

  11. FlickChick, thanks a million for your enthusiastic praise of my MMM post! You're a gal after my own heart, especially considering you're a fellow native New Yorker! :-) True, Team Bartilucci has lived in NE PA since 2001 (hubby Vinnie's then-workplace relocated from NYC to NE PA); nevertheless, you can take the gal out of NYC, but you can't take NYC out of the gal!

    I'm delighted to hear that your parents overrode their Sizzler tendencies to take you to The Russian Tea Room! :-) (Who knows, our families might have been there at the same time!) I loved your anecdote about your friend at The New Yorker seeing Allen in the elevator in his typical Woody garb, though I'm sorry to hear that another of Team B.'s faves, Suzanne Pleshette, was rude to a waiter. Dare we hope she was only having a bad day, and this was only an isolated incident?

    In any case, FlickChick, as practical as my dear Mom was, she also loved NYC's glamor, and she went out of her way to bring us to all of the city's most beloved landmarks and attractions, which we greatly appreciated. (It didn't hurt that Mom and Dad were comfortably well-off at the time, well before recessions reared their nasty heads.) But I absolutely agree that "As for MMM - a light delight - and from Woody, that's high art to the rest of the world. " Thanks for joining in the conversation, as always!

  12. I really enjoyed reading your story about meeting Woody. I always enjoy reading about star sightings they are always fun to read. I also, need to check out this movie..

  13. Dawn, I'm happy that you enjoyed my MMM post and our family anecdote about meeting Woody Allen -- many thanks! Hope you get to see MMM sometime; I think you'd enjoy it!

  14. Hey, fellow Diane Keaton fans, you know she has a book coming out, right? Her new memoir, THEN AGAIN (Random House), about both Keaton and her indomitable mother, will be in bookstores on November 15th in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle. I know what I want for Christmas! :-) Check out for more info:

  15. Dorian,
    Thanks for sharing your little meet and greet with Woody Allen and at the fabulous Russian Tea Room no less. Your meeting reminded me of a documentary I watched recently on the Sundance Channel where Woody was being filmed while in France while on tour with his band. He was so awkward and embarrassed when his assistant would let him know he had hoards of fans waiting outside the hotel or if there was a hotel staff member wanting to meet him or get his autograph. He hates crowds and he was so uncomfortable when anyone other than his inner circle approached him. He had to be coaxed for at least two hours before exiting the hotel and facing his adoring fans, even at a distance. I don't think he understands just how loved and admired he is. Although he's socially awkward to be sure I think he's very humble with his celebrity status.

    Now, for your wonderful review! I'm a big fan of Woody's films and I actually watched Annie Hall for the first time a couple of months ago (Odd isn't it?) I loved Manhattan Murder Mystery and especially the hilarious Alan Alda. I will watch anything he's in though. My favorite of his films is The Four Seasons which he produced and directed.

    The sets were almost as interesting as the dialogue in MMM for me, only meaning that it was filmed beautifully around New York. (Allen's muse) I got a laugh at your "inner Nora Charles". MMM is Woody at his best and he would be proud of your fine review.
    (Perhaps you should email it to him, being old pals and all, I just know he would read it.)

    Another well thought out article. Great fun!

  16. Page, you're a sweetie! Thanks for your bountiful positive feedback on my MMM post! Considering how shy/insecure Woody Allen apparently is, the poor man might get the vapors if I even considered sending him my glowing MMM review. Bless him, he's like the male Garbo! Anyway, knowing and you and other folks are reading and enjoying this and/or other TotED blog posts makes me happy and proud already!

    As I've said, I generally like Alan Alda best in other people's movies rather than his own. That said, I did like THE FOUR SEASONS, but somehow the follow-ups didn't do anything for me -- not that it should stop you from enjoying them! In any case, I thought Alda was delightful in MMM, and a great competitor for Diane Keaton's affections! :-) (Looking forward to Keaton's upcoming book THEN AGAIN, too!)

    Page, thanks again for your charming and witty comments; it's always a pleasure to have you drop by and join the conversation!

  17. Hey, fellow TotED pals, please welcome longtime friend and former CAPrAn correspondent John Hartzell, a.k.a. MIDDLE AGE RIOT, his fun and quirky Web site and comic! Check him out at the link below:

  18. I saw this a while back and wasn't as thrilled with it as you, Dorian. Can't help it, my tolerance for Woody Allen has a very low threshold.

    I'm with Rich on this one.

    But I'm going to take another look because of your enthusiasm.

    I do vaguely remember that the ending was a HUGE disappointment - it all sort of petered out.

    Ah, The Russian Tearoom. I used to work a couple of blocks away and always passed it to and fro during lunch or whatever. Only got to eat there once and boy am I sorry I'll never get another chance. LOVED THAT PLACE!!

    Okay, I have to get this off my chest:

    I'm sorry but I simply can't imagine anyone sleeping with Woody Allen. I. Just. Can't.

    To me he is asexual. (I know in reality he is anything but.) While I did enjoy another of his films, MANHATTAN, (primarily because of the city scenery) - I couldn't get with the obvious program of a young and beautiful girl in love with this wrinkly un-handsome, disgruntled, schlepy little guy. I mean, he looks like a q-tip!

    I always felt as if Allen's ego was as huge as the Empire State Building and as wide as Pennsylvania. It's hard not to see that ego jostling for position whenever he's on screen.

    Wood Allen movies I liked:

    MANHATTAN (even if I didn't go with the flow)

    But just for you, Dorian, I'm going to rewatch MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY...come to think of it, I haven't seen BULLETS OVER BROADWAY in a long time either.

    And another thing: Alan Alda. LOVED him as the Republican candidate in the best television series of all time, THE WEST WING.

    As always, thanks for another great, thought provoking and funny post.

  19. Yvette, I'm happy to say that in recent years, The Russian Tea Room has reopened! Some say it's better than ever, others think it has room for improvement. Guess we'll have to save up our pennies and try it out for ourselves! :-)

    Don't worry, it's OK with me if Woody Allen doesn't happen to be your cup of tea! :-) I will say, however, that to have lasted as long in show business as Woody Allen has, I don't doubt for a minute that he probably DOES have a big ego. Heck, probably anyone in show business needs to have a big ego under those circumstances in that business! At the very least, surely Allen has enough self-confidence, or at least enough chutzpah, to go around with women young enough to be his daughter! :-) But hey, I don't want to marry the guy, I just want to see his movies -- specifically, the ones known as Allen's "early, funny ones," not to mention MMM! :-)

    In any case, Yvette, I think our friend Anthony (see the first comment of the MMM comments) made an excellent point when he said: "In Larry, (Allen) managed to write a character for himself that has all of the funny parts of his persona and none of the pretension...It's the closest thing he's ever been to an actual everyman." I also think re-teaming with Diane Keaton for MMM worked beautifully; their past history as a couple truly informs Allen and Keaton's performances as long-married Carol and Larry. (But I must admit I couldn't help giggling when you described Allen as resembling a Q-Tip!) I do agree that HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (a film that saved Christmas Eve for me one year, but that's a story for another time),
    RADIO DAYS, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (did John Cusack channel Woody, or what?), and MANHATTAN are certainly among Allen's best. I also think BROADWAY DANNY ROSE and ZELIG are great fun. If you haven't seen Allen's latest film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, please do; I think it's one of his most entertaining films in years. No, I'm not just saying that because Adrien Brody stole the show in his scene as Salvador Dali, but it sure didn't hurt! :-)

    Yvette, I always enjoy our conversations because even when our opinions vary, we can cheerfully agree to disagree! :-) Glad you dropped by, as always!

    P.S.: For the first time in a while, I've gotten an opportunity to read a real live book, FICTION NOIR from Hen House Press! If you're interested, check out my brand-new TotED post:

    (Should that have had a SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT? :-))

  20. Dorian,

    Wow! You opening paragraph brings back memories, not of having Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson or Travolta's photos hanging in my locker, but watching Bob Hope, and Danny Kaye on WPIX and WOR TV. I was also a big fan of Kaye's TV variety show that was on CBS in the 1960's. The encounter with Woody Allen and your mother is classic laugh out loud stuff.
    MMM is a great comedy, one of my top 10 Woody's, very near the top, probably raking just beneath Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters. I actually watch this film just about once every year. When I first got married we were living in NYC on the Upper East Side and only blocks away from where Woody and Keaton's characters were living. A few years later and now living in Atlanta, the DVD came out for MMM and I use to get homesick just watching this film.

    It's amazing how since the end of MASH, Alan Alda has played so many sleazy types, and so well. Here he has got the hoots for Keaton and most recently he plays a ponzie scheming Bernie Madoff type millionaire in the new film TOWER HEIST.

    Your review is as enjoyable as the movie itself. A great read.

    If you are interested, I have attached my own inept review that I did about this film a couple of years ago (I really should delete it and do it over).


  21. Another wonderful review, Dorian. But the best part was reading about your family's encounter with Woody and your shy Mom taking the initiative for her daughter. Not all fans are as thoughtful as your Mom. I once sat three rows back from Tom Selleck in a Broadway theatre. One seat behind a woman shouted, for all to hear: "Look, it's Tom Selleck!" I expect that's what life is like for a celebrity....

  22. Hey, John, I don't cotton to folks who insult my fellow blogger friends' writing -- meaning that you, my friend, did a fine job of reviewing MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY, and you should be proud of it instead of claiming it was "inept"! So there! :-)

    I know what you mean about feeling homesick for your native NYC, being a native New Yorker myself. When Team B. moved to NE PA after the company Vinnie worked for at the time relocated, MMM and other NYC-set movies went a long way in staving off homesickness. Happily, we were also fortunate enough to move to an area that was a little under two hours' drive to Manhattan, so we can still make day trips when time, money, and weather permits.

    You show great timing in mentioning Danny Kaye's CBS 1960s variety show, because I'm about to do a remix of my February blog post about THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY for The Scarlett Olive's "For The Boys" Blogathon this very weekend; more captions, more musical numbers, more fun, and it's even set in NYC! :-)

    Thanks for your great comments, my friend, and like the song says, accentuate the positive! :-)

  23. Rick, many thanks for your praise for my MMM post, as well as sharing your anecdote about the oafish theater-goer giving Tom Selleck a disruptive shoutout! I guess that woman was lucky Katharine Hepburn wasn't the star of the show, as I've heard anecdotes about Kate the Great taking rude audience members to task right there on the stage! :-)

    Yes, indeed, my dear mom was quite the strong, protective Mama Bear if you wronged her cubs (us kids, no matter how old we were :-)), and we loved her for it! Mom was as colorful and strong-willed as she was warm and lovable, bless her; it runs in Mom's side of the family, the Cherrys. Nobody messes with a Cherry Girl! And yes, when Mom and my Auntie Joy were young, they were kidded plenty about their surname, but Mom and Auntie Joy gave back as good as they got! :-)