Woody Allen: A Life in Film

Woody Allen: A Life in Film

by Richard Schickel
     
 

In an unprecedented television program last year, Woody Allen spoke to the camera for the first time about the entire range of his work, in an interview with Richard Schickel, the distinguished film critic and historian. Mr. Allen talked about how he does it, why he does it, its roots in his early life, and his current thinking about the state of his art. The

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Overview

In an unprecedented television program last year, Woody Allen spoke to the camera for the first time about the entire range of his work, in an interview with Richard Schickel, the distinguished film critic and historian. Mr. Allen talked about how he does it, why he does it, its roots in his early life, and his current thinking about the state of his art. The result Woody Allen: A Life in Film, was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed programs in the history of Turner Classic Movies. But the presentation contained only a small fraction of Mr. Schickel's four-hour interview with the famed writer-director-actor. This new book reprints the complete conversation between the two men and includes a long essay of introduction by Mr. Schickel, which places Woody Allen's entire career in critical perspective. Readers will find Mr. Allen's reflections on his major preoccupations—the battle of the sexes; the conflict between reality and fantasy in his major films; mortality, religion, and the role that chance plays in the unfolding of our lives. The book also offers insights into Mr. Allen's working methods as a writer and the growth of his skills as a director, as well as his assessment of himself as an actor and his surprising views of his long life in the public eye. Brief but sharply honed, Woody Allen: A Life in Film is an essential book for anyone seeking to understand the life and times of one of the most important and least understood American filmmakers of our era.

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Editorial Reviews

Virginia Quarterly Review
Schickel is a thoughtful observer and critic, a lively writer….
America: The National Catholic Weekly
A breezy, readable entry to Allen's vast bibliography...with an excellent Introduction and Afterword.
— Richard A. Blake
Hartford Courant - Owen McNally
...This book also offers new, tasty, nutritious stuff for Woody loyalists to savor.
Booklist - Gordon Flagg
Even those who have lost who have lost patience with Allen's recent efforts will want to read what he has to say about his 1970s masterworks.
Jeanine Basinger
As usual, Richard Schickel has nailed his subject, and this time his subject is a particularly hard one to nail.
Steven Bach
Witty, surprising, important (but never self-important), and—best of all—moving...a compact but very real treasure...graceful and perceptive...wonderful.
America: The National Catholic Review - Richard A. Blake
A breezy, readable entry to Allen's vast bibliography...with an excellent Introduction and Afterword.
The Buffalo News
Schickel may well be the smartest, most practiced and least axe-grinding interviewer Allen has ever had.
Foreword Reviews
The author pleads a strong case that as a gifted writer and actor of limited range, Woody Allen deserves a more prominent position in the motion picture arts.
Forecast
…Fascinating biography of a giant in film…
Booklist
Even those who have lost who have lost patience with Allen's recent efforts will want to read what he has to say about his 1970s masterworks.
— Gordon Flagg
Chicago Tribune
Clearly, Allen is comfortable talking to Schickel...a brisk read.
Foreword
The author pleads a strong case that as a gifted writer and actor of limited range, Woody Allen deserves a more prominent position in the motion picture arts.
Newport News Press
…Thoughtful, critical insights into Allen's screen works.
The New York Times
While Allen's work seems to highlight a continuing struggle in dealing with death, he makes it clear in an interview with the film critic Richard Schickel in Woody Allen: A Life in Film that he himself is not encumbered by existential gloom. For Allen, the relief from the inevitable cycle of life and death is magic and fantasy, common ingredients in his films (for example, ''Stardust Memories,'' ''Alice'' and ''The Purple Rose of Cairo''. — Richard Simon Chang
BUFFALO NEWS
Schickel may well be the smartest, most practiced and least axe-grinding interviewer Allen has ever had.
Hartford Courant
Thoughtful, critical insights into Allen's screen works...This book also offers new stuff for Woody loyalists to savor.
NEWPORT NEWS PRESS
...Thoughtful, critical insights into Allen's screen works.
National Catholic Weekly
"A breezy, readable entry to Allen's vast bibliography...with an excellent Introduction and Afterword."
RAINBO ELECTRONIC REVIEWS
It's an easy read and fans will enjoy it.
Publishers Weekly
Part overview of the director's cinematic career, part interview with Allen himself, this handy book couldn't have been written by someone with more impeccable credentials. As Time's longtime film critic, Schickel is one of the deans of the milieu. He approaches his subject with an obvious admiration (Schickel immersed himself in studying every one of Allen's films for a month each), but manages not to engage in too much idol worship. The sit-down interview with the reclusive director is the most revealing section, filled with fresh glimpses into his films. There, readers learn that Annie Hall was originally called Anhedonia, until studio execs begged Allen to rename it; and that Allen sees very few of his films as artistic successes. The book's structure is quite rambling-dwelling on one film, going on to another and returning again to the first-which can be disconcerting at times. But real conversations are like that, and the book's lack of order doesn't prevent it from being a rare window into one of the great minds of modern cinema. (Sept. 5) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This slim volume by Schickel (whose previous works include biographies of Cary Grant and James Cagney and a definitive expos of Walt Disney's life and practices) consists of a 70-page introduction to Allen's films and life, followed by the edited transcript of a long interview Schickel had with Allen when he was making a 90-minute television program about Allen and his films for cable. This is an urbane and readable work and will be of great interest to avid Allen fans, but it does not add very much to the general body of critical work on Allen's films. An optional purchase for academic and public libraries where there is a strong interest in Allen's work.-Andrea Slonosky, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Buffalo News
Schickel may well be the smartest, most practiced and least axe-grinding interviewer Allen has ever had.
ForeWord Reviews
The author pleads a strong case that as a gifted writer and actor of limited range, Woody Allen deserves a more prominent position in the motion picture arts.
America: The National Catholic Weekly
A breezy, readable entry to Allen's vast bibliography...with an excellent Introduction and Afterword.
— Richard A. Blake

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566635288
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
09/28/2003
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,035,405
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.87(d)

What People are saying about this

Steven Bach
Witty, surprising, important (but never self-important), and—best of all—moving...a compact but very real treasure...graceful and perceptive...wonderful.
Jeanine Basinger
As usual, Richard Schickel has nailed his subject, and this time his subject is a particularly hard one to nail.
NEWPORT NEWS PRESS
...Thoughtful, critical insights into Allen's screen works.
Publishers Weekly
A rare window into one of the great minds of modern cinema.

Meet the Author

Richard Schickel's most recent book is Good Morning, Mr. Zip Zip Zip, his memoir of growing up in the World War II years. A film critic for Time for many years, Mr. Schickel has written biographies of Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, James Cagney, D. W. Griffith, Cary Grant, and Walt Disney, as well as The Men Who Made the Movies, His Picture in the Papers, and Intimate Strangers, a pioneering study of celebrity. He also produces films for television. Mr. Schickel lives in Los Angeles.

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