Woody Allen Collection, Vol. 1
Woody Allen started the 1970s as a quirky comedian who had just launched a second career writing and directing manic comedies; at decade's end, he was one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his generation. The Woody Allen Gift Set is a box-set collection that brings together the eight films he directed between 1971 and 1980, arguably his most important period as a filmmaker. In Bananas (1971), Woody plays Fielding Mellish who, while trying to impress his girlfriend (Louise Lasser), somehow becomes the leader of San Marcos, a politically unstable country in Latin America. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972) is a seven-part comedy with sketches inspired by Dr. David Reuben's best-selling book; Allen appears in four of the seven episodes, with Gene Wilder, Lynn Redgrave, Burt Reynolds, Tony Randall and Regis Philbin also highlighting the cast. In Sleeper (1973), Woody plays Miles Monroe, who is accidentally frozen following an ulcer operation and revived in the year 2173, where he has a hard time fitting in; Diane Keaton co-stars. Allen's fondness for Russian literature gets a comic workout in Love and Death (1975), in which renowned coward Boris (Allen) and his wife Sonia (Keaton) become involved in a plot to assassinate Napoleon. Annie Hall (1977) was Allen's breakthrough film, a superb blend of comedy and drama that charts the often rocky path of a romance between comic Alvy Singer (Allen) and aspiring singer and photographer Annie Hall (Keaton); the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1977. Interiors (1978) was Allen's first film with no comic elements and the first film he directed in which he did not appear; this drama of a family in crisis stars Diane Keaton, E.G. Marshall, Maureen Stapleton, and Geraldine Page. Manhattan (1979), often cited as the best film of Allen's career, is an alternately witty and heart-tugging romantic comedy-drama about a TV writer (Allen) and his various romantic and professional troubles; the cast also includes Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Murphy, and Meryl Streep. And Stardust Memories was Allen's tribute to the work of Federico Fellini, in which he plays a filmmaker who has reached an impasse in both his professional and personal lives; starring with Allen are Charlotte Rampling, Marie-Christine Barrault, Jessica Harper, and Tony Roberts.