Cover image for Woody Allen's angst : philosophical commentaries on his serious films
Woody Allen's angst : philosophical commentaries on his serious films
Lee, Sander H.
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Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [1997]

Physical Description:
ix, 402 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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PN1998.3.A45 L44 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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While Woody Allen is generally considered to be a master of the comic genre he created, his serious films are very important in understanding his role as one of this generation's more influential filmmakers. In this work such Allen films as Annie Hall (1977), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Mighty Aphrodite (1995) are analyzed for the common philosophical themes they share. Gender issues, Allen's love-hate relationship with God, narcissism and moral relativism, and the use of the so-called existential dilemma are among the topics discussed. The extensive research is augmented with a rare interview with Allen.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Movie-loving academics and intellectuals have long wanted a serious, nongossipy, uncondescending study of Allen. Nancy Pogel (Woody Allen, CH, Oct'87) was a step in the right direction. Now comes a fuller answer to their prayers, a book that is, according to Lee (Keene State College), "the first ... to be written by a philosopher." It's true that Lee's style is often inflated, with misguided use of "undisputed," "obviously," "we all know ..." "of course"; that his professional jargon ("ontic," "apodicticity," "hermeneutically") is unyielding and stern; that it takes him 50 pages to crank up his engine. But when he is in good form--e.g., on Zelig, Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives--he is exhilarating. References to Kant, Descartes, Buber, Sartre, Soloveitchik, and Becker make his text tough sledding. Although Lee knows movies not as movies but only as meaning--a script is a philosophical discourse--he writes maturely, respectfully, intelligently. The darker the film, the more brightly Lee shines. What he does with the pessimistic films (starting with Annie Hall) is invaluable. If someone now explores the comic films as thoughtfully as Lee explores the serious, readers will have a firm grasp of Allen's meaning (if not his craft). Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. P. H. Stacy emeritus, University of Hartford