Cover image for The films of Woody Allen
The films of Woody Allen
Girgus, Sam B., 1941-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xii, 200 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Reading Level:
1400 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.A45 G57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Sam Girgus argues that Allen has consistently been on the cutting edge of contemporary critical and cultural consciousness. Allen continues to challenge notions of authorship, narrative, perspective, character, theme, ideology, gender and sexuality. This revised and updated edition includes two new chapters that examine Allen's work since 1992. Girgus thoughtfully asserts that the scandal surrounding Allen's personal life in the early 1990s has altered his image in ways that reposition moral consciousness in his work.

Author Notes

Sam B. Girgus is professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book is one in a series (Cambridge Film Classics) of "cutting-edge reassessments of the canonical works of film"; Girgus manages, often with strain, sometimes with grace, to satisfy the series' unfortunate claim. His strangely uneven book examines five films of Woody Allen. The chapters on Annie Hall and Crimes and Misdemeanors are truly excellent, as good as Graham McCann's Woody Allen: New Yorker (CH, Oct'90). Girgus gives Annie Hall, "a journey through unconscious desire," a fascinating Freudian interpretation; Crimes and Misdemeanors is examined not only as a complex of eye imagery and "Jewishness," but also as an example, a crucial example, of how a camera can move from the depiction of external or physical concerns to internal conflict. Three other chapters--on Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters--are not nearly so sharp. The mind is bright, the eye is keen (especially regarding visual composition), but the insights add up to an only moderately helpful guide through the craft and meaning of these important films. The preface, suggesting that Allen's personal tragedy renders an "interpretative study" rather urgent, is a mistake. The introduction chapter may not be academic writing at its worst, but the style is marred by a tendency toward condescension, jargon, and pomposity. This cannot be said of the rest of the book. Girgus, both at his best and worst, stresses the importance to Woody Allen's films of Freud or Freudian concerns. He is correct.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to the revised edition: the prisoner of aura: the lost world of Woody Allen
2 Reconstruction and revision in Woody Allen's films
3 Desire and narrativety in Annie Hall
4 Love in Manhattan
5 Zelig and The Purple Rose of Cairo: Allen and poststructural anxiety
6 A happy ending: Hannah and Her Sisters
7 The eyes of God: seeking justice in Crimes and Misdemeanors
8 Allen's fall: mind, morals, and meaning in Deconstructing Harry