Sunday, 11 May 2014

Love and Death (1975) 70's Marathon 17#

Directed by: Woody Allen
85 Minutes

Here is another early Woody Allen film, showing his comedic roots. Films like Bananas and Sleeper show many elements of a silent comedy, and feel more like a series of skits than a full movie. Nevertheless, this structure works, and Love and Death provides some hilarious moments, amongst its filmic references to Monty Python, Marx Brothers and Ingmar Bergman.

The Bergman references are clear with the death persona appearing in the film, but rather than black clothing, Allen chose white- a nice change of perception. The film also feels like it has influence from the Marx brothers in the sense we get the one-liners: which is seen in almost all Woody Allen films. “No, I went to a brothel once in my life. I got hiccups you know, it was over like that”

The film’s plot centres on 17th century Russia, and Allen plays cowardly and neurotic Boris. The war with France breaks out, and we eventually get to see Napoleon. The premise sounds ready for some political statements, and indeed, we get a joke or two when Boris is face to face with Napoleon. However, most of all there was slapstick charm, such as the scene where Allen and Diane Keaton are trying to knock someone unconscious with a wine bottle- the sound goes away and we only have sound effects.

Overall, I think this was a comically enjoyable Allen film, and fans should like this one. It would even make a good introductory film to Allen’s huge body of work. It is full of wonderful film references to films like The Seventh Seal and Duck Soup, and the situations and one-liners are bound to make you laugh.




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