Allan Stewart Konigsberg – Woody Allen

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; De...

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, comedian, and playwright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Woody Allen (* 1. Dezember 1935 in Brooklyn, New York; bürgerlich Allan Stewart Konigsberg) ist ein US-amerikanischer Komiker, Filmregisseur, Autor, Schauspieler und Musiker. Neben den über 50 Filmen als Drehbuchschreiber und Regisseur hat Woody Allen zahlreiche Erzählungen, Theaterstücke und Kolumnen geschrieben. Darüber hinaus ist er begeisterter Jazzmusiker.

Allen gilt als einer der bedeutendsten Filmregisseure unserer Zeit. Er wurde 23 Mal für den Oscar nominiert und erhielt die Auszeichnung viermal: 1978 für Der Stadtneurotiker in den Sparten Bester Regisseur und Bestes Drehbuch, 1986 mit Hannah und ihre Schwestern und 2012 mit Midnight in Paris jeweils für das beste Drehbuch. Allen nahm die Auszeichnungen nie persönlich entgegen.

Français : Woody Allen au festival de Cannes.

Français : Woody Allen au festival de Cannes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allen Stewart Konigsberg wurde als Sohn jüdischer Eltern im New Yorker Stadtteil Brooklyn geboren. Beide Elternteile waren in der Lower East Side von Manhattan geboren und aufgewachsen. Der Vater Martin Konigsberg, ein Diamantenschleifer (* 25. Dezember 1900; † 13. Januar 2001), die Mutter Nettie Cherry Konigsberg (* 8. November 1906; † 27. Januar 2002) und Allens Schwester Letty (* 1943) lebten in Flatbush, einem jüdisch geprägten Viertel. Die Großeltern waren deutschsprachige bzw. jiddisch-sprechende Immigranten und auch in Allens Familie waren diese Sprachen neben dem Englischen noch geläufig. Obwohl die Eltern keine orthodoxen Juden waren, schickten sie ihren Sohn acht Jahre lang auf eine hebräische Schule. Danach absolvierte Allen die Public School 99 und die Midwood High School, wo Red, so der Spitzname des schmächtigen Rotschopfs, zum ersten Mal auf sich aufmerksam machte: durch sein herausragendes Talent im Kartenspiel (ein geflügeltes Wort in der Midwood High war „Never play cards with Konigsberg“).

English: Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen at the...

English: Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Whatever Works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Er entwickelte ein gewisses Interesse fürs Theater, vor allem aber für das Kino und die Radioshows der 1940er Jahre, wie Duffy’s Tavern oder The Great Gildersleeve. Und er spielte täglich Klarinette, bis zu zwei Stunden. Um sein Taschengeld aufzubessern, begann er damit, für die Agentur David O. Alber Gags zu schreiben, die an Kolumnisten großer Tageszeitungen verkauft wurden. Dank seines Talents und der von ihm geknüpften Beziehungen durfte er bald Entertainment-Stars wie Sid Caesar zuarbeiten. Als 16 Jahre alter Frischling im Showbusiness beschloss Konigsberg, fortan den Künstlernamen „Woody Allen“ zu tragen.

English: Owen Wilson and Woody Allen at the Ca...

English: Owen Wilson and Woody Allen at the Cannes film festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trotz seines einträglichen Jobs belegte er – seinen Eltern zuliebe – einen Communications Arts Course an der New York University, wo er allerdings kaum je gesehen wurde. Ein prägendes Ereignis seiner Studienzeit war vermutlich, als er auf den Rat seines Dekans hin einen Psychoanalytiker aufsuchte.

Er heiratete die 16-jährige Philosophiestudentin Harlene Rosen. Das junge Paar zog nach Manhattan und Woody stieg vom Gagzulieferer zum Drehbuchautor auf. Die Ed Sullivan Show, die Tonight Show und einige andere gehörten zu seinen Abnehmern. 1957 trat er, nominiert für den Emmy, das erste Mal aus dem Schatten seiner Auftraggeber und vor die Linse einer Kamera.

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City.

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ungefähr zu der Zeit ging seine Ehe mit Harlene auch schon in die Brüche. Bis sie ihn 1969 auf zwei Millionen Dollar verklagte, war sie der Hauptgegenstand seiner Gags, die er mittlerweile auch in Form von Prosa veröffentlichte. Er fing nun an, Theaterstücke zu schreiben und aufzuführen, aber sein ganzer Ehrgeiz galt dem Plan, Stand-up-Comedian zu werden, ein Alleinunterhalter, der Mitte der 1950er Jahre in Mode gekommen war.

Sein erster Auftritt 1960 im Nachtclub Duplex (Greenwich Village) geriet zum Fiasko. Seine Manager bezeichneten ihn als schlechtesten Komiker, den sie je gesehen hatten. Und dennoch schafften sie es, aus dem schüchternen und linkischen Auftreten eine Masche zu machen und damit einen unverwechselbaren Stil zu kreieren, mit dem Allen zum Geheimtipp avancieren sollte. Es brauchte seine Zeit und sicher einige Mühen. Aber Konigsberg schuf daraus im Laufe der Jahre die Kunstfigur Woody, die bis vor kurzem nahezu unverändert in den meisten seiner Filme zu sehen war.

Allen Nance

Allen Nance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

Vor seiner ersten Filmproduktion 1965 (Drehbuch zu Was gibt’s Neues, Pussy?) schrieb Woody Allen bereits 14 Jahre lang Witze, die er größtenteils als Stand-up-Comedian benutzte oder verkaufte. Er war auf dem besten Wege, mit seinem ungewöhnlichen intellektuellen Stil und den erfundenen Geschichten aus seinem Privatleben zu einer nationalen Berühmtheit aufzusteigen. Seine ersten Schritte in dem neuen Medium tat er nach demselben Rezept, das ihm auf der Bühne so großen Erfolg beschert hatte.

Etwa zu dieser Zeit lernte er die junge Schauspielerin Louise Lasser kennen, die er 1966 heiratete. 1971 wurde die Ehe wieder geschieden, und Lasser durfte noch größere Rollen in Bananas und Was Sie schon immer über Sex wissen wollten, aber bisher nicht zu fragen wagten spielen.

Allen

Allen (Photo credit: Ross Burton)

Die Woody-Allen-Filme zwischen 1965 und 1975 zeichnen sich vor allem durch ihre Kombination von absurdem Sprach- und Bildwitz aus (etwa bei Der Schläfer, wo der Erzschurke mit einer riesigen Erdbeere niedergeschlagen wird). Wie im Nummern-Kabarett dient die skurrile Handlung oft bloß dazu, eine Abfolge von Gags zu inszenieren.

Mangels eigener formaler Mittel bediente sich Allen bereits vorhandener Erzählkonzepte, die er durch Satire neu beleuchtete, wie etwa bei Was Sie schon immer über Sex wissen wollten, aber bisher nicht zu fragen wagten, einer Travestie der Aufklärungsfilme der 1960er. Charakteristisch für sein Frühwerk ist außerdem, dass (zumindest seiner eigenen Aussage zufolge) bis zu fünfzig Prozent des jeweiligen Films erst auf dem Set improvisiert wurde. Viele der eingesetzten Stilmittel, vor allem die Travestie und die teilweise arg surrealen Inhalte, sind auch in seinen 1971, 1973 und 1980 in Buchform veröffentlichten Kurzgeschichten zu finden.

Mia Farrow im Mai 2008 als UNICEF-Botschafterin in Bangui

The Front

The Front (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ab Mitte der 1970er Jahre wurde der humoristische Anteil in seinen Filmen zugunsten einer dramatisch anspruchsvolleren Handlung differenzierter. In dieser Zeit agierte seine damalige Lebensgefährtin Diane Keaton häufig als Spielpartnerin und weibliche Hauptdarstellerin. Zum Ende des Jahrzehnts schließlich trat Mia Farrow in sein Leben, die fortan in sehr unterschiedlichen Rollen in Allens Filmen glänzen konnte.

Der Film Ehemänner und Ehefrauen markiert das Ende der Zusammenarbeit von Allen und Mia Farrow, die seit Anfang der 1980er Jahre ein Paar waren. Ihre Beziehung ging in die Brüche, als Mia Farrow 1992 von Allen aufgenommene Nacktfotos der 21-jährigen Adoptivtochter Soon-Yi Previn (* 1970) entdeckte und Allen daraufhin sein Verhältnis mit Soon-Yi eingestand. Die nachfolgende gerichtliche Auseinandersetzung um das Sorgerecht für die übrigen Kinder brachte Allen mächtig in Bedrängnis.

English: Woody Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film ...

English: Woody Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his film Whatever Works. The photographer dedicates this portrait to Wikipedia editor Alansohn, for amazing article contributions, vandal-fighting, development of the project and for outstanding community skills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mia Farrow hatte Soon-Yi Previn zusammen mit ihrem damaligen Mann André Previn adoptiert, weshalb Allen Soon-Yi – im Gegensatz zu Mia Farrows anderen Adoptivkindern Dylan und Moses – nicht hatte adoptieren dürfen. Farrow und Allen hatten zudem seit 1987 den gemeinsamen Sohn Satchel Farrow.

Den Prozess um das Sorgerecht gewann Mia Farrow, sie bekam am 7. Juni 1993 das alleinige Sorgerecht für Dylan und Satchel zugesprochen. Allens Adoptivsohn Moses durfte selbst entscheiden und lehnte einen weiteren Kontakt zu Allen ab. Woody Allen wurde zwar vom Vorwurf des Kindesmissbrauchs an Dylan (damals sieben Jahre alt) de facto freigesprochen – es blieb ihm aber ausdrücklich verboten, dieses Kind zu sehen.

„Das Gericht stellte in so gut wie allen Punkten seine elterliche Eignung infrage und nannte Allens Verhalten den Kindern gegenüber ‚missbrauchend und gefühllos’“, hieß es dazu am 8. Juni 1993 in der New York Times. Obwohl Allen Soon-Yi bereits im Alter von etwa 11 Jahren kennengelernt hatte und rund 13 Jahre mit Mia Farrow zusammen war, bestritt Allen später, eine vaterähnliche Figur für Soon-Yi gewesen zu sein.

English: Signature of american director Woody ...

English: Signature of american director Woody Allen Français : Signature du réalisateur américain Woody Allen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Im Dezember 1997 heirateten Woody Allen und Soon-Yi Previn, die ihrerseits zwei Kinder adoptierten.

Werk

New-York-Trilogie und erster ernster Film

Manhattan

Manhattan (Photo credit: griangrafanna)

Woody Allen wollte nicht wie einst Charlie Chaplin für den Rest seines Lebens auf die Rolle des Tolpatsches und Filmclowns festgelegt werden. Schon zu Zeiten von Die letzte Nacht des Boris Gruschenko bekommen seine bisher recht belanglosen Klamaukfilme einen dunkleren Unterton. 1976 spielt er seine erste ernste Rolle in Der Strohmann.

Im selben Jahr beginnt er auch mit den Dreharbeiten zu Der Stadtneurotiker, der in jeder Beziehung einen Bruch zu seinen bisherigen Filmen darstellt, wobei er zum ersten Mal mit dem Kameramann Gordon Willis zusammenarbeit, einem der führenden Directors of Photography der 1970er.

Manhattan Panorama

Manhattan Panorama (Photo credit: satosphere)

Der Stadtneurotiker hat weder in Form noch Inhalt einen anderen Film oder ein Genre zum Vorbild. Auch kann Allen jetzt auf einige filmische Erfahrung zurückgreifen und nutzt verschiedene Aufnahme- und Erzähltechniken wesentlich stärker als zuvor. Gleichzeitig setzt er Stilmittel viel bewusster ein, die häufigen Zitate aus anderen Filmen beispielsweise sind kein Selbstzweck mehr, sondern haben ihrerseits eine eigene Funktion. Zusammen mit Kameramann Willis schuf Allen mit ungewöhnlichen Methoden und Stilbrüchen einen ganz andersartigen Film. Vor allem aber ändern sich die Inhalte. Woody Allen, mittlerweile 40 und frisch getrennt von Diane Keaton, zieht erstmals Bilanz über sein bisheriges Leben. Persönliche Erfahrungen hatte er schon immer in seine Arbeit einfließen lassen, ein famoses Beispiel hierfür sind Allens Witze über seine Ex-Frau Harlene Rosen („Quasimodo, ich will die Scheidung“), aber in Der Stadtneurotiker wird das Publikum erstmals wirklich einbezogen und hat das Gefühl, am Auf und Ab Woodys teilzuhaben.

English: Woody Allen at the Cannes film festival

English: Woody Allen at the Cannes film festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1978 stellte Allen seinen ersten ernsten Film vor: Innenleben. Allen, der hier nur als Regisseur fungiert, erzählt in präzisen Bildern (Willis) vom Zerfall einer bürgerlichen Großfamilie. Die Leere und Anonymität der Innenräume – daher auch der Originaltitel – kontrastiert die emotionalen Verwirrungen der in ihnen wohnenden Protagonisten. Innenleben gilt als Allens deutliche Hommage an den schwedischen Regisseur Ingmar Bergman, ist jedoch auch im Kontext der Beziehungsfilme der späten 1970er und längst schon als Werk mit eigener Berechtigung zu sehen.

In Manhattan bezog Allen 1979 wieder stärker komödiantische Elemente ein. Anders als bei Der Stadtneurotiker versuchte er, dennoch einen relativ ernsthaften Film zu drehen. Der typische Allen-Vorspann – Schwarzbild mit weißen Anfangstiteln, unterlegt mit Jazzmusik – fällt hier weg. Statt dessen sieht man eine Abfolge von New-York-Ansichten in Schwarz-Weiß, wobei Allen hier zum ersten und bisher einzigen Mal als Regisseur auf Breitwandbilder in Panavision setzt (1:2,35). Man hört Allens Stimme, der mehrmals versucht, ein erstes Kapitel zu texten, abbricht und wieder neu beginnt. Schließlich meint er: „New York was his town, and it always would be.“ Dann brandet große symphonische Musik von George Gershwin auf. Allen ist hier als krisengeplagter TV-Autor Isaac Davis zu sehen, der zwischen verschiedenen Frauen steht und sich erst am Ende zu entscheiden vermag. Der Stadtneurotiker und Manhattan gelten inzwischen unbestritten als Allens größte Erfolge. Diese Filme verbanden seinen Namen auch untrennbar mit dem Big Apple.

Woody Allen at jazz concert in Lisbon, Portugal

Woody Allen at jazz concert in Lisbon, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Den letzten Teil der sogenannten New-York-Trilogie bildet Stardust Memories, das stark an Federico Fellinis orientiert ist. Wie die beiden Vorgänger ist Stardust Memories deutlich autobiografisch angehaucht, spielt also in New York und handelt von einem Filmschaffenden. Allerdings handelt er auch von dessen übergroßer Verachtung für sein Publikum, was Allen in den USA lange Zeit nicht verziehen wurde. Es schien fast, als wollte er ein für allemal das Clownsimage ablegen, obwohl er, nach einem Sturm der Entrüstung, darauf bestand, dass es zwischen dem Protagonisten seines Filmes und ihm selbst keinerlei Parallelen gebe.

Die 1980er

Woody Allen

Woody Allen (Photo credit: ThomasThomas)

Unter manchen Filmkritikern herrscht die Meinung vor, dass Woody Allens Filme in dieser Periode nur mit sowjetischen oder polnischen Beispielen zu vergleichen seien. Tatsächlich hat er sich noch nie sehr viel aus Hollywood und der US-amerikanischen Filmbranche gemacht. Er war nicht einmal bei der Oscarverleihung, als Der Stadtneurotiker vier Academy Awards gewann.

Was seine Filme betrifft, lassen sich zwei Linien unterscheiden. Auf der einen Seite entwickelt er seine Komödien weiter, die nun zu Tragikomödien werden. Die Story wird aufwändiger, sie spielt oft in mehreren Handlungs- und Realitätsebenen. Die Filme sind auch einiges aussagekräftiger als seine frühen Komödien, oder sagen wir, ihre Aussage wird nicht mit plumpen Gags kaschiert. Fast alle haben ein Sad Ending, wie zum Beispiel The Purple Rose of Cairo, wo die Protagonistin am Ende noch unglücklicher und einsamer ist als zu Anfang. Bei Eine Sommernachts-Sexkomödie zeigt sich Allen 1982 von William Shakespeares Ein Sommernachtstraum und dessen amourösen Verwicklungen beeinflusst. Mit Zelig präsentiert Allen 1983 eine Satire über einen Menschen, der sich chamäleonartig ständig an seine Umwelt anpasst, der unter chassidischen Juden zum chassidischen Juden und unter Nazis zu einem Nazi wird. Allen porträtiert in diesem Film, der wie ein Dokumentarfilm mit scheinbaren Ausschnitten aus Wochenschauen inszeniert ist, einen Menschen, dessen Unpersönlichkeit ihn durch die Zeiten treiben lässt. 1984 erzählt Allen in Broadway Danny Rose von einem New Yorker Künstleragenten, der sich in mafiöse Kreise verirrt, und porträtiert das Milieu von Standup-Komikern, das die Basis für seine eigene Karriere war.

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; De...

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, comedian, and playwright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mit seiner Komödie Hannah und ihre Schwestern erzielte Allen noch einmal einen großen Erfolg, sowohl in kommerzieller Hinsicht als auch bei den Kritikern. Der Film erhielt drei Oscars, einer, für das beste Drehbuch, ging direkt an Woody Allen. Andererseits experimentiert Allen mit alternativen Formaten: So dreht er beispielsweise mit September oder Eine andere Frau Dramen, die ohne jede Komik auskommen. Kritiker warfen ihm allerdings vor, mit solchen Filmen nur den von ihm verehrten Bergman kopieren zu wollen, übersahen jedoch Allens eigenständigen Ansatz. Auch ein Film über seine Kindheit, Radio Days, am einfachsten zu beschreiben als Kostümfilm, entsteht. Im Gegensatz zum ebenfalls autobiografischen Theaterstück The Floating Lightbulb durfte dieser sogar nach seiner Uraufführung weiter gezeigt werden, das Stück zog Allen nämlich wieder zurück. Bei Verbrechen und andere Kleinigkeiten schilderte Allen eine tödliche Mordintrige, vermied jedoch nicht gelegentliche komödiantische Elemente. Bei diesem Film arbeitete Allen zum ersten Mal mit dem Bergman-Kameramann Sven Nykvist zusammen.

Die 1990er

English: From flickr page: Woody Allen Band Pe...

English: From flickr page: Woody Allen Band Performing at The Vienne Jazz Festival 2003, (left to right) Jerry Zigmont, Simon Wettenhall and Woody Allen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nach Verbrechen und andere Kleinigkeiten fand Allen allmählich zu einem neuen Stil. An die Stelle seiner schwarzseherischen Tragikomödien traten nun andere, die wieder leichter und beschwingter anmuten. In Filmen wie Alice hat er zwar nach der Meinung vieler Kritiker Schwierigkeiten, zu einem überzeugenden Ende zu kommen, aber diese neueren Filme stehen dennoch für eine im Gegensatz zu den frühen Komödien dramatisch fundierte Entwicklung, mit einem im Gegensatz zu den Filmen der Achtziger positiven Tenor.

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; De...

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, comedian, and playwright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Ehemänner und Ehefrauen schloss Allen 1992 die Reihe seiner Filme mit Mia Farrow ab. Der Film handelt von der Liebe und der Beziehungsfähigkeit, wobei der Treue eine eindeutige Absage erteilt wird.

Kurzfristig ersetzte Diane Keaton Mia Farrow 1993 bei Manhattan Murder Mystery, der im weitesten Sinne eine Fortsetzung des Stadtneurotikers ist. Die Handlung war als Subplot für diesen Film vorgesehen, wurde aber aus Zeitgründen gestrichen. Danach verhalf Allen gleich in zwei aufeinanderfolgenden Filmen einer Schauspielerin zu einem Oscar (Dianne Wiest und Mira Sorvino), später bei Sweet and Lowdown Sean Penn und Samantha Morton zu Nominierungen.

Allen Ginsberg (1995)

Allen Ginsberg (1995) (Photo credit: Frank Beacham)

1995 drehte Allen Geliebte Aphrodite. Formal sehr streng, in oft langen Plansequenzen, erzählt der Regisseur (und Hauptdarsteller) vom langweiligen Leben mit seiner Frau (Helena Bonham Carter) und vom Seitensprung mit einem süßen, aber ziemlich einfältigen Callgirl (Mira Sorvino), die, ohne es zu wissen, die Mutter seines Adoptivsohnes ist. Der Film brilliert mit einem sporadisch auftretenden griechischen Chor, der in einem Original-Amphitheater in Südeuropa gedreht wurde. Der Chor übernimmt dabei – skandierend und tanzend – das Erzählen der Rahmenhandlung, wird aber zusehends in das Geschehen, das sich in New York abspielt, involviert. Irgendwann sitzt der in Lumpen gekleidete griechische Chorführer in Allens Upper-East-Side Luxus-Apartment und hilft ihm beim Ehebruch, indem er den Zettel mit einer Hand vor dem Verrutschen sichert, auf dem Allen, verdeckt vor seiner Frau telefonierend, die Telefon-Nummer des Callgirls notiert, mit der er später ein Verhältnis haben wird. Eine geradezu typische Allen-Szene, in der banale Realität mit Kunstfiguren anderer Epochen gemischt wird. Etwas Ähnliches hatte er auch in Mach’s noch einmal, Sam mit Humphrey Bogart konstruiert. Dabei setzte er dort wie hier das umstrittene, oft ernste Image dieser Figuren zu Steigerung der Komik ein.

Allen the elder

Allen the elder (Photo credit: revger)

Mit Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Drew Barrymore und anderen drehte er 1996 in New York, Venedig und Paris das auf bekannte Jazz-Standard-Songs aufgebaute Musical Alle sagen: I love you. Bei Harry außer sich wurde Allen 1997 in der Bildsprache dem Originaltitel Deconstructing Harry – der nicht zufällig auf den Dekonstruktivismus anspielt – gerecht. Er dekonstruiert die physische Umgebung, verwendet kurze Jump Cuts und erzählt von einem Mann, der von anderen Menschen nur noch unscharf („out of focus“) gesehen wird.

1998 drehte Allen Celebrity, eine Gesellschaftskomödie, in der er selber nicht auftritt, dafür jedoch einen selbstironischen Leonardo DiCaprio vorführt, der einen abgehobenen Hollywoodstar spielt und damit seine eigene reale Existenz satirisch bricht. Im selben Jahr lieh Allen der Ameise Z in dem Warner Brothers-Streifen Antz seine Stimme. In der deutschen Synchronfassung übernahm dies sein Standardsynchronsprecher Wolfgang Draeger. Z-4195 – so die genaue Bezeichnung – weist dabei viele Facetten der von Woody Allen bekannten, von ihm konzipierten und verkörperten Charaktere auf: Zu Beginn des Films liegt Z auf der Couch eines Psychiaters.

Das Spätwerk

Allen und Hauptdarsteller Owen Wilson bei der Premiere ihres Films Midnight in Paris bei den Internationalen Filmfestspielen von Cannes 2011

Allen dreht weiterhin pro Jahr einen Film, sodass auch sein Spätwerk einen beachtlichen Umfang annimmt. Beispielsweise erschien 1999 der oben genannte Film Sweet and Lowdown, des Weiteren 2000 Schmalspurganoven mit Hugh Grant, 2001 Im Bann des Jade Skorpions, 2002 Hollywood Ending, 2003 Anything Else und 2004 Melinda und Melinda. In einigen deutschen Kinos wurden die Filme mit Verzögerung im Original mit Untertiteln gezeigt. Im September 2004 wurde Anything Else dem deutschen Publikum vorgestellt. Ende 2005 in die Kinos kam Match Point, der auf Festivals bejubelt wurde und viele Kritiker von einem neuen, wiedererstarkten Allen schwärmen ließ. Match Point war Allens erster Film, der ausschließlich in London spielte und produziert wurde. Auch sein nächstes Projekt Scoop – Der Knüller wurde in London gedreht, wie auch das Drama Cassandras Traum, dessen Dreharbeiten 2006 abgeschlossen wurden. Der Film hatte im Mai 2007 bei den Filmfestspielen in Cannes Premiere; Colin Farrell und Ewan McGregor verkörpern darin zwei Brüder im Londoner Arbeitermilieu, die in die Kriminalität abdriften. Für die weibliche Hauptrolle konnte man die noch unbekannte Britin Hayley Atwell gewinnen. Allens nächster Film Vicky Cristina Barcelona mit Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall und Javier Bardem in den Hauptrollen sowie Penélope Cruz (gewann dafür ihren bisher einzigen Oscar) in der Nebenrolle wurde im Sommer 2007 in Barcelona gedreht und kam am 4. Dezember 2008 in die deutschen Kinos. Mit der spanischen Produktionsfirma Mediapro plant Allen zwei weitere Filme.

Anfang September 2008 gab Allen mit einer Inszenierung von Giacomo Puccinis Einakter Gianni Schicchi sein hochgelobtes Debüt als Opernregisseur. Die in Zusammenarbeit mit der Los Angeles Opera produzierte Inszenierung entstand auf Vermittlung von Generaldirektor Placido Domingo, dem Allen zwei Jahrzehnte zuvor eine Oper versprochen hatte.[1]

Whatever Works wurde im Frühjahr 2008 in New York gedreht und eröffnete am 22. April 2009 das Tribeca Filmfestival in New York. In den deutschen Kinos startete der Film am 3. Dezember 2009.

Die Dreharbeiten zu Ich sehe den Mann deiner Träume („You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger“) wurden im August 2009 in London beendet, und der Film feierte im Mai 2010 beim Internationalen Filmfestival in Cannes seine Weltpremiere.[2] Auf der Besetzungsliste stehen Freida Pinto, Josh Brolin, Lucy Punch, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas und Naomi Watts.[3] In die deutschen Kinos kam der Film am 2. Dezember 2010.

Im Sommer 2010 fanden die Dreharbeiten zu Midnight in Paris mit Owen Wilson und Marion Cotillard statt. In einer Nebenrolle war die französische Präsidenten-Gattin Carla Bruni-Sarkozy zu sehen.[4] Die Liebeskomödie um einen erfolgreichen US-amerikanischen Drehbuchautor (Wilson), der ins Paris der 1920er Jahre zurückversetzt wird, eröffnete 2011 die 64. Filmfestspiele von Cannes. In den deutschen Kinos startete der Film am 18. August 2011. Ende September hatte der Film bereits 107 Millionen US-Dollar eingespielt.[5] Für das Drehbuch erhielt Woody Allen 2012 einen Oscar und Golden Globe Award. Darüber hinaus erhielt Midnight in Paris in drei weiteren Kategorien eine Oscar-Nominierung: beste Regie, bester Film und bestes Szenenbild.

Im Sommer 2011 drehte Allen in Rom den Film „To Rome with love“. Auf der Besetzungliste stehen: Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, Greta Gerwig, Alison Pill und Woody Allen selbst.[6] Der ursprünglich für diesen Film geplante Titel „The Bop Decameron“ wurde von Allen mit der Begründung „Ich konnte nicht glauben, dass kaum jemand vom ‚Dekameron‘ gehört hat, selbst in Rom“[7] geändert, anschließend noch einmal in „To Rome with love“ umbenannt. Die Komödie besteht aus parallelen Geschichten über amerikanische und italienische Charaktere in Rom. „To Rome with love“ orientiere sich auch am Film „Boccaccio ’70“ aus dem Jahr 1961, der von Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Mario Monicelli und Vittorio De Sica gedreht wurde. Wie „Boccaccio ’70“ soll Allens neuer Film aus vier Episoden bestehen.[8] Der Film kommt am 20. April 2012 in die italienischen Kinos und am 22. Juni 2012 in die US-amerikanischen Kinos. Starttermin für Deutschland ist der 9. August 2012.[9]

Deutsche Synchronstimme

Seit 1965 wird Allen von Wolfgang Draeger als Standardsprecher synchronisiert. Nur in zwei Filmen wurde er von anderen Schauspielern gesprochen. In Casino Royale (1967) lieh ihm Horst Sachtleben seine Stimme, in der Kinoversion von Was Sie schon immer über Sex wissen wollten, aber bisher nicht zu fragen wagten wurde er von Harald Juhnke gesprochen. Für die Fernsehauswertung dieses Films im ZDF 1987 wurde sein Part jedoch wiederum von Draeger synchronisiert. Woody Allen ist sogar der Meinung, die deutsche Synchronstimme von Wolfgang Draeger passe besser zu ihm als seine eigene.[10] [11] [12]

Woody Allen als Jazzmusiker

Woody Allen mit Band, Jerry Zigmont (links), Simon Wettenhall

Allen spielt regelmäßig Klarinette in einer Jazz Band im New Orleans (Traditional Jazz) Stil, bei Woody Allen with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band.[13] Zuerst spielte Allen jeden Montag im Club „Alexander’s“, danach lange Zeit im Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Zur Band gehört auch der Posaunist Jerry Zigmont. Mit seiner Band war Allen auch 1996 auf Europa Tour, was Gegenstand des Dokumentarfilms Wild Man Blues von Barbara Kopple war (auch als DVD erschienen, der Soundtrack als CD bei RCA). Sie tourten auch schon in Griechenland, der Türkei, Südamerika und waren 2008 in Dresden. Gelegentlich tritt er auch mit seiner Band auf Jazz Festivals auf, wie dem Montreal Jazz Festival 2008. In seinen Filmen setzt er regelmäßig Jazzmusik ein, so in dem Film Sweet and Lowdown um einen (als Figur teilweise an Django Reinhardts kurze Zeit in den USA angelehnten) Jazzgitarristen. Ebenfalls Swing-orientiert war der ebenfalls als CD erschienene Soundtrack zu dem Film Radio Days, der in den 1940er Jahren spielt. In dem Film Der Schläfer tritt er auch selbst als Jazzmusiker auf, mit dem Preservation Hall Orchester in New Orleans und dem New Orleans Funeral Ragtime Orchestra. Zwei mit seiner Lebensgefährtin Soon-Yi Prévin adoptierte Kinder nannte er Manzie und Bechet nach den Jazzmusikern Manzie Johnson und Sidney Bechet. Woody Allen geht als Musiker regelmäßig auf Tournee, und so war er im März 2010 und im März 2011 für jeweils drei Konzerte in Deutschland.

Werke

Eine Statue von Woody Allen in Oviedo, Spanien

Filme

Legende: B – Buch, D – Darsteller, R – Regie

Theaterstücke

Legende: UA – Uraufführung

  • 1966: Vorsicht, Trinkwasser! (UA 1966)
  • 1969: Spiel’s noch einmal, Sam (UA 1969)
  • 1975: Tod und Gott (UA 13. Januar 1978, Teaneck, New Jersey)
  • 1988: Eine Sommernachts-Sexkomödie (Theateradaption des Films; UA 1988)
  • 1995: Central Park West (UA 1995)
  • 1996: Kugeln überm Broadway (Theateradaption des Films; UA 1996)
  • 2003: Old Saybrook (auf Deutsch erschienen im Band „Central Park West – Drei Einakter“)
  • 2003: Riverside Drive (auf Deutsch erschienen im Band „Central Park West – Drei Einakter“)
  • 2004: A Second Hand Memory (bisher nicht auf Deutsch erschienen)
  • 2011: Honeymoon Motel (bisher nicht auf Deutsch erschienen)

Bücher

Auszeichnungen

  • Academy Awards
    • 1978 Oscar in den Kategorien Beste Regie und Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Der Stadtneurotiker)
    • 1987 Oscar in der Kategorie Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Hannah und ihre Schwestern)
    • 2012 Oscar in der Kategorie Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Midnight in Paris)
    • Von 1978 bis 2012 außerdem 18 Mal als Regisseur oder Autor, und 1978 als Hauptdarsteller für den Oscar nominiert
  • Golden Globe Awards
    • 1986 Golden Globe in der Kategorie Bestes Drehbuch (für The Purple Rose of Cairo)
    • 2009 Golden Globe in der Kategorie Beste Komödie (für Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
    • 2012 Golden Globe in der Kategorie Bestes Drehbuch (für Midnight in Paris)
  • Writers Guild of America
    • 1987 WGA Awards (Screen) in der Kategorie Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Verbrechen und andere Kleinigkeiten)
    • 1990 WGA Awards (Screen) in der Kategorie Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Hannah und ihre Schwestern)
  • Berlinale 1975
    • 1975 Silberner Bär für das Lebenswerk
    • 1975 Preis der Union International de la Critique de Cinema (UNICRIT) (für Die letzte Nacht des Boris Gruschenko)
  • British Academy Film Awards
    • 1993 BAFTA Award in der Kategorie Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Ehemänner und Ehefrauen)
    • 1987 BAFTA Award in den Kategorien Bester Film und Bestes Originaldrehbuch (für Hannah und ihre Schwestern)
    • 1997 Ehrenpreis
  • César
    • 1980 César für den besten ausländischen Film (für Manhattan)
    • 1986 César für den besten ausländischen Film (für The Purple Rose of Cairo)
  • Bodil Awards
    • 1978 Bodil Award für den besten nicht-europäischen Film (für Der Stadtneurotiker)
    • 1980 Bodil Award für den besten nicht-europäischen Film (für Manhattan)
    • 1984 Bodil Award für den besten nicht-europäischen Film (für Zelig)
    • 1986 Bodil Award für den besten nicht-europäischen Film (für The Purple Rose of Cairo)
    • 1987 Bodil Award für den besten nicht-europäischen Film (für Hannah und ihre Schwestern)
  • David di Donatello
    • 1984 David di Donatello in der Kategorie Bester ausländischer Schauspieler (für Zelig)
    • 1985 David di Donatello in der Kategorie Bestes Drehbuch/Ausländischer Film (für Broadway Danny Rose)
    • 1987 David di Donatello in der Kategorie Bestes Drehbuch/Ausländischer Film (für Hannah und ihre Schwestern)
    • 2006 David di Donatello in der Kategorie Bester europäischer Film (für Match Point)
  • Fotogramas de Plata
    • 1974 Fotogramas de Plata für den besten ausländischen Darsteller
    • 1986 Fotogramas de Plata für den besten (ausländischen) Film (für The Purple Rose of Cairo)

Außerdem eine zweistellige Anzahl von Nominierungen für die oben genannten und andere Filmpreise sowie der Prinz-von-Asturien-Preis 2002.

Literatur

Filmdokumentationen

  • Im November 2009 erschien die „Woody Allen Collection“, eine DVD-Box mit 19 seiner Filme. Sie umfasst fast alle seiner Filme zwischen 1972 und 1991 und dokumentiert damit sein frühes und mittleres Schaffen.

Einzelnachweise

  1. vgl. Nina Wachenfeld: Woody Allen inszeniert seine erste Oper bei welt.de, 10. September 2008
  2. festival-cannes.com
  3. filmstarts.de
  4. lvz-online.de
  5. Andrew Pulver: Woody Allen gets his groove back after years of decline., Guardian vom 30. September 2011, abgerufen am 1. Oktober 2011
  6. [1]
  7. [2]
  8. [3]
  9. [4]
  10. Synchronkartei
  11. Deutschlandradio Kultur: Zeitreisen vom 11. Februar 2009
  12. Radio Bremen: Kulturjournal vom 1. Dezember 2010
  13. Woody Allen and Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band
  14. [5],www.imdb.com, abgerufen am 18. Januar 2012

Weblinks

 Commons: Woody Allen – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, December 1, 1935) is an award-winning American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, and playwright, whose career spans over half a century.

He began as a comedy writer in the 1950s, penning jokes and scripts for television and also publishing several books of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, Allen started performing as a stand-up comic, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes. As a comic, he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he insists is quite different from his real-life personality.[2] In 2004, Comedy Central[3] ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics, while a UK survey ranked Allen as the third greatest comedian.[4]

By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into more dramatic material influenced by European art films during the 1970s. He is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late ’70s.[5] Allen often stars in his own films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. The best-known of his over 40 films include the Academy Award-winners Annie Hall (1977), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Midnight in Paris (2011); and the Golden Globe-winning The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Critic Roger Ebert has described Allen as „a treasure of the cinema.“[6]

He is also a jazz clarinetist who performs regularly at small venues in Manhattan.

Allen was born Allan Stewart Königsberg in The Bronx and raised in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Nettie (born Cherrie; November 8, 1906 – January 27, 2002), a bookkeeper at her family’s delicatessen, and Martin Königsberg (December 25, 1900 – January 13, 2001), a jewelry engraver and waiter.[7] His family was Jewish and his grandparents were German immigrants who spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, and German;[8] both of his parents were born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[8] Allen has a sister, Letty, who was born in 1943, and was raised in Midwood, Brooklyn.[9] His childhood was not particularly happy: his parents did not get along, and he had a rocky relationship with his stern, temperamental mother.[10] Allen spoke German quite a bit during his early years.[11] While attending Hebrew school for eight years, he went to Public School 99 (now The Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature)[12] and to Midwood High School.[13] During that time, he lived in an apartment at 1402 Avenue K, between East 14th and 15th Streets.[citation needed] Unlike his comic persona, he was more interested in baseball than school and his strong arms ensured he was the first to be picked for a team.[14][15] He impressed students with his extraordinary talent at card and magic tricks.[16] To raise money he began writing jokes (or „gags“) for the agent David O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. According to Allen, his first published joke read: „Woody Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices – over people’s salaries.“[17]

He began to call himself Woody Allen. He would later joke that when he was young he was often sent to inter-faith summer camps, where he „was savagely beaten by children of all races and creeds.“[16] At the age of 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen.[18] He was already earning more than both of his parents combined.[14]

After high school, he attended New York University, where he studied communication and film. He later briefly attended City College of New York and soon flunked out. Later, he learned via self-study rather than the classroom.[15] He eventually taught at The New School. He also studied with writing teacher Lajos Egri.[15]p.74

Career

Comedy writer

He became a full-time writer for Herb Shriner, earning $75 a week at first.[17] At the age of 19, he started writing scripts for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, specials for Sid Caesar post-Caesar’s Hour (1954–1957), and other television shows.[15][19]p.111 By the time he was working for Caesar, he was making $1500 a week; with Caesar he worked alongside Danny Simon, whom Allen credits for helping him to form his writing style.[17][20]

In 1961, he started a new career as a stand-up comedian, debuting in a Greenwich Village club called the Duplex.[17] Examples of Allen’s standup act can be heard on the albums Standup Comic and Nightclub Years 1964–1968 (including his classic routine entitled „The Moose“).[21] Together with his managers, Allen developed a neurotic, nervous, and intellectual persona for his stand-up routine, a successful move which secured regular gigs for him in nightclubs and on television. Allen brought innovation to the comedy monologue genre and his stand-up comedy is considered influential.[22]

Allen wrote for the popular Candid Camera television show, and appeared in some episodes.[23][24][25]

Allen started writing short stories and cartoon captions for magazines such as The New Yorker; he was inspired by the tradition of four prominent New Yorker’s humorists, S. J. Perelman, George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Max Shulman, whose material he modernized.[26][27][28][29][30] Allen is also an accomplished author having published four collections of his short pieces and plays.[31][32] These are Getting Even, Without Feathers, Side Effects and Mere Anarchy. His early comic fiction was heavily influenced by the zany, pun-ridden humour of S.J. Perelman.

Playwright

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He also became a successful Broadway playwright and wrote Don’t Drink the Water in 1966. It starred Lou Jacobi, Kay Medford, Anita Gillette and Allen’s future movie co-star Tony Roberts. A film adaptation of the play, directed by Howard Morris, was released in 1969, starring Jackie Gleason. Because he was not particularly happy with the 1969 film version of his play, in 1994, Allen directed and starred in a third version for television, with Michael J. Fox and Mayim Bialik.

The next play Allen wrote that was produced on Broadway was Play It Again, Sam, which he also starred in. The play opened on February 12, 1969, and ran for 453 performances. It also featured Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts. Allen, Keaton and Roberts would reprise their roles in the film version of the play, directed by Herbert Ross. For its March 21 issue, Life featured Allen on its cover.[33] In 1981, his play The Floating Light Bulb premiered on Broadway and ran for 65 performances. While receiving mixed reviews, it was noted for giving an autobiographical insight into Allen’s childhood, specifically his fascination with magic tricks. He has written several one-act plays, including ‚Riverside Drive‘ and ‚Old Saybrook‘ which both explore well-known Allen themes.

On October 20, 2011, Allen’s one-act play Honeymoon Motel opened as part of a larger piece entitled Relatively Speaking on Broadway, along with two other one-acts by Ethan Coen and Elaine May.[34]

Early films

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His first movie was the Charles K. Feldman production What’s New Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the initial screenplay. Warren Beatty hired him to re-write a script and to appear in a small part in the movie. Over the course of the re-write, Beatty’s role was lessened and Allen’s increased. Beatty was upset and quit the production. Peter O’Toole was hired for the Beatty role, and Peter Sellers was brought in as well; Sellers was a big enough star to demand many of Woody Allen’s best lines/scenes, prompting hasty re-writes. Because of this experience, Allen realized the importance of having control of his own writing. Despite the fact that most of his movies do not gross well and the fact that due to the small amounts of money his producers are able to raise he asks his actors to work for far less than what they would normally be paid, Allen remains one of a handful of writers and directors who has been able to maintain complete control over his own work.[citation needed]

Allen’s first directorial effort was What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966, co-written with Mickey Rose), in which an existing Japanese spy movie – Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi (1965), „International Secret Police: Key of Keys“ – was redubbed in English by Allen and his friends with entirely new, comic dialogue.[citation needed]

Allen also appeared in Feldman’s follow-up to What’s New Pussycat?, the James Bond spoof Casino Royale. A number of writers contributed to the film, but once again Allen scripted his own sequences, although in this case uncredited.[citation needed]

Allen directed, starred in, and wrote Take the Money and Run in 1969. That same year he starred in his own TV special, The Woody Allen Special. On the show he performed standup comedy routines before a live audience and acted in a sketch with Candice Bergen in which they appeared nude but their bodies were kept hidden from view by the camera. The special also had Allen interviewing evangelist Billy Graham and performances by the pop vocal group The 5th Dimension, singing their hit singles „Workin‘ On A Groovy Thing“ and „Wedding Bell Blues.“ The show’s sponsor, Libby’s, broadcast comical commercials starring Tony Randall as a detective.[citation needed]

From 1971 to 1975, Allen co-wrote, directed, and starred in Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), Sleeper, and Love and Death. Take the Money and Run and Bananas were co-written by his childhood friend, Mickey Rose.[citation needed]

In 1972, he wrote and starred in the film version of Play It Again, Sam, which was directed by Herbert Ross and co-starred Diane Keaton. In 1976, he starred in The Front (directed by Martin Ritt) a humorous and poignant account of Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s.

Then came two of Allen’s finest films. Annie Hall won four Academy Awards in 1977, including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Diane Keaton, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for Woody Allen. Annie Hall set the standard for modern romantic comedy and also started a minor fashion trend with the clothes worn by Diane Keaton in the film (the masculine clothing, such as ties with cardigans, was actually Keaton’s own). While in production, its working title was „Anhedonia,“ a term that means the inability to feel pleasure and its plot revolved around a murder mystery. Allen re-cut the movie after production ended to focus on the romantic comedy between Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, and Keaton’s character, Annie Hall. The new version, retitled Annie Hall (named after Keaton, Hall being her original last name and Annie a nickname), still deals with the theme of the inability to feel pleasure. The film is ranked at No. 35 on the American Film Institute’s „100 Best Movies“ and at No. 4 on the AFI list of „100 Best Comedies.“

Manhattan, released in 1979, is a black-and-white film that can be viewed as an homage to New York City. As in many other Allen films, the protagonists are upper-middle class academics. The love-hate opinion of cerebral persons found in Manhattan is characteristic of many of Allen’s movies including Crimes and Misdemeanors and Annie Hall. Manhattan focuses on the complicated relationship between a middle-aged Isaac Davis (Allen) and a 17-year-old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway).

Between Annie Hall and Manhattan, Allen wrote and directed the dark drama Interiors (1978), in the style of the late Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, one of Allen’s chief influences. Interiors represented a departure from Allen’s „early, funny“ comedies (a line from 1980s Stardust Memories).

1980s

Woody Allen at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival

Allen’s 1980s films, even the comedies, have somber and philosophical undertones. Some are influenced by the works of European directors, notably Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.[35][36] September resembles Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, and Allen uses many elements from Bergman’s Wild Strawberries[37] in Another Woman. Similarly, the Federico Fellini classic Amarcord strongly inspired Radio Days.[38]

Stardust Memories features Sandy Bates, a successful filmmaker played by Allen, who expresses resentment and scorn for his fans. Overcome by the recent death of a friend from illness, the character states, „I don’t want to make funny movies any more“ and a running gag has various people (including a group of visiting space aliens) telling Bates that they appreciate his films, „especially the early, funny ones.“[39] Allen believes this to be one of his best films.[40]

Allen combined tragic and comic elements in such films as Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he tells two stories that connect at the end. He also produced a vividly idiosyncratic tragi-comical parody of documentary, Zelig.

He made three films about show business: Broadway Danny Rose, in which he plays a New York show business agent, The Purple Rose of Cairo, a movie that shows the importance of the cinema during the Depression through the character of the naive Cecilia, and Radio Days, which is a film about his childhood in Brooklyn and the importance of the radio. Purple Rose was named by Time as one of the 100 best films of all time and Allen has described it as one of his three best films, along with Stardust Memories and Match Point.[41] (Allen defines them as „best“ not in terms of quality but because they came out the closest to his original vision.)

In 1989, Allen teamed up with directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese to make New York Stories, an anthology film about New Yorkers. Allen’s short, Oedipus Wrecks, is about a neurotic lawyer and his critical mother. His short pleased critics, but New York Stories bombed at the box office.

1990s

His 1992 film Shadows and Fog is a black-and-white homage to the German expressionists and features the music of Kurt Weill. Allen then made his critically acclaimed drama Husbands and Wives (1992), which received two Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Judy Davis and Best Original Screenplay for Allen. His film Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) combined suspense with dark comedy and marked the return of Diane Keaton, Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston.

He returned to lighter movies like Bullets Over Broadway (1994), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, followed by a musical, Everyone Says I Love You (1996). The singing and dancing scenes in Everyone Says I Love You are similar to many musicals starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The comedy Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which Greek drama plays a large role, won an Academy Award for Mira Sorvino. Allen’s 1999 jazz-based comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Sean Penn (Best Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress). In contrast to these lighter movies, Allen veered into darker satire towards the end of the decade with Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Celebrity (1998). Allen made his only sitcom „appearance“ to date (2009) via telephone on the show Just Shoot Me! in a 1997 episode, „My Dinner with Woody“ which paid tribute to several of his films. Allen also provided the lead voice in the 1998 animated film Antz, which featured many actors he had worked with and had Allen play a character that was similar to his earlier neurotic roles.

2000s

Small Time Crooks (2000) (a remake of the 1942 film comedy Larceny, Inc., written by S. J. Perelman and starring Edward G. Robinson) was his first film with the DreamWorks studio and represented a change in direction: Allen began giving more interviews and made an attempt to return to his slapstick roots. Small Time Crooks was a relative financial success, grossing over $17 million domestically but Allen’s next four films floundered at the box office, including Allen’s most expensive film, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (with a budget of $26 million). Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, and Melinda and Melinda were given „rotten“ ratings from film-review website Rotten Tomatoes and each earned less than $4 million domestically.[42] Some critics claimed that Allen’s films since 1999’s Sweet and Lowdown were subpar and expressed concern that Allen’s best years were now behind him.[43] Others have been less harsh; reviewing the little-liked Melinda and Melinda, Roger Ebert wrote, „I cannot escape the suspicion that if Woody had never made a previous film, if each new one was Woody’s Sundance debut, it would get a better reception. His reputation is not a dead shark but an albatross, which with admirable economy Allen has arranged for the critics to carry around their own necks.“[44] Woody gave his godson Quincy Rose a small part in Melinda and Melinda. Allen was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.[45]

Woody Allen in concert in New York City, 2006

Match Point (2005) was one of Allen’s most successful films of the decade, garnering very positive reviews.[46] Set in London, it starred Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. It is also markedly darker than Allen’s first four films with DreamWorks SKG. In Match Point, Allen shifts his focus from the intellectual upper class of New York to the moneyed upper class of London. It earned more than $23 million domestically (more than any of his films in nearly 20 years) and over $62 million in international box office sales.[47] Match Point earned Allen his first Academy Award nomination since 1998, for Best Writing – Original Screenplay and also earned directing and writing nominations at the Golden Globes, his first Globe nominations since 1987. In an interview with Premiere Magazine, Allen stated this was the best film he has ever made.[48]

Allen returned to London to film Scoop, which also starred Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally and Allen himself. The film was released on July 28, 2006, and received mixed reviews. He has also filmed Cassandra’s Dream in London. Cassandra’s Dream was released in November 2007, and stars Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson.

After finishing his third London film, Allen headed to Spain. He reached an agreement to film Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Avilés, Barcelona and Oviedo, where shooting started on July 9, 2007. The movie stars Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall and Penélope Cruz.[49][50] Speaking of his experience there, Allen said: „I’m delighted at being able to work with Mediapro and make a film in Spain, a country which has become so special to me.“ Vicky Cristina Barcelona was well received, winning „Best Musical or Comedy“ at the Golden Globe awards. Penélope Cruz received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

Allen has said that he „survives“ on the European market. Audiences there have tended to be more receptive to Allen’s films, particularly in Spain, France and Italy – countries where he has a large audience (something joked about in Hollywood Ending). „In the United States things have changed a lot, and it’s hard to make good small films now,“ Allen said in a 2004 interview. „The avaricious studios couldn’t care less about good films – if they get a good film they’re twice as happy but money-making films are their goal. They only want these $100 million pictures that make $500 million.“[51]

In April 2008, he began filming for a movie focused more towards older audiences starring Larry David, Patricia Clarkson[52] and Evan Rachel Wood.[53] Released in 2009, Whatever Works,[54][55] described as a dark comedy, follows the story of a botched suicide attempt turned messy love triangle. Whatever Works was written by Allen in the 1970s and the character now played by Larry David was originally written for Zero Mostel, who died the year Annie Hall came out.

2010s

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, filmed in London, stars Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Anupam Kher, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. Filming started in July 2009. It was released theatrically in the US on September 23, 2010, following a Cannes debut in May 2010, and a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2010. Allen announced that his next film would be titled Midnight in Paris,[56] starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Gad Elmaleh and French First Lady Carla Bruni. The film followed a young engaged couple in Paris who see their lives transformed. It debuted at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2011. Allen said he wanted to „show the city emotionally,“ during the press conference. „I just wanted it to be the way I saw Paris – Paris through my eyes,“ he added.[57] Midnight in Paris has overthrown Hannah and Her Sisters as Allen’s most successful film at the box office in the United States.[58] It has also opened to much critical acclaim, and has been considered by many critics to mark his return to form.[59] His next film, To Rome with Love, is a Rome-set comedy slated for a 2012 release. The film will be structured in four different vignettes featuring dialogue in both Italian and English. The film will mark Allen’s return to acting since his last role in Scoop.[60]

Future projects

For many years, Allen wanted to make a film about the origins of jazz in New Orleans. The film, tentatively titled American Blues, would follow the vastly different careers of Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Allen has stated that the film would cost between $80 and $100 million and is therefore unlikely to be made.[61]

It was announced in February 2012 that Allen would adapt Bullets Over Broadway into a Broadway musical scheduled to open in 2013.[62]

Distinction in the film world

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Life-size statue of Woody Allen in Oviedo, Spain

Over the course of his career, Allen has received a considerable number of awards and distinctions in film festivals and yearly national film awards ceremonies, saluting his work as a director, screenwriter, and actor.[19]

Academy Awards

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Woody Allen has won 4 Academy Awards: three Best Original Screenplays (Annie Hall (1978, shared with Marshall Brickman), Hannah and Her Sisters (1987) and Midnight in Paris (2012)), and one Best Director (Annie Hall (1978)). Mr. Allen has been nominated a total of 23 times: 15 as a screenwriter, seven as a director, and once as an actor.[65] He has more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer; all are in the Best Original Screenplay category. He is tied for third all-time with seven Best Director nominations.

Annie Hall won four Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading RoleDiane Keaton). The film received a fifth nomination, for Allen as Best Actor in a Leading Role. Hannah and Her Sisters won three, for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role categories; it was nominated in four other categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.

His actors have regularly received both nominations and Academy Awards for their work in Allen films, particularly in the Best Supporting categories: In 1987 Michael Caine[66] and Diane Wiest[67] won for Hannah and Her Sisters[68], in 1995 Diane Wiest again won for Bullets Over Broadway[69], in 1996 Mira Sorvino[70] won for Mighty Aphrodite [71], and in 2009 Penelope Cruz[72] won for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.[73]

Despite friendly recognition from the Academy, Allen has consistently refused to attend the ceremony or acknowledge his Oscar wins. He broke this pattern only once. At the Academy Awards ceremony in 2002, Allen made an unannounced appearance, making a plea for producers to continue filming their movies in New York City after the 9-11 attacks, where he stated, „I didn’t have to present anything. I didn’t have to accept anything. I just had to talk about New York City.“[74] He was given a standing ovation before introducing a montage of movie clips featuring New York.

BAFTA

Allen has won a number of British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards and nominations for best picture, best director, best actor, and best screenplay. In 1997, he received the honorary BAFTA Fellowship for his work.

Theatre

Although best known for his films, Allen has also enjoyed a very successful career in theater, starting as early as 1960, when Allen wrote sketches for the revue From A to Z. His first great success was Don’t Drink the Water, which opened in 1968, and ran for 598 performances for almost two years on Broadway. His success continued with Play it Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen and Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, although none of the nominations were for Allen’s writing or acting.[75]

In the 1970s, Allen wrote a number of one-act plays, most notably God and Death, which were published in his 1975 collection Without Feathers.

In 1981, Allen’s play The Floating Light Bulb opened on Broadway. The play was a critical success but a commercial flop. Despite two Tony Award nominations, a Tony win for the acting of Brian Backer (who also won the 1981 Theater World Award and a Drama Desk Award for his work), the play only ran for 62 performances.[76] As of January 2008, it is the last Allen work that ran on Broadway.

After a long hiatus from the stage, Allen returned to the theater in 1995, with the one-act Central Park West, an installment in an evening of theater known as Death Defying Acts that was also made up of new work by David Mamet and Elaine May.[77]

For the next couple of years, Allen had no direct involvement with the stage, yet notable productions of his work were being staged. A production of God was staged at The Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro,[78] and theatrical adaptations of Allen’s films Bullets Over Broadway[79] and September[80] were produced in Italy and France, respectively, without Allen’s involvement. In 1997, rumors of Allen returning to the theater to write a starring role for his wife Soon-Yi Previn turned out to be false.[81]

In 2003, Allen finally returned to the stage with Writer’s Block, an evening of two one-acts – Old Saybrook and Riverside Drive – that played Off-Broadway. The production marked the stage-directing debut for Allen.[82] The production sold out its entire run.[83]

Also that year, reports of Allen writing the book for a musical based on Bullets Over Broadway surfaced, but no show ever formulated.[84] In 2004, Allen’s first full-length play since 1981, A Second Hand Memory,[85] was directed by Allen and enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway.[83]

In June 2007, it was announced that Allen would make two more creative debuts in the theater, directing a work that he did not write and directing an opera – a re-interpretation of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for the Los Angeles Opera[86] – which debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on September 6, 2008.[87] Commenting on his direction of the opera, Allen said, „I have no idea what I’m doing.“ His production of the opera opened the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, in June 2009.[88]

In October 2011, Woody Allen’s one-act play called Honeymoon Motel premiered as one in a series of one act plays on Broadway titled Relatively Speaking.[89] Also contributing to the plays are Elaine May and Ethan Coen with John Turturro directing.[90]

Marriages and relationships

Harlene Rosen

At age 19, Allen married 16-year-old Harlene Rosen.[91] The marriage lasted from 1954 to 1959. Time stated that the years were „nettling“ and „unsettling.“[91]

Rosen, whom Allen referred to in his standup act as „the Dread Mrs. Allen,“ later sued Allen for defamation due to comments at a TV appearance shortly after their divorce. Allen tells a different story on his mid-1960s standup album Standup Comic. In his act, Allen said that Rosen sued him because of a joke he made in an interview. Rosen had been sexually assaulted outside her apartment and according to Allen, the newspapers reported that she „had been violated.“ In the interview, Allen said, „Knowing my ex-wife, it probably wasn’t a moving violation.“ In a later interview on The Dick Cavett Show, Allen brought the incident up again where he repeated his comments and stated that the amount that he was being sued for was „$1 million.“

Louise Lasser

Allen married Louise Lasser in 1966. They divorced in 1969, and Allen did not marry again until 1997. Lasser appeared in three Allen films after the divorce – Take the Money and Run, Bananas, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) – and made a brief appearance in Stardust Memories.

Diane Keaton

In 1970, Allen cast Diane Keaton in his Broadway show, Play It Again, Sam. During the run she and Allen became romantically involved and although they broke up after a year, she continued to star in a number of his films, including Sleeper as a futuristic poet and Love and Death as a composite character based on the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Annie Hall was very important in Allen and Keaton’s careers. It is said that the role was written specifically for her as Diane Keaton’s given name is Diane Hall. She then starred in Interiors as a poet, followed by Manhattan. In 1987, she had a cameo as a night-club singer in Radio Days and was chosen to replace Mia Farrow in the co-starring role for Manhattan Murder Mystery after Allen and Farrow began having troubles with their personal and working relationship while making this film. Keaton has not worked with Allen since Manhattan Murder Mystery. Since the end of their romantic relationship, Keaton and Allen have remained close friends.[92]

Stacey Nelkin

The film Manhattan is said by the Los Angeles Times[93] to be widely known to have been based on his romantic relationship with the actress Stacey Nelkin. Her bit part in Annie Hall ended up on the cutting room floor, and their relationship, though never publicly acknowledged by Allen, reportedly began when she was 17 years old and a student at New York’s Stuyvesant High School.[94][95][96]

Mia Farrow

Around 1980, Allen began a relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who had leading roles in several of his movies from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married and kept separate homes[97] but they adopted two children, Dylan Farrow (who changed her name to Eliza and is now known as Malone) and Moshe Farrow (now known as Moses); they also had one biological child, Satchel Farrow (now known as Ronan Seamus Farrow). Allen did not adopt any of Farrow’s other family, including Soon-Yi Farrow Previn (the adopted daughter of Farrow and André Previn, now known as Soon-Yi Previn). Allen and Farrow separated in 1992, after Farrow discovered nude photographs that Allen had taken of a then 20-year-old Soon-Yi.[98] In her autobiography, What Falls Away (New York: Doubleday, 1997), Farrow says that Allen admitted to a relationship with Soon-Yi.[99]

After Allen and Farrow separated, a long public legal battle for the custody of their three children began. During the proceedings, Farrow alleged that Allen had sexually molested their adopted daughter Dylan, who was then seven years old. The judge eventually concluded that the sex abuse charges were inconclusive[100] but called Allen’s conduct with Soon-Yi „grossly inappropriate.“ She called the report of the team that investigated the issue „sanitized and therefore, less credible“ and added that she had „reservations about the reliability of the report.“[101] Farrow won custody of their children. Allen was denied visitation rights with Malone and could see Ronan only under supervision. Moses, who was then 14, chose not to see Allen.[101]

In a 2005 Vanity Fair interview,[102] Allen estimated that, despite the scandal’s damage to his reputation, Farrow’s discovery of Allen’s attraction to Soon-Yi Previn by finding nude photographs of her was „just one of the fortuitous events, one of the great pieces of luck in my life. . . It was a turning point for the better.“ Of his relationship with Farrow, he said, „I’m sure there are things that I might have done differently. . . Probably in retrospect I should have bowed out of that relationship much earlier than I did.“ In a report June 22, 2011, Reuters quoted Allen as saying, „What was the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married her. We have been married for almost 15 years now. There was no scandal, but people refer to it all the time as a scandal and I kind of like that in a way because when I go I would like to say I had one real juicy scandal in my life.“[103]

Soon-Yi Previn

Soon-Yi Previn and Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

After ending his relationship with Mia Farrow in 1992, Allen continued his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. Even though Allen never married Mia Farrow[97][104] and was never Previn’s legal stepfather, the relationship between Allen and Previn has often been referred to as a father involved romantically with his stepdaughter[105] since he had been perceived as being in Previn’s life in a father-like capacity. For example, in 1991, The New York Times described Allen’s family life by reporting, „Few married couples seem more married. They are constantly in touch with each other, and not many fathers spend as much time with their children as Allen does.“[97] Despite assertions from Previn that Allen was never a father figure to her,[106] the relationship became a scandal. In 1991, when the relationship started, Allen was 56 and Previn was 21. Asked whether their age difference was conducive to „a healthy, equal relationship,“ Allen said equality is not necessarily a requirement in a relationship and said, „The heart wants what it wants. There’s no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.“[107]

Allen and Previn married on December 24, 1997, in the Palazzo Cavalli in Venice. The couple have adopted two daughters, naming them Bechet and Manzie Tio[108] after jazz musicians Sidney Bechet, Manzie Johnson and Lorenzo Tio, Jr.

Allen and Farrow’s biological son, Ronan Seamus Farrow, is widely quoted, without source or date, as disparaging Allen and having said he cannot see him.

Clarinetist

Woody Allen with Jerry Zigmont and Simon Wettenhall performing at Vienne Jazz Festival, Vienne, France, September 20, 2003

Allen is a passionate fan of jazz, which is often featured prominently in the soundtracks to his films. He began playing as a child and took his stage name from clarinetist Woody Herman.[109] He has performed publicly at least since the late 1960s, notably with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper.[110] One of his earliest televised performances was on The Dick Cavett Show on October 20, 1971.[111]

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have been playing each Monday evening at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel for many years[112] (as of 2011,[113] specializing in classic New Orleans jazz from the early twentieth century).[114] The documentary film Wild Man Blues (directed by Barbara Kopple) documents a 1996 European tour by Allen and his band, as well as his relationship with Previn. The band has released two CDs: The Bunk Project (1993) and the soundtrack of Wild Man Blues (1997).

Allen and his band played the Montreal Jazz Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008.[115]

Significant works about Woody Allen

A panel from Stuart Hample's Inside Woody Alle...

A panel from Stuart Hample’s Inside Woody Allen comic strip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A panel from Stuart Hample’s Inside Woody Allen comic strip

Apart from Wild Man Blues, directed by Barbara Kopple, there are a number of other documentaries featuring Woody Allen, including the 2002 cable-television documentary Woody Allen: a Life in Film, directed by Time film critic Richard Schickel, which interlaces interviews of Allen with clips of his films, and Meetin‘ WA, a short interview of Allen by French director Jean-Luc Godard. In 2011 the PBS series American Masters co-produced a comprehensive documentary about him, Woody Allen: a Documentary directed by Robert B. Weide.

From 1976 to 1984, Stuart Hample wrote and drew Inside Woody Allen, a comic strip based on Allen’s film persona.

Psychoanalysis

Allen spent over 37 years undergoing psychoanalysis. Many of his films contain references to psychoanalysis. Even the film Antz, an animated feature in which Allen contributes the voice of lead character Z, opens with a classic piece of Allen analysis shtick.

Moment Magazine says, „It drove his self-absorbed work.“ John Baxter, author of Woody Allen – A Biography, wrote, „Allen obviously found analysis stimulating, even exciting.“[116]

Allen says he ended his psychoanalysis visits around the time he began his relationship with Previn. He says he still is claustrophobic and agoraphobic.[102]

Filmography

Allen’s films span six decades, starting with 1965’s What’s New Pussycat?. He has written, directed, and starred in many of them, including films such as Annie Hall (1977), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Husbands and Wives (1992), all of which earned major awards. Originally known for his comedies, his early successes were followed by his first purely dramatic work, Interiors (1978).

Theatre works

In addition to directing, writing, and acting in films, Allen has written and performed in a number of Broadway theater productions.

Year Title Credit Venue
1960 From A to Z Writer (book) Plymouth Theatre
1966 Don’t Drink the Water Writer Coconut Grove Playhouse, Florida
1969 Play It Again, Sam Writer, Performer (Allan Felix) Broadhurst Theatre[117]
1975 God Writer
1975 Death Writer
1981 The Floating Light Bulb Writer Vivian Beaumont Theatre
1995 Central Park West Writer Variety Arts Theatre
2003 Old Saybrook Writer, Director Atlantic Theatre Company
2003 Riverside Drive Writer, Director Atlantic Theatre Company
2004 A Second Hand Memory Writer, Director Atlantic Theater Company
2011 Honeymoon Motel Writer Brooks Atkinson Theatre

Bibliography

Published plays

Short stories

Anthologies

  • Complete Prose of Woody Allen (1992), ISBN 0-517-07229-7. (Collection of Allen’s short stories first published in Getting Even, Without Feathers and Side Effects.)
  • The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8129-7811-7.

Chapbook

  • Lunatic’s Tale (1986), ISBN 1-55628-001-7 (Short story previously included in Side Effects.)

See also

References

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  5. ^ Newton, Michael (January 13, 2012). „Woody Allen: cinema’s great experimentalist“. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved April 9, 2012. „In the 1970s, Allen looked irreverent, hip, a part of the New Hollywood generation. In an age of ‚auteurs‘, he was the auteur personified, the writer, director and star of his films, active in the editing, choosing the soundtrack, initiating the projects“
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Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Woody Allen
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Woody Allen
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Films directed by Woody Allen

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Awards for Woody Allen

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