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The Woody Allen Collection (Hannah and Her Sisters / The Purple Rose of Cairo / Broadway Danny Rose / Zelig / A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy / Radio Days)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H. Joffe, Ezra Swerdlow, Gail Sicilia, Jack Rollins, Michael Peyser
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: MGM Canada
  • Release Date: April 1 2003
  • Run Time: 528 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005O06O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,408 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

This Woody Allen boxed set captures the first half of what could be called Allen's "Mia period," his films from the early 1980s. The lighthearted A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, about the neurotic romping of a bunch of friends at a country house, marks the beginning of Woody and Mia Farrow's film relationship, followed by Zelig, Allen's clever pseudo-documentary of a man who just wants to fit in. Broadway Danny Rose, the tale of a mediocre talent agent who gets involved with a client's wife, is seen as a trifle by some but held as one of Allen's best films by others. But the next two are a pair of undisputed knockouts: The Purple Rose of Cairo, in which the hero of a movie (Jeff Daniels) steps off the screen to help a woeful waitress (Farrow). The ending is at first heart-wrenching, then finds a wistful hope. Hannah and Her Sisters is possibly, after Annie Hall, Allen's most loved movie, with its Chekhovian mix of love and sorrow in the lives of three sisters (Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Barbara Hershey). Hannah won a number of awards, including Oscars® for best screenplay and supporting acting for both Wiest and Michael Caine (as Farrow's husband). Finally, the nostalgic Radio Days rounds out the set with a gentle look at entertainment back when people had to dream up their own pictures. These six films represent one of Allen's strongest periods; he moved fluidly from comedy to drama, avoiding big statements but ruefully exploring the foibles of humanity. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 16 2011
Format: DVD
While perhaps this 'middle' collection of Woody Allen's films is a tiny touch more inconsistent than the first, it's still a great deal, with - to my thinking - 2 flat out great films, a few very good ones, and only one slightly weaker. At just about $11 a title (and often on sale for less) that's pretty good for a collection of important films by one of our best filmmakers. My individual thoughts, in chronological order (note: my ratings are based on a 4 star system);

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) *** The earliest, and for me, the weakest of the group, though far from 'bad'. A cute and charming romp. A group of friends in the early 20th century get caught up in a weekend of love and sex in the country. Certainly enjoyable, if not really much more. Gordon Willis's photography is nowhere near as amazing as his earlier collaborations with Woody, and the film doesn't have any wildly funny moments. But the writing is witty, and the acting solid if not triumphant. It just doesn't feel like a Woody Allen film somehow. More like a nice, solid, unassuming French farce. That's not a bad thing, and this film is still better than 99% of what comes out of Hollywood, with a sweeter, more upbeat tone than usual for Allen. It's just coming on the heels of masterpieces like 'Annie Hall', 'Manhattan', and 'Stardust Memories', and just before other great films like 'Zelig' 'Hannah and Her Sisters', and 'Purple Rose of Cairo', it can't help but pale a bit in comparison.

Zelig (1983)**** Amazing technically, with a lot to say about society, conformity, and how we see ourselves.
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Format: DVD
This edition of the Woody Allen Collection is probably the best of the three box sets recently issued by MGM DVD. While Woody is probably best known for his early-70s slapstick comedies ("Sleeper," "Bananas") and his revolutionary reconstruction of the comedy with "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," three of his absolute best films appear in this set. "Zelig," whose technological advances foreshadow those of 1994's Academy Award favorite "Forrest Gump" by nearly ten years, is easily the better film, and the three years Woody spent making this film seems well worth the effort. About a "human chameleon," Leonard Zelig, whose insecure shapeshifting act ranges from pure novelty to affinities with fascism, is as funny as it is sharp. The best film in the set, "The Purple Rose of Cairo," also foreshadows the postmodern nostalgia films of the late 1990s, particularly "Pleasantville." Set during the Depression, this film is about a woman trapped in an awful marriage and an equally dissatisfying job. She escapes the misery of her life by watching films. She watches the same film over and over, and one of the characters comes off the screen to intervene in her life. A wonderful, complex and poignant examination of the conflation between fiction and reality, "The Purple Rose of Cairo," though a sad and dramatic film, is as powerful as anything Woody Allen has directed. The third wonderful film here is "Hannah and Her Sisters," which won three Oscars, is a return to the ensemble sensibility Woody perfected in "Manhattan.Read more ›
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By A Customer on Nov. 11 2001
Format: DVD
Without a doubt the existence of the third Woody Allen collection is reason to rejoice. Those of you without any of the other previous releases in your collection, should consider making this your initial acquisition. Eventually, like me, you will crave that which came before, after and whatever comes next. If you assemble all the films available you will appreciate the enormity of this man's talent and range. Actually, within this set is the very essence of what he does best. A little pathos and little bathos and some very specific NYC moments you can appreciate, even if you do not live in or know NYC. His love and respect of music and its significance to the overall impact of the film is perhaps one of Woody Allen's most significant contributions to the artform.
These selections from the 80's contain some of the most inspired casting, sets and script writing. All the Seinfeld devotees might investigate the origins of neurosis and urban nuance as it was originally conceived and enacted by a true comic genius. This is the template for ensemble comedic acting. Yes there are laughs but most arrive as bittersweet moments that are not annouced as marquee statements that benefit from a laugh track, but as simple moments that are so memorable because of their subtlety.
Perhaps the three most unique films of Woody's pantheon are here, MidSummer Night's Sex Comedy, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Zelig. All are told as fractured fairy tales that create an atmosphere of pure escapism and delight. These three demonstrate the range and flexibility of his vision.
Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days are infused with a love of subject that few films match. Again the performances of the ensemble represent some of the finest work by those actors yet.
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