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Crimes and Misdemeanors (Widescreen)

Martin Landau , Woody Allen , Woody Allen    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.39 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Crimes and Misdemeanors (Widescreen) + Husbands and Wives (Bilingual) + Manhattan Murder Mystery (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Bilingual)
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"Poignant, Penetrating [And] Scathingly Hilarious" (Long Beach Press Telegram), Crimes And Misdemeanors Is A Deftly Rendered Tale About The Complexity Of Human Choices And The Moral Microcosms They Represent. Showcasing Allen'S Brilliant Grasp Of The Link Between The Funny And The Fatal, His 19Th Movie Is "One Of The Watershed Films Of His Career" (Los Angeles Times). Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) Is An Idealistic Filmmaker Until He'S Offered A Lucrative Job Shooting Aflattering Profile Of A Pompous Tv Producer (Alan Alda). Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) Is The Pillar Of His Community Until He Learns That His Ex-Mistress (Anjelica Huston) Plans To Expose His Financial And Extramarital Misdeeds. As Cliff Chooses Between Integrity And Selling Out, And Judah Decides Between The Counsel Of His Rabbi (Sam Waterston) And The Murderous Advice Of His Mobster Brother (Jerry Orbach), Each Man Must Examine His Own Morality, And Make An Irrevocable Decisionthat Willchange Everyone'S Lives Forever.


Along with Deconstructing Harry which would follow seven years later, this is Woody Allen's most somber comedy-drama, as well as his most ambitious film of the 1980s. Allen weaves together two central stories about very different groups of Manhattanites, linking them through a mutual friend, a rabbi (Sam Waterston) who's going blind. This image is key to the sometimes ponderous, often clever musings on faith, morals, and vision (or lack thereof) that obsess his deeply troubled and unhappy characters. At its center, the film explores people who, through lack of religious conviction or arrogance, rationalize their awful, selfish acts by presuming that God couldn't possibly be watching.

The central story--a neo-noir of sorts--follows a fortuitous ophthalmologist (Martin Landau, all sweat and grimaces) who faces the prospect of his obsessed mistress (Anjelica Huston) ruining his life by telling his family of their affair. Desperate, the doctor hires his slimy criminal brother (Jerry Orbach) to eliminate the situation, and then suffers overwhelming regret afterwards. The flip tale is more typical Allen. Funnier and lighter, it focuses on an impossible romance between Allen's character and Halley Reed, a film producer played by Mia Farrow. Between Allen and his Hollywood fantasy stands his brother-in-law (Alan Alda, perfectly cast as an obnoxious, successful sitcom producer), who also desires Halley. Allen is Landau's opposite: an honest, struggling documentarian who cares nothing about fortune, suffers in a loveless marriage, and is surrounded by triumphant phonies. The nice-guys-finish-last moral may be as contrived as it is devastating. Yet, when Landau and Allen finally share a final scene during a wedding, their faces, subtle body movements, and contrasting fortunes somehow suggest that indeed God may be blind, and if not, the deity has a very sick sense of humor. --Dave McCoy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Is Woody Religious? April 6 2003
Woody Allen is the most deeply religious of movie directors; He just doesn't know it yet.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" (an obvious nod to Fyodor Dostoyevsky) is Allen's most engrossing quest for moral order in the universe, which quest leaves him -- and the viewer -- utterly bereft.
However, unlike the bleak "Interiors" or Allen's hilarious send-up on impending death being the impetus for finding God in "Hannah and Her Sisters," Allen's treatment of God, morality and free will is multi-faceted, and doesn't come to any pat answers.
In fact, it is Allen's ambivalent contemplation of religion and ethics that conservative critics find lacking at best, or disingenuous at worst. I see it differently: Agree or disagree with him, Allen is an atheist who is nonetheless tormented by the conclusion he has reached that there is no God. His is no knee-jerk atheism, as he has clearly thought through the philosophical issues involved, wavering between Nietzschean will to power and outright denial, to existentialist reluctance in the face of the ultimate meaningless of life beyond the here-and-now.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is peopled by a sterling cast, whose lives and choices are in direct conflict and contrast with one another; Yet, all speak with one voice, in Allen's exquisitely economical and pointed dialogue.
Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau, in the role of a lifetime, so perfectly is the dialogue tailored to his cadence of voice and gestures), like Job, is a man who has everything he could ever want. Unlike Job, when he sees his wealth and seemingly ideal family life (with wife Claire Bloom) jeopardized, he turns his back on God.
The catalyst for Judah's life crisis is Dolores (Angelica Huston), a lonely airline stewardress with whom he's having more than a fling.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Humorous. Oct. 1 2002
~Crimes and Misdemeanors~ is one of Woody Allen's more acclaimed motion pictures. Not since 'Hannah and Her Sisters' had the critics as well as the American public gave it the attention and praise that most of his films deserve. Allen has commented many times that people in his native land, generally, stay away from his pictures in droves. In fact, he has also said, that aside from a small American following, and a substantial European audience, he'd be out of business completely. ~Crimes~ is a unique and decidedly intelligent film that addresses some weighty religious, philosophical and psychological questions, and still managed to gain attention and sell a few tickets at the American box office.
Martin Landau (who won an Oscar for Best Actor) plays Judas - a successful optician caught at the receiving end of his mistresses (Angelica Huston) neurotic threats of revealing their two-year love affair to his wife and the world. Judas's dilemma peaks when his mistress, in a last ditch effort to get him back, threatens to reveal some unscrupulous business dealings in his past. Offers of money and pleas for forgiveness work to no avail until Judas is compelled to do something drastic. The man created two lives, and one is about to destroy the other. He decides to contact his long lost unscrupulous brother, and rationalize that the only way to solve the problem is to fix the mistress - permanently. (Crime)
Woody Allen plays an unhappily married, frustrated documentary filmmaker. Pitted against his egotistical and successful filmmaker brother-in-law (Alan Alda) who hires him to make a biographical documentary about his life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen's finest serious film Sept. 15 2002
In Crimes and Misdemeanors, Woody Allen recalls the work of the great European directors (especially Bergman's soul-searching preoccupation with matters of faith). Two stories unfold in parallel: that of a successful ophthalmologist (played by Martin Landau), whose predicament with an extra-marital affair causes him to do the unthinkable; and a the serio-comic flirtations of a small-time documentary film-maker (played by Allen himself) contemplating his own extramarital romp with a production assistant (Mia Farrow).
Landau's character, Judah Rosenthal, afraid of ruination, calls upon his brother (Law and Order's Jerry Orbach) to make his little indiscretion "disappear". She disappears, all right - into oblivion, the victim of a hit-man Orbach's character met through his years in the restaurant business.
Allen's character, by far much lighter and more innocent, is trying to finance a documentary on an upbeat Holocaust survivor and Philosophy professor by condescending to make a television biography of his shallow, egotistical brother-in-law, a famous sit-com producer (Alan Alda).
What these two stories have in common is a deepening ethical dilemma posed by the ambiguity of moral standards in the absence of religious faith. Although raised in a traditionally religious Jewish household, Judah is not, himself, a believer - at least, until the guilt of his mistress' murder presses down upon him almost unbearably. Then he begins to fantasize that he will be caught and punished, if only because the seeing eye of God is everywhere, and He will make certain of it. Similarly, Allen's character is driven to the point of crisis not only by his failure to snag his own mistress, but by the suicide of the professor whose life seemed the very model of spiritual triumph in the face of adversity.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars And The Oscar Goes To....
I would say this is one of Woody's masterpieces. The casting and the acting is impeccable. Especially Martin Landau - who was nominated, but sadly didn't win for best actor. Read more
Published 28 days ago by John Westwood
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie of modern life
When i was young i recall watching the great movies of neil simon on tv, brighton beach memoirs and biloxi blues,and those films of his one time wife marsha mason,and his big break... Read more
Published on June 9 2012 by Anthony Marinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant film about the nature of guilt and judgement
Deeply moving, deeply though-provoking, brilliantly acted and occasionally very funny. A disturbing, dark film about human nature that still manages to leave room for a glimmer of... Read more
Published on April 16 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars How round is your circle?
There's no need to force conclusions from this fantastic movie about either the nature of god or the nature of man - that would be like rejecting the circle that I draw because you... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2007 by Vote Sizing Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime but no time
I think what Allen meant to call this film was "Felonies and Misdemeanors" since a misdemeanor is a crime and the title a little redundant. Read more
Published on May 15 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars God Is Not An Idiot
Examining theodicy, the enigma of reconciling a benevolent God with capricious fate and suffering, Woody Allen fails to get much beyond a dark comic-dramatization of a freshman... Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Edward J. Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully intelligent film
This is not a typical Woody Allen film in that it has an overall seriously philosophical quality. The performance of Martin Landau as a successful opthamolgist who is morally... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004 by R. J. Marsella
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Woody Allen Film
This film ranks among Woody's best:
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Deconstructing Harry, Hannah and Her Sisters, Interiors, and Stardust Memories
Amazing performances by the... Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars situational ethics under scrutiny
I had read only great reviews about this film from all quarters, and then was asked to teach it to high school students. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2002 by Bill Engel
5.0 out of 5 stars Near The Top Of The 'Woody List'
Crimes and Misdemeanors is my favorite of Woody Allen's dramas and it is a drama. If you're looking for pure comedy, look elsewhere. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2002 by "mnlaustin"
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