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Manhattan

Woody Allen , Diane Keaton , Woody Allen    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
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Manhattan, Woody Allen's follow-up to Oscar-winning Annie Hall, is a film of many distinctions: its glorious all-Gershwin score, its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis (best-known for shooting the Godfather movies); its deeply shaded performances; its witty screenplay that marked a new level in Allen's artistic maturity; and its catalog of Things that Make Life Worth Living. But Manhattan is also distinguished in the realm of home video as the first motion picture to be released only in a letterboxed version. You wouldn't want to see it any other way. Allen's "Rhapsody in Gray" concerns, as his own character puts it, "people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe." It's a romantic comedy about infidelity and betrayal, the rules of love and friendship, young girls (a radiant and sweet Mariel Hemingway) and older men (Allen), innocence, and sophistication. (a favorite phrase is used to describe a piece of sculpture at the Guggenheim: "It has a marvelous kind of negative capability.") The movie's themes can be summed up in two key lines: "I can't believe you met somebody you like better than me," and "It's very important to have some kind of personal integrity." OK, so they may not sound like such sparkling snatches of brilliant dialogue, but Manhattan puts those ideas across with such emotion that you feel an ache in your heart. --Jim Emerson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
One of the most stunningly beautiful to look at films of the last 50 years, made with great wit, and full of strong
observations about loss, aging, and how we lie to ourselves.

But, personally, It doesn't quite rise to the level of `Annie Hall' for me in terms of timelessness or emotional impact.

It's a film I deeply admire, respect, see why others have it on their '10 best of all time' lists, etc. but feel guilty
that I can't unreservedly love. Somehow all the adult characters' self-obsessed narcissism keeps me at arms length.
I identify with moments, but -- unlike 'Annie Hall' - not the whole.

That said, it's strengths are so strong, and it has affected so many so deeply that its any film lover owes themselves
the chance to see. Among other things, Gordon Willis' photography will leave you with
images you'll never forget.

And as nice as the DVD transfer was, the beautiful new blu-ray goes it one better. This film has a depth
and immediacy on blu-ray that rivaled my memories of seeing it for the first time on the big screen. Of
course, as always with Woody, there are still no real extras, but these images are so great, that you
owe yourself the blu-ray version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Annie Hall July 6 2004
By J
Format:DVD
This is how a black and white should be filmed. And in the perfect location. I'm not a Woody Allen fan but this is just simply an excellent film. Funny, smart, insightful and emminently watchable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless christmas gift for New York! July 3 2004
Format:DVD
Woody Allen made a pictoric statement ; an artistic gift of countless carats ; an etarnal portrait for the next generations who will watch this picture with the same devotion we have in front a masterpiece in the Metropolitan , Louvre or any other prestigious museum in the world.
The story turns as a leit motive in many films of this clever film maker , about the disturbing relationship between two lovers , the loneliness , the no sense living who seems work out for many people in a city as NY that owns the sublime virtue of being capable of renovating to itself from time to time . This is the clue why we love so much this unique city .
The opening shots shows Allen who is left by his wife (Meryl Streep) for another woman ; this bitter sight is linked with the fact Woody falls in love with a teenager that it might be well his own daughter (Mariel Hemingway) ; notice this relationship is built for the Pygmalion effect. She admires him and eventually falls in love with him when she compares his rich gaze about the world with the routiny of her friends ; flat and deepless.
In the middle of this emotional chaos the rendezvous to NYC emerges from time to time with unforgettable images . Gordon Willis stole the show with this arresting landscapes. He caught the mythical essence of this caleidoscopic city: irreverent , creative , seductive , challenging but fascinating . However Allen knew show the viewer the underestimated wonderful treasures that by one or several reasons some proportion of the people who lives there it doesn't seem to realize . Once more the sight of an artist is to make open the eyes and alterate the usual perspectives of the reality , creating a new one.
And Allen made it . Bravo!
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4.0 out of 5 stars ...Old-Fashioned and New-Fangled May 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Schmuck!
This is the movie you wanted to buy back from the studio?
It doesn't really matter, and maybe that's why it makes such a noticible difference: "Annie Hall" was the first of an apparantly unconcious trilogy where Woody Allen, acting as a writer/director/actor ("Star Wa- oops!- DUST Memories" is the third: "Interiors" came out around the same time but is a very different non-animal and doesn't count) acceded -- in very different stages of reluctance -- his own attractiveness, brilliance and success in all realms of life.
But in "Manhattan," Allen dumps his editor?collaborator? Ralph Rosenblum and takes control in collaboration with maverick non-union non-recognized cinematographer Gordon Willis to make a very different film. Allen allows that the concept was to make a film in real wide-screen (aka "anamorphic") set in New York.
Schmuck.
Unlike "Annie," this film is non-improvisational and supremely more stylish; and being filmed in widescreen black & white is by no means the greatest of the differences.
Meaner than "Annie's" breaking-the-fourth-wall snottiness, "Manhattan" honed a contempt for the delusional and self-hating inhabitants of its namesake into a screed in which even the judgemental character Allen plays (who lectures everyone -- especially himself) is scalded for having no business enjoying the magnificent vistas they cluelessly scamper through with as much appreciation as a yeti in the Serengheti.
Sorry. Great film, gorgeous cinematography (the first 10 min. are worth the price of the DVD alone), acting you won't even notice, it's so good, probably the best of any 10 films of the last 25 years, regardless of your opinion of Allen's life or personal crap.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant character study! April 10 2004
Format:DVD
There's a scene in this film where Woody Allen is lying on his couch, lethargic and immensely depressed. He's talking into a tape recorder, and he says something along the lines of, "I'm thinking about writing a short story about people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe." What an interesting issue he's preparing to approach in his latest work of art. And purposefully (for obvious reasons), that quote sums up the entire film.
Manhattan surrounds the lives of Isaac (Woody Allen), his ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep), his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), his seventeen-year-old girlfriend Tracy (the Oscar-nominated Marial Hemmingway), Yale's wife (Anne Byrne Hoffman), and, of course, Yale's mistress Mary (the wonderful Diane Keaton). One day, Isaac and Tracy are on a date and they come across Yale spending the day with Mary. And that's what starts it all. At first Isaac despises Mary's overbearing, free personality. But eventually he runs into her again and he gives her a chance, walking home with her after a gala. And the two become great friends, leading to something more, causing an entire love triangle to form, affecting every character in the film in different ways. But of course, that's not all there is to it.
The love triangle between Mary, Isaac and Yale is a vehicle for studying the behavioral habits of Isaac, the film's main focus. He is an intensely neurotic man who, like he says at one point in the film, fixates on smaller problems in order to rid his mind of the larger ones he is afraid to face.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Manhatten
The CD - "Manhattan" was a gift for my husband. He listens to it everyday. He loves it.

Sandra Martel
Published 14 months ago by Sandra Martel
2.0 out of 5 stars all-white stuttering misanthrope in black and white
Does it bother anyone else that in what the director himself cals an "idealized New York" there are never any people of color? Read more
Published on June 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Matchless Entertainment!
I've read some great reviews on this film and agree with the ones that states that this is one of Woody's best. Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by Patrick D. Mayo
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll take Manhattan
I am giving the Woody Allen classic "Manhattan" 5 stars here because it's a classic movie- despite the fact that the dvd has no bonus features other than the original... Read more
Published on March 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quarter Century Later, Still Woody's True Masterpiece...
In 1979, Woody had the burden of trying to capture the "originality" of "Annie Hall," the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1977. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004 by David Kusumoto
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Woody's best
Manhattan is a witty comedy-drama that most certainly ranks as one of Woody Allen's most aesthetically charming films. Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by www.DavidLRattigan.com
5.0 out of 5 stars A valentine for the Big Apple
Manhattan is Woody Allen's most ambitious and most fully realized picture. Filmed in beautiful black and white and full of laughs. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2003 by Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection
I have seen a dozen or so movies that come very close to capturing the true art of filmmaking, but this one nails it. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003 by "fek519"
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