Manhattan (1979)

Filmed in black and white and filled with Ira Gershwin tunes, Manhattan is Woody Allen’s rhapsodic tribute to New York City.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • Manhattan Original
  • Woody Allen Comedy Working

Cast & Credits

Introduction

“Manhattan tops Annie Hall in brilliance, wit, feeling and articulation, though it is less of a throbbing valentine to a lost love, and more of a meditation on an over-examined life.”
Andrew Sarris, Village Voice, 1979

Following the frosty reception accorded his serious-minded chamber piece Interiors (1978), Woody Allen returned to the blend of comedy and relationship drama that he’d perfected with the Oscar-winning Annie Hall (1977).

Opening with a montage of New York scenes scored to the orchestral jazz of Ira Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, Manhattan features the writer-director as Isaac Davis, a TV comedy writer dating a seventeen-year-old (Mariel Hemingway) but attracted to his best friend’s mistress Mary (Diane Keaton).

With radiant monochrome cinematography by Gordon Willis, Woody created a nostalgic tone poem of Manhattan sights and sounds as the backdrop to one of his most sharply written neurotic dramas. The movie’s most enduring image is the shot of Isaac and Mary looking out at the vast 59th Street Bridge in the wee small hours.

Excepting a cameo in Radio Days (1987), this was Diane Keaton’s final collaboration with Woody Allen until 1993’s light-hearted whodunit Manhattan Murder Mystery.

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