You could be forgiven for thinking there is always a Woody Allen movie playing at your local theatre.
Since 1965 he has produced a stream of comedies, romances and dramas at the rate of about one a year.
To place his output in context, look at the film careers of two of his contemporaries; Mel Brooks has made only 12 films in the time it took Allen to direct 45 and Carl Reiner has only written seven pictures against Allen’s list of 49 (and counting).
His productivity is nothing short of amazing — his latest film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, is at TIFF this week — but he claims to make films only because, “I don’t know what else I would do with my time.
“I’ve made perfectly decent films,” he says, but admits, “some of them may be very good and some may be very bad. If I was the teacher, I’d give myself a B.” Here’s a look back at the films of one of the hardest working men in show business.
1977’s Oscar winning Annie Hall is Allen’s acknowledged masterpiece, a film Roger Ebert called “just about everyone’s favourite Woody Allen movie.” The story of neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) and the ditsy title character (Diane Keaton) is a sweet and funny (“That sex was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.”) look at contemporary relationships.
Sex and death
Of all the themes Allen has covered, sex (“Is sex dirty? Only if it’s done right.”) and death (“On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily lying down.”) are his go-to topics. Of all his sex and death films, the chaotic Sleeper is the funniest. Billed as his “nostalgic look at the future,” it is a satirical sci-fi set to a soundtrack of Dixieland jazz. Funniest scene? Allen trapped inside an Orgasmatron.
Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable
He says he never watches his own films because, “I think I would hate them,” and in fact, there is one, considered a classic by many, he has watched and says he can’t stand — Manhattan. “I hated that one,” he says. On the flip side he does concede to enjoying Purple Rose of Cairo, Match Point, Bullets Over Broadway, Zelig and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.