11/22/12 – Manhattan, Woody Allen

Yesterday’s seminar class was probably the most enjoyable one out of them all. I was excited to watch A Bronx Tale for the millionth time in a row, but to my surprise, Professor Kahan decided to change the movie we were about to see to, Manhattan, directed by Woody Allen.

To be honest, I was very disappointed because I love watching old “gangster” movies such as: The Godfather, Scarface, and A Bronx Tale. Normally, I am not a big fan of black and white movies because I have grown up in an age where everything is in color, so a lack of color seems boring and prosaic to me. However, I do make a couple classic exceptions for black and white films.

Aside from my interest in old movies, yesterday we watched Manhattan, and at first glance it looked really familiar, but I couldn’t exactly pinpoint where or when I had heard of this movie before. Not until someone shouted out that Woody Allen directed it, did I realize, that in my old AP English class we discussed him briefly. All I can remember about him is that he was a complete weirdo and there was definitely something wrong with him, not only in the movie, but in real life as well, for he married his adopted stepdaughter. Personally, I find that very strange and he was a very odd man, to say the least.

As I was watching the movie the questions we had to answer for A Bronx Tale and All About Eve, began to quickly formulate in my mind.  The function of the camera in a particular movie is the key for the overall feeling and mood of the movie. In Manhattan, the camera wasn’t really quick moving as it was in A Bronx Tale. There are some times when it zooms into particular characters to emphasis the point he/she is trying to convey. But, overall, the camera shadows over the main characters and pinpoints where the audience should be putting their attention.

The costumes, music, and setting all played a vital role in driving the plot and series of events along. For example, the clothing portrayed a wealthy and superior nature. Whereas, the music shifts from jazz all the way to classical. By having such a wide rang of sounds, it adds to the high society persona. The setting had its roots in New York, a place all of us can relate to quite significantly. By doing so, we were all able to get a better feeling as well as understand some of the famous New York hotspots such as: Central Park.

The black and white nature of the film represents the “old Manhattan” feeling, and I was able to relate to the emotions evoked by the main characters. Woody Allen’s approach towards framing each scene was for the most part pretty similar throughout the entire movie.  From what I can see, he made sure all of the characters were placed in the center and by zooming in and out produced a contrast of framing.

I’d be remised if I didn’t discuss the dialogue and its importance in the movie. It varies from time to time because it can range from resentful humor, to calm and peaceful tones. The move in itself is a quick and eventful one, which is because of the characters diverse and noteworthy dialogues.

Overall, I thought this movie was a little abstract and creepy, but that definitely represents Woody Allen in a nutshell.  I am looking forward to hearing more about this movie in depth next week.