Set in 1920’s New York City, this movie tells the story of idealistic young playwright David Shayne. Producer Julian Marx finally finds funding for the project from gangster Nick Valenti. The catch is that Nick’s girl friend Olive Neal gets the part of a psychiatrist, and Olive is a bimbo who could never pass for a psychiatrist as well as being a dreadful actress. Agreeing to this first compromise is the first step to Broadway’s complete seduction of David, who neglects longtime girl friend Ellen. Meanwhile David puts up with Warner Purcell, the leading man who is a compulsive eater, Helen Sinclair, the grand dame who wants her part jazzed up, and Cheech, Olive’s interfering hitman / bodyguard. Eventually, the playwright must decide whether art or life is more important. —IMDb
Actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright Woody Allen redefined film comedy during the 1970s, bringing a new measure of sophistication and personal complexity to the form. Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, NY, on December 1, 1935, he adopted his stage name at the age of 17, and in 1953 enrolled in NYU’s film program, and soon dropping out of school to begin writing for comedian David Alber. Two years later, Allen graduated to writing for television; during his five-year in television, his efforts won him an Emmy nomination. He eventually decided to try his hand as a stand-up performer. After slowly gaining a reputation on the New York-club circuit, he became a frequent talk show guest and in 1964 issued his self-titled debut comedy LP. With 1966’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, a puckish re-tooling of a Japanese spy thriller complete with his own story line and dubbed English dialogue, he made his directorial debut. In 1969 Allen directed two short films for a CBS television special… read more
A better period comedy from Allen than Curse of the Jade Scorpion. The cast is more enjoyable, the dialogue more witty (although the constant talking-over-each-other ad-libbing can be annoying at times). Palminteri's performance was my favorite part of the film; I wasn't enjoying it until his character stepped forward in the story. Not my favorite Allen film but still worth watching.
Also: Ross Douthat, film critic. Woody Allen on Broadway. Whit Stillman at Harvard. And Orson Welles performs Shakespeare on the radio.