A dissenting voice: a film as tedious as this does have positive value. One realizes the need for a third notion of time, other than reel time (time in film) and real time (clock time elapsed), one needs a felt time (Bergsonian time, how long one feels a shot lasts). By that measure this film sure do last an eternity.
Rewatched and revalued. A film that as in Oliveira's "The Past and the Present" Mendelssohn's music establishes an ironic rhetoric under which images "romanticize" a vaudeville comedy with the help from Impressionism and a wise exploration of the magic lantern as a projector of proficuous wishes, a metaphor par excellence of cinema. As in Shakespear's magic forest, desires liberate themselves and create nostalgia.
I can think of several Woody Allen movies that just sort of meander then pull out a home run in the last 5 minutes, completely making the movie for me and forcing me to forgive all of the bullshit I was subjected to for the past hour. Unfortunately A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy did the opposite, having me on the hook then completely losing me with the silly light show and Jose Ferrer's disembodied voice.
Not the gossamer light confection it could have been and something of a portent for latter, even thinner, meta-physical whimsies from Allen; yet it’s attractively staged if underdeveloped and peopled with generally uninteresting characters.
Apparently the script was written in two weeks and you can evidently see its shortcomings throughout the film. The plot and characters are rather thinly worked upon, but in spite of this, the film retains an ethereal quality through its cinematography and art design. The countryside is truly alluring and it, along with the charming cast, provides the film with the necessary backbone that makes it watchable.
Despite having taken the previous year off, this is a step down from Stardust Memories for Allen. It's a fun film but the jokes don't fly as fast or hit as hard as in his other, better works, and it lacks the sweet poignancy of Stardust.