In which Allen, having already remade 8 1/2, goes about remaking Amarcord. Though his string of remembered/imagined childhood anecdotes never reaches the insight or lyricism of Fellini's, it is a relentlessly glowing film full of warmth and lovely touches. And it's a reminder that the films he could casually toss off in the 80s are on another level from the ones he tosses off today. Bonus: cameo from a special guest.
Woody Allen's bittersweet, comedic and often touching tribute to his upbringing in the 1940's and the importance of radio on the American family is realized in this '87 effort. Disjointed certainly but Allen's wit and ear for dialogue shine through with many memorable sequences and quips. '...he's a ventriloquist on the radio...' ; '...I like Dana Andrews.. he's a guy....she is?...' Lesser Allen but rewarding.
Radio Days is to "Singin' in the Rain" something like what "Blow Out" is to "Blow-up". It's not a remake, but a variation with some citations — here the last glory days of radio (after overtaken by television), and it's stars, through the eyes of a little boy (Allen's wonderful narration) and it's chaotic large family.
Picturesque childhood reminiscence, and yet another perspective on era Allen loves to occasionally pay tribute to, is a catchy mixture of personal memories enliven through younger Joe's mischiefs and social commentary derived by older Joe's narration and Mia Farrow's character's story. Eventful and honest, but not as insightful as all the content pretty much stays within the colorful facade.
Personally, this is my favorite Woody Allen movie. He's definitely made better movies, but I love the way this story is told, and Woody's narration really helps bring you back to the golden age of radio.