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Woody Allen's homages to other films

by nicolas edelbach
Woody Allen's homages to other films by nicolas edelbach
Woody Allen puts out a film a year(usually). Of course, whether consciously or subconsciously, some of his movies tend to have striking similarities to some of his favorite films. This list may contain spoilers. I’ll start with an obvious one: Stardust Memories = 8 1/2 (Fellini) From the similarities in the opening dream sequence to the theme of a filmmaker uncertain of his own art and achievements in film, even to its black and white photography, these two films have many similarities while also being very personal to both filmmakers. However, Woody’s film was dismissed as being overly cruel towards his fans. Husbands and wives = Scenes… Read more

Woody Allen puts out a film a year(usually). Of course, whether consciously or subconsciously, some of his movies tend to have striking similarities to some of his favorite films.

This list may contain spoilers.

I’ll start with an obvious one:

Stardust Memories = 8 1/2 (Fellini)
From the similarities in the opening dream sequence to the theme of a filmmaker uncertain of his own art and achievements in film, even to its black and white photography, these two films have many similarities while also being very personal to both filmmakers. However, Woody’s film was dismissed as being overly cruel towards his fans.

Husbands and wives = Scenes from a Marriage (Bergman)
many people wondered if Woody’s film about divorce was him channeling his emotions about his break up with Mia Farrow. But really this film is almost a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s. The plots are identical. A happily married couple is shocked when they find out their friends are getting divorced. This causes them to contemplate their own marriage, which eventually dissolves and ends in divorce. The original couple (the friends) getting a divorce end up reconciling and staying married. Allen’s film focuses on both couples, where as Bergman’s is only concerned with the one.

Radio Days = Amarcord (Fellini)
Both movies are episodic (Usually funny and poignant) taken from each directors childhood(and stories they heard about others from the time).

A Midsummer nights Sex comedy = Smiles of a summer night (Bergman)
Allen’s film is a combination of Shakespeare and Ingmar Bergman’s film. Both films focus around a group of people, staying out a house one night and the comedy and amorous relationships that occur.

Deconstructing Harry = Wild Strawberries (Bergman)
The part with Woody going to pick up an award is eerily reminiscent of Bergman’s film. Also the idea of both main characters trying to reconcile mistakes they made in the past to people important to them.

Interiors and September = Chamber Dramas (Bergman made some)
Chamber Drama is a melodramatic work, characterized by emphasis on emotions rather than actions, and taking place in confined or intimate settings. Plays that are meant to be read and not acted are called chamber drama also. Cries and Whispers is an example of a Bergman Chamber Drama.

Love and Death = Dostoyevsky, Eisenstien, and Bergman
Features homages to Brothers Karamazov, many Eisenstein films, and Bergman’s Persona and Seventh Seal.

Everything you always wanted to know about sex…. = Antonioni
Referring Specifically to the Italian Segment, its themes on sexual repression and framing compositions, as well as characters mannerisms are clearly spoofing Antonioni and films like L’avventura.

Crimes and Misdemeanors/ Match Point = Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment
This is more of a homage to a book, but i’m including it anyway. Both films have clear parallels Crime and Punishment

Another Woman = Cassavettes films
Haven’t seen this one but i heard it was Allen’s attempt at a Cassavettes film. It even stars Cassavettes wife and favorite actress, Gena Rowlands.

Mighty Aphrodite = Sophocles plays (IE Oedipus Rex and Antigone)
More of an Homage to plays then movies, this film even very cleverly features a greek chorus, greek gods, and Oedipus and his mother (with one my favorite jokes: Oedipus Mother says “I’d hate to tell you what they call my son in Harlem.”) Also a pretty good ironic twist to the end.

Shadows and Fog = German Expressionism and Franz Kafka, lynch mobs/Fury (Fritz Lang), Sawdust and Tinsel (Bergman)
Besides the black and white cinematography, the film has clear references to German Expressionism cinema, kafka(The author), lynch mobs like in Fritz Lang’s movie, and John Malkovich dressed as a clown similar to Bergman’s Sawdust and Tinsel.

Hannah and Her Sisters = Robert Altman Ensemble films
Robert Altman made many ensemble films, none quite like Woody’s but its easy to see the influence Altman’s work had films like this and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Small Time Crooks = Larceny, Inc
Basically a remake

Purple Rose of Cairo = Nights of Cabiria (Fellini)
This one is usually overlooked but Mia Farrows character is a lot like Giulietta Masina(Fellini’s wife). Mainly she is looking for love and always unlucky. Farrows husband in the film is abusive and neglectful like the husband in La Strada(also Fellini). However the biggest connection between the films is their endings. Both main characters are trick and deceived when they finally believe they have found true love and end up alone. the character of Cabiria first appeared in Fellini’s The White Sheik.

Feel free to add any that i forgot. I’m sure there are more.

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