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Deconstructing Harry (1997)

Caroline Aaron , Kirstie Alley , Woody Allen  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Caroline Aaron, Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Richard Benjamin, Eric Bogosian
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 1998
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780622243
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,594 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Deconstructing Harry" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

On DVD, the film is presented in both widescreen and pan and scan; the disc includes cast bios. --Diane Garrett

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(123)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
`Deconstructing Harry', written and directed by Woody Allen, may set the record for famous name cameos in Allen's pictures, with the added twist that you have famous actors playing the parts of other famous name actors in the same movie, as when, for example, Kirsty Ally, one of the Allen character wives, is played by Demi Moore in a playing out of one of the pieces of fiction represented in the movie.

I have often touted the virtue of rewatchability in almost all of Allen's movies. After all, why buy a DVD or tape of a movie if there is no value in watching it more than once. With this movie, it is absolutely essential that you watch it at least three times to understand what is going on, as the movie freely, and with relatively little warning, switches back and forth between cinema reality and Harry's (the Allen character) fiction. In some movies, having trouble keeping track of the plot threads means this is simply a bad movie. There are things in this movie that may have been done poorly, but the parallel thread lines between reality and fiction is not one of them.

This is certainly one of Allen's two or three most highly biographical movies, the others being `Stardust Memories' and `Radio Days'. It is not even a big stretch to make the Allen surrogate character a writer rather than a film maker (as in `Stardust Memories') since Allen did a lot of short story writing for the `New Yorker' before film making took all of his time. All of Allen's favorite subjects, primarily love, sex, death, Judaism, parents, and creativity are here. Books have been written about the themes in Allen's movies. `Deconstructing Harry' could easily take a book or at least a long monograph in itself to explicate all the ideas going on in the real and fictional threads.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to hell with your inner demons July 26, 2005
By milss
Format:DVD
In a rare case of art imitating life, Woody Allen gives us his comedy Deconstructing Harry, where we meet Harry Block, a neurotic writer unfaithful to all of his wives, addict to sedatives, obsessed with sex and prostitutes; a man who shamelessly offends family members and friends with his books. In a jiff, a classic Woody Allen character, but darker, sadder, more isolated and more immature.

Now, on the verge of a famous University tribute, Harry must deal with his insecurities, bad habits and nerves while he begins a journey where he will interact with dual realities -the ones in his agitated life and the ones reflected through the characters of his books- and will show the audience with very black humor his incapacity to have honest relationships and his absurd excuses to defend his nasty actions. He will revolve in the deepest caves of his destructive side until literally go to hell, as never had done an Allen's character

To recommend Deconstructing Harry implies to warn you that you`ll be part of a sordid world of phobias, obsessions, fear of death, hypochondrias and neurosis, all of this wrapped up with a coat of vulgarity and repulsiveness that won't run out through the 96 minutes of the film.

It's a respectable, intelligent, witty and crude work. Here, Allen has consumed himself as an irreverent. Honest and brutal, he gives us a stellar cast with colorful characters, with Harry as the center of everything. The dialogs are quick, witty, full of cynicism, and will get as many laughs as many stomach kicks. But let's appreciate his honesty, not criticize it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen travels into the mind of a writer, excellent! November 17, 2000
Format:DVD
How can I best describe the story of Woody Allen's 1997 comedy "Deconstructing Harry"? Well, I think that the film does a great job of describing itself with some of the final words of dialogue that we hear spoken by Allen's on-screen protaganist Harry Block, "It's about a really interesting character, a guy who can't function well in life, but can only function in art". This is not the first or last time that Allen has taken on the subject of creative personalities in his work, look at the jazz musician in "Sweet and Lowdown", the playwright in "Bullets Over Broadway", or the documentary fimmaker in "Crimes and Misdemeanors". But with "Deconstructing Harry" Allen seems to be at both his most self-revealing AND self-conscience as he tackles the life of a popular (but unhappy) novelist who is experiencing writers block, as well as those close to him who he has literally "used" in his work. It also seems like Allen was in a particularly dark and pessimistic mood when he concieved this piece (as opposed to say, the romanticism of "Manhattan" or "Annie Hall"), but luckily for us that pessimism translates into some hilarious darkly-comic moments. I must say that personally, I love this film and consider it among Allen's best work ever,...but I gaurantee you, it will NOT be for everybody! This film has an unusally complex style of storytelling, even by Woody Allen standards. We see Harry's life and work unfold through flashbacks, scenes from his novels, fantasy sequences, and most interestingly, conversations with the imaginary characters that he has created. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Classic
One of Woody's films that seems to be falling by the wayside (it's currently out of print). This film draws productively on story elements from Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries,... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Anyong
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Very funny, enjoyable.
Published 11 days ago by Digger
5.0 out of 5 stars A nimble relationship-capades Woody Allen style
Judy Davis' great verbal swift kick to the mental groin moments in "Husbands and Wives' along with her performances in 'Impromptu" and 'The New Age' just make her more endearing.
Published 14 days ago by daniel r. esian
5.0 out of 5 stars Deconstructing Harry
I have been trying to find this DVD over the past two years but the prices were just too high for a used copy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ODESSA LORRAINE BALL
5.0 out of 5 stars VHS in great shape
The movie was shipped prompty and arrived in great condition. On the downside, the movie itself was really a bad attempt at strained humor.
Published 5 months ago by Boyd Henson
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen's Dark Laugh Fest
A lot of people dismiss this as just another Woody Allen tantrum film, usually placing it alongside "Stardust Memories". Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Thadeus Toad
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, honest and funny
This is one of my all time favorite Woody Allen films. It's a very dark film dealing with heavy issues, but its not dark as in depressing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of Woody Allen's best movies.
This is one of Woody Allen's best movies. If you like Woody, you'll LOVE this movie. Absolutely brilliant! Sooooo funny.
Published 8 months ago by Buddy
1.0 out of 5 stars The DVD I ordered was for area 2 so it wouldn't play. I never heard of...
The DVD was for area 2 so it wouldn't play. I sent it back and got a little credit but not all. Your web site listing DVD's for sale should include a statement that DVD's for area... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Harold Warnnick
5.0 out of 5 stars if you like woody allen, you will love this movie
this is perhaps allen's most scathing movie and its rapier wit is turned exclusively on himself. if you already hate him, you will probably hate him even more for getting in the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by carol irvin
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