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Wild Man Blues (Dvd) (Ws)

20 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

Catch a fascinating and often hilarious glimpse of the private man behind the public image, as filmmaker, comedian - and musician - Woody Allen embarks on a whirlwind tour of Europe with his New Orleans Jazz Band.

Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Barbara Kopple
  • Format: DVD
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: ALL
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BF0CCU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,449 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ann Shillinglaw on March 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Having long enjoyed Allen's films, I was fascinated to get an inside look at what the human being Woody Allen is like. I found it especially moving to see this small-sized guy looking so tiny amid the hordes of fans crowding around him, and I admire his bravery more at having allowed himself, an intensely private person, to become "public" for the sake of the New Orleans jazz he loves. The interaction with Previn is especially surprising, since the media portrays her as a silent figure. My favorite detail was that his Oscar award statues sit like so many knick-knacks on his parents' upper shelf. If only the directors who live in Hollywood were as down to earth as Allen. Made me realize the difference between the Hollywood crowd and directors who chose to live outside the cocoon. Allen jokes about himself as a "scumbag" at one point, feeling like a real outsider amid opulence. This is a touching, interesting film, and the music is very charming. I also loved the fact that when he makes a witty side comment, his companions are clearly so used to it that they barely notice any more that he is constantly making sly wisecracks.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill K. Porco on January 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
My fiance and I viewed this video recently and I found it insightful, particularly in the wildly funny scene with his parents near the end. As the other reviewers have said, it seems to me that Woody Allen reveals his private side in some instances, and not others. In the latter, Woody seems to be self-aware that he's on camera and cracks jokes for the benefit of the viewer.
I too was bothered somewhat by his self-absorbed nature--but a lot of famous people are that way so I don't hold it against him too much. The video shows Allen, Previn, and his sister, Letty Aronson, traveling on private jets, and staying at 5-star hotels. While the ostentatiousness of his lifestyle bothers me (when other artists get pennies in NEA grant money), it was reassuring to know that even the rich and famous have problems getting their hotel showers to work or do not receive their breakfast toast that they ordered. It shows that even these people have to deal with the everyday problems of being human in a fallible world.
I digress---the footage of Woody and his band in concert and of Woody practicing are priceless, both for the music and for the obvious joy that he takes in playing down-home jazz music on the clarinet. I like Woody best in that element...he seems to come to life in front of an audience.
I was also impressed with Soon-Yi Previn and with Letty Aronson in this video because they saw right through Woody Allen's self-absorption and cut to the chase in their comments to him. It was reassuring to me that he has such supportive and helpful family at his side on his tours--he needs them! Previn, in particular, is clearly no shrinking violet in her relationship with him, which is probably a good thing.
If you want to understand what makes Woody Allen tick and what helps him get along in the world, see this video! Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laten Jones on December 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Woody Allen's blues are clear in this film. I think it's called depression is some parts. The jazz is good like a memory of jazz from a time we imagine. There is a scene when lights go out. I think it is in Venice. After some time, a single light keeps the show going. I liked that and will never forget it. Woody loves his own innocence. He is uncomplicated in this film. But you see that he is attracted to complexity. His mother was great in the film, a real natural. But I can see why he left her house and wanted the Dream. Here's looking at you kid! Thanks for romanticising the New Yorker lost in Europe so well. Henry James would be proud!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward Scott Haas on August 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is not exactly Annie Hall, but its a great passtime for any Allen fan. You get amusing and occasionally enlightening behind-the-scenes views into his private life; see some Europe's most lavish hotels, and are treated to the best old-fashioned jazz available today. This is not Kenny G, believe me! This jazz is raw, sensual and energetic. Allen and his band remind us that jazz was once a rugged, outlaw style of music.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Myrna Minkoff on October 26, 2010
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
First of all let me say that I do not, in any way, hold Barbara Koppel culpable for this dismal film. Koppel is, of course, the filmmaker responsible for the riveting, Oscar-winning documentary, Harlan County USA. That project occupied several years during which she and her crew were deeply engaged, along with the principals, in a prolonged and powerful, real-life drama.

Any documentary filmmaker would jump at a chance to penetrate the veil surrounding the life of Woody Allen. But it was obviously a highly constrained opportunity; she had two weeks to film, with who knows what specific limitations, and a painfully thin, predetermined "dramatic line" of Woody Allen --uncomfortable and mildly peevish -- joining with some more accomplished Dixeland musicians to present a handful of concerts to his adoring, European, movie fans. Koppel had little to work with; you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Perhaps half the film was specifically centered on the concerts, the band actually making music and the hoopla immediately surrounding the performances. The music seemed lifeless to me, although perhaps it would have been better if the sound recording had been less improvised. We saw more than enough of the "green room" moments, the entrances and exits, the little interactions with the crowd, etc.

The other half of the film consisted mostly of the banal conversation and trivialities of travel, staying in hotels, avoiding fans, etc. One eternal question about Woody is how much does he actually resemble his on-screen characters from his films in the period from Annie Hall through Crimes and Misdemeanors. I've read a good deal about him and had bought into the view that he was less of a nerd in real life than in those films.
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