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Woody Allen: A Biography Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; New edition edition (December 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306809850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306809859
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This affectionate biography of Woody Allen is the best account of his life you can buy. Eric Lax, a longtime friend of Allen's, does not recite Allen's story by chronological rote. Instead, he begins in the present day and digresses from it to past events. The result is an anecdotal account that manages to give all the details of Allen's development as an artist and a man while remaining consistently entertaining, enlightening, and funny. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A feast for fans, this biography leans heavily on Woody Allen's own comments, interwoven verbatim with a shrewd, disarming portrait of an artist who feels "enormously alienated from other people." Lax ( On Being Funny: Woody Allen and Comedy ) is especially good on Allen's early years as New York University film school flunk-out, his transformation from stand-up comic to director, his influences (Mort Sahl, Camus, Odets, S. J. Perelman, et al.) and the recycling of his personal life into specific films. Lax is less revealing, however, when discussing the filmmaker's two marriages and 11-year relationship with Mia Farrow or the inner forces that drive him. Devotees will enjoy the behind-the-scenes glimpses of movies being written and shot. Photos. 50,000 first printing; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "tins" on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
A natural stage in my succession of becoming a Woody Allen freak was picking up a biography. Any single one would have suited my needs, because I knew only as much as somebody who had seen ten or so of his movies and was beginning to show some serious interest in this singular personality.
It turned out that by accident I had picked out just the right book. Eric Lax delivers over 400 pages of what seems to be a very detailed and reliable account of Woody's life. Contrary to the tabloid-like obsession with Allen's women which many writers of today appear to revel, Lax's primary emphasis is on his work, influences, and progress as a comedian. A special section was added to the end of the book to summarise the events of the last ten years (the first edition of this biography was published in 1991), including the row with Mia Farrow and Woody's marriage to Soon-Yi Previn. But it remains a biography of the man it boasts in the title, not a collection of second-hand conjectures and prejudices about what he might seem to be. Indeed, this is left to the army of Woody admirers who like to derive his character from the roles he has played or written.
The shattering of preconceived images that surround the private self of Woody Allen is probably one of the major strengths of Lax's book. Woody is shown as somebody who has been engaging in his beloved trade for years and now shows genuine surprise about all the fuss that is being raised around his straightforward life. Nevertheless, I refuse to buy such a portrayal, simply because I am one of those blind followers who have merged Woody on-screen with the real-life Woody. True or not, it is an illusion I am prepared to live, for that is the main attraction of his movies.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on April 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's a commonplace that many artists have questionable private lives. What Mr Allen does or doesn't do in his private life is of passing interest to me. That he likes younger women doesn't make him much different, maybe unfortunately, from millions of other men (is Rupert Murdoch a classic example or what?) If I want gossip I read a magazine. Mr Allen's work on the other hand interests me very much. This bio by Mr Lax is good for excerpts from Mr Allen's comedy routines and in revealing the movie making experience from the editting point of view, shooting, casting, writing and rewriting. I don't think the prose skill of Mr Lax is especially high but the book's subject matter is interesting enough, and Woody Allen's writing amusing enough, to carry it along.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamela on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Seldom, have I read a biography that I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this one. I think Eric Lax's prose skillfully captures the essence of a complicated man. I was grateful for the absence of any reference to Allen's romantic life because it is the artist Allen that continually takes my breath away with his films, even those he later comes to dislike.

I loved the description of Allen's writing process, the self-taught editing process, and I had a different appreciation of the cinematographer's responsibility after I finished this book. The mechanics of Mr. Allen's film making were just as fascinating to me as the character Woody Allen.

Thank God that there is still one American filmmaker who is neither concerned with ratings or box office gross. If his movies run over budget, he makes up the difference!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
When I first picked up this book, I knew very little. When I put it down, I had become a lifelong "Woodyphile". It is a great introduction to Allen's life and work. By having exclusive access to Allen, Eric Lax presents a side of Allen that the average person could never know. A must read for anyone, whether they be a friend or foe of Woody Allen
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