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Shadows and Fog
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In a murky, seriously deranged cityscape only a studio art department could create, a giant bald strangler (Michael Kirby) is going around killing people with piano wire. The authorities are powerless (though he stomps about freely, occasionally declaiming speeches), so vigilante posses start roving the streets. For some reason, they dragoon a noisy nebbish named Kleinman (Allen) to assist them. So Kleinman goes into the fog, kvetching, and meets Irmy (Mia Farrow), a circus sword swallower (no double-entendres, please) whose clown of a husband (John Malkovich) is two-timing her with the strongman's wife (Madonna). Add an "et cetera" here, because the big, mostly wasted cast also includes Kenneth Mars as the strongman, Donald Pleasence as a philosophical coroner, John Cusack as a student who mistakes Irmy for a prostitute, and Kathy Bates, Jodie Foster, and Lily Tomlin as the real prostitutes in whose company she happens to be at the time. None of this adds up, and the whole thing moves and feels less like a film than one of Allen's oddball New Yorker sketches. Still, as the fever dream of an art-house addict, it has its moments. --Richard T. Jameson
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Top Customer Reviews
If you really want to enjoy this movie, read the pulitzer prize- winning book, The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker (the same book Diane Keaton threw at Woody in Annie Hall!). If The Denial of Death is cake, Shadows and Fog is the frosting.
Aside from their both being genre parodies, both movies share several other aspects, not the least of which is Allen's usual well oiled crew plus great `visiting' Director of Photography. I am constantly amazed at the consistently high level of quality in the filming of Allen's movies, since he has a great reputation for bringing his works in within schedule and under budget. Part of his economy is probably due to the fact that while Allen as director is not in the same league as Martin Scorsese or even Clint Eastwood, lots of actors drop what they are doing to be able to appear in the next Woody Allen film. And, they probably appear for a lot less money than they would for Marty or Clint. I also sense in some scenes that Allen lets little flubs go to the final print which Scorsese, for example, would reshoot until it was perfect.Read more ›
Sure, Alice is a tad weaker, but we do have Zelig and of course his greatest and deepest film of all time, Broadway Danny Rose.
All that came before Mia is practice at refining his craft.
All that comes after Mia cries that he has lost his mind and his heart is not really in it.
But this forgotten gem is also of his apex.
Enter the mystery of this movie like a great novel and discover its hidden treasures throughout
some reviewers allege allusions to films which ring falsely to me; this product is so richly multi-faceted a gem that each will see what each will see, like the mirror illusion of the circus grand finale
here we may see allusions to everything from Seventh Seal in the central traveling circus couple, with its virgin birth
In fact the homicidal maniac may be seen as the Seventh Seal's randomized Death
to the EYE in Great Gatsby.
Much reflects Chaplin, in particular The Circus and Limelight, with its presentation of the horror of an audience not laughing, somewhat briskly brushed off by Malkovitch, but evocative nonetheless.
there is so much more to see; the presence of Donald Pleasance researching the anatomical source of this evil reminds the viewer sharply of that horror series in which he played a homicidal maniac youth's psychiatrist (Halloween or Jason, what was it again?)
And of course as always, the gestures, motion, expressions of Woody Allen himself bring to mind most of all his hero Bob Hope's Road movies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I find it hard to believe that this great classic doesn't merit a 5-star rating across the board from viewers and customers alike! This is Woody Allen at his classic best! Read morePublished 3 days ago by Armando A. Gomez
I first saw this movie on TV years ago and it intrigued me. It had a certain 'je ne sais quoi' and I never forgot it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alanus
Thank you Woody Allen for this film. Watching this while experiencing my own shadows and fog I laughed...at myself and the movie. Read morePublished 2 months ago by anacapa
Disappointing film. You must be a Woody Allen fanatic to enjoy this. I thought I would like it because of John Cusack, but I was uncomfortable with his character, the entire... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Katie H.
This movie is unbearably tedious. Every minute of the movie appears to be the result of a conscientious and belabored exertion from the actors. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tom Brody
Very good black-and-white Woody Allen film with a great cast of barely functioning, frustrating folks caught up in city experiencing serial killings.Published 7 months ago by VIKI
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