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Woody Allen on Woody Allen Paperback – July 10, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans of Woody Allen have long waited to hear him tell us in his own words about his life, his tastes, and his films, but until recently he has been reluctant to give lengthy interviews. This book is the conversation we've been waiting for, a dialogue with Stig Bjorkman in which Allen speaks openly about himself and his art. Bjorkman invites the writer/director to talk at length about his lesser-known movies as well as his famous ones. We also learn about Allen's filmmaking technique, his feelings about his stock company of actors, his influences, and why Stardust Memories and The Purple Rose of Cairo are his two personal favorites. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this collection of interviews with Bjorkman, a Swedish filmmaker, Allen emerges as a disciplined worker, far different from his famed persona as self-pitying and neurotic. The book will delight-and relieve-his fans. Allen discusses his craft and ouevre, with a chapter devoted to each film in chronological order from Take the Money and Run to Manhattan Murder Mystery. He recommends "Socratic" learning rather than film school and reveals that he once did many takes but now, with increased confidence, infrequently reshoots scenes. He defends his portrayals of blacks against criticism from African American groups that he casts them only as menial characters, explains that his temperament determines the length of his films ("Scorsese's body rhythm is longer") and knocks American movie reviewers who "gush tremendously over populist junk films." There's virtually nothing here about his recently turbulent personal life, though Allen comments that, "one must be very lucky" to achieve a deep, lasting relationship. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Revised edition (July 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802142036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802142030
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. J. Marsella on November 9, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very relaxed and interesting discussion regarding the development of Allen's style and indivisual films that is very entertaining. This is an excellent companion to his earlier films. Bjorkman asks excellent questions that keep the discussion flowing in a chronological sense yet allow for Woody Allen to address many interssting topics related to his work.
The focus here is really the body of work and not Allen's personal life. Like sitting with a bottle of wine and talking to two intelligent filmmakers about their craft.
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Format: Paperback
This book simply is a must for people who are interested in film!
Whether you love or hate Woody Allen's work, there is a great deal to learn on film history from this book.
Stig Björkman knows so much about all aspects of film and therefore delivers an outrageously professional interview. But still, the interviewer stays humble, asking questions showing a profound knowledge of the subject. Since Woody Allen is very good at answering in a direct but well thought about way, it never gets boring and never seems primitive that the book is written simply in direct dialogue.
What I personally appreciate as well is that the talk is purely about film and about Woody Allen as an artist - his private life does not enter unless it is closely related to the discussed subjects. So you get a very relevant view to Woody Allen's career. Because of Stig Björkman's high professionalism, and because of Woody Allen's conversation talent and open mind.
It never gets too intellectual either. In fact, it makes you want to watch the Woody Allen movies you haven't had the opportunity to watch yet.
The only minus is that the book is some years old so that it does not contain discussions on his recent very interesting films.
But as it is an unrejectable document on film history, "Woody Allen On Woody Allen" does belong on any film friends' bookshelf!
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Format: Paperback
The only reason that I didn't give this book 5 stars in because it only goes up to Husbands & Wives. For anyone who loves Woody and wants to hear him speak in detail about his films, other films and his ideas, this book does not disapoint. I have many other books by or about filmmakers and this is certainly up there with the best. Woody talks about Bergman, Godard, Fellini, Truffaut, Hitchcock and many other filmmakers and films he likes. He discussed in depth each of his films from What's New Pussycat? to Husbands and Wives. This book is a must for fans of Woody Allen and for fans of film.
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I am a long-time admirer of Woody Allen's films (at least most of them) and have read several books that evaluate his films, his film messages, and his filmmaking craft and have found them to be intellectually pretentious, so much so that their authors reminded me of the pretentious characters he so humorously satirizes in his films. While this book shows Allen to be a very intelligent and knowledgeable filmmaker (no surprise), it also reveals him to be a dedicated filmmaker who can be refreshingly modest and wise and shrewd in his judgment of people and social mores. He admits that in his very early films he just pointed the camera at where the action was, and that he learned a great deal from the exceptional cinematographers that he subsequently employed, e.g., Gordon Willis. It's well known that Allen is not particularly communicative with his actors, both in the initial interview and while directing, so it's revealing to hear him say that "90% of my films" is in the casting; that is, he gets the most suitable actor for the part and then simply lets the actor employ his / her craft on the set. The interviews reveal that Allen is well-read in literature, and it's no surprise that writing the script is his favorite part of filmmaking, and also worth noting that he can sometimes complete an entire script in a day.

I liked the structure of the interviews in that they started with his first film and then discussed each subsequent film in chronological sequence. The interviewer, Stig Bjorkman, is a Swedish filmmaker and critic who is obviously well-versed in Allen's films since many of his questions and observations reflected a detailed knowledge of various scenes and characters in Allen's films.
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Format: Paperback
It is a relief to read a film book that refuses to degenerate in to the psycho-speculative ramblings of a [...] filmmaker. This book has the feel of a comfortable conversation with one of the most private 'celebrities' of this century. In an age where selling out is the great commodity, it is refreshing to hear from a man who has simply and steadily built an astonishing succession of low budget films. This book gives one intriguing glimpses into the 'Woody Allen' aesthetic, from his love of rain to his early days as a stand-up comic. If you're looking for dirt on his private life, don't bother, but if you're looking for an understanding of process and his distinctive viewpoint, then this is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
A thoroughly engrossing interview book which takes the reader film by film through Woody's career. If you're a fan of his work, it is essential reading. There are many fascinating responses and lots of interesting trivia which may surprise the most avid of fans. (For example, Woody's 1987 film "September" was originally shot in its entirely with a completely different cast. It was later recast, reshot and re-edited.)
If you really want to read an in depth and intelligent conservation about the entire process of filmmaking from inception to completion, check out this book. Woody is very frank, candid and let's you take a glance inside his restless and constantly creative mind.
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