Manhattan Murder Mystery

One of Woody’s best from 1993–a very funny, entertaining crime story. Also one of his and Keaton’s best films–they are/were the funniest male-female comedy team of all time with Love and Death, Sleeper, Annie Hall, Play It Again Sam, and Manhattan and this one under their belts. Their scenes are truly memorable and wonderfully paced.
There is much to like about this film–the chemistry between the stars, the supporting cast of Alda, Anjelica Huston, the older couple down the hall (variations of the ‘nice’ old couple in Rosemary’s Baby), and the lame assistant theatre manager ( a ‘set-up’ character for the resolution and climax). Also the use of classic music from the ’40s and ’50s, Carlo di Palma’s (he worked with Antonioni too) use of colour and the fidgety cinematography in the suspenseful scenes, the funny improvised dialogue and jokes (Woody always leaves room for his actors to improvise whatever is in the script), and, of course, the hilarious bizarre climax which is a clever takeoff of Orson Welles’ similar weird mystery The Lady from Shanghai, yet another of Allen’s homages to the old, truly great movies. Significantly, like Annie Hall, this delightful critical hit was co-written with Allen’s friend Marshall Brickman. No wonder it worked so well. 4 out of 4 stars overall easily, as movie entertainment and comedy.

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