Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Judah Rosenthal is an ophthalmologist and a pillar of the community who has a big problem: his mistress Dolores Paley has told him that he is to leave his wife and marry her - as he had promised to do - or she will tell everyone of their affair. When he intercepts a letter Dolores has written to his wife Miriam, he is frantic. He confesses all to his shady brother Jack who assures him that he has friends who can take care of her. Meanwhile, filmmaker Cliff Stern is having his own problems. He's been working on a documentary film for some time but has yet to complete it. He and his wife Wendy have long ago stopped loving one another and are clearly on their way to divorce. He falls in love with Halley Reed who works with a producer, Lester. Cliff soon finds himself making a documentary about Lester and hates every minute of it.Written by
(at 1:31:03) While they are celebrating at the wedding party the theme "Crazy Rhythm" is been played by the jazz orchestra, a muted trumpet can be heard but the trumpet player isn't using one. See more »
We're all very proud of Judah Rosenthal's philanthropic efforts. His endless hours of fund raising for the hospital, the new medical center, and now, the ophthalmology wing, which until this year had just been a dream. But it's due to Rosenthal our friend that we most appreciate. The husband, the father, the golf companion. Naturally if you have a medical problem you can call Judah...
You're blushing, darling.
...day or night, weekends or holidays. But you can also call Judah to ...
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Say what you will about the rapidly decreasing quality of Woody Allen's work of late, or about the writer/director/actor's character in the wake of the recent horrific allegations made against him, but look back at his filmography and there's a wealth of brilliance to be found. As he became a household name thanks to some of the most hilarious comedies of the 1970s, Allen moved away from playing the clown and into more serious territory. The comedy was still there, but as a fan of Ingmar Bergman and Marcel Ophuls, he was always eager to explore the darkness rooted in our souls. One of his most sobering works is also one of his best. Released in 1989, Crimes and Misdemeanors asked the question posed by many a philosopher: Can you live with yourself after committing a murder or will the shame gradually eat away your soul?
The man at the centre of the story, Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), seems to have it all. He's a respected doctor with a loving family and a group of adoring friends, and the film opens with a lavish dinner held in his honour. On the surface, Judah is a happily married man, but he holds a dark secret. Over the past few months, he has indulged in an affair with flight attendant Dolores Paley (Anjelica Huston), enjoying short breaks away and taking long walks on the beach. Only now Dolores is threatening to reveal his secret, sending a letter to Judah's wife which he manages to intercept at the last minute, and calling from the gas station down the road with ideas of turning up at the family's door. When she refuses to listen to Judah's pleas, the doctor turns to his brother Jack (Jerry Orbach), who has connections to the mob, for help. Jack has a simple answer: He will hire someone to murder Dolores and Judah won't have to lift a finger.
While all of this is going on, struggling documentary filmmaker Cliff Stern (Allen) is thrown a gig by his brother-in-law - the obnoxious, self-obsessed sitcom writer Lester (Alan Alda) - and meets cute associate producer Halley Reed (Mia Farrow) on the job. Unhappy in his own marriage, Cliff can't help but fall in love, but Lester has her in his sights also. It took me a while to figure out why these two seemingly unconnected stories were unravelling side-by-side, but it soon becomes clear that this is a film about the absurdity of guilt. Judah and Jack had it drilled into them from a young age by their rabbi father, but now they appear to be literally getting away with murder. Cliff may want to cheat on his berating wife, but he is ultimately a 'good' guy, yet life doesn't seem to want to throw him any luck. There's also a key character in Ben (Sam Waterston), a rabbi who still maintains a lust for life despite his deteriorating eyesight. It plays like a thriller, but it's also very funny. There's a depressing theme constantly at play, but Allen ensures that the story remains insightful, engrossing and occasionally heartbreaking. One of Allen's shrewdest and most humanistic pictures to date, assisted by a flawless ensemble.
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