Eighteen Woody Allen Films Analyzed

Anguish, God and Existentialism


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SKU: 9780786413195 Categories: ,

About the Book

This new textbook is an abridgment of the author’s earlier Woody Allen’s Angst: Philosophical Commentaries on His Serious Films (McFarland, 1997; “invaluable”—Choice.)
Five main topics are explored: the desire of many of his characters to ground their lives in traditional ethical values despite their realization that such values may no longer be certain; the opposition between pessimism and optimism throughout his films; gender issues relating to romantic love, sexual desire and the ongoing changes in our cultural expectations of both men and women; the idea that contemporary American society is rapidly descending into barbarism precisely because of societal failure to maintain a sense of individual moral responsibility; and a critique of psychoanalysis as a method for understanding human behavior.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Sander H. Lee is a professor of philosophy at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire.

Bibliographic Details

Sander H. Lee
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 245
Bibliographic Info: appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1319-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8110-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     1
Introduction     7

1. “A Thin Story to Hang the Comedy Sequences On”: The Early Comedies     17
2. A Therapeutic Autobiography: Annie Hall (1977)     35
3. Themes of Redemption: Manhattan (1979)     56
4. Betrayal and Despair: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)     79
5. “We All Had a Terrific Time”: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)     93
6. “Just Allow Yourself to Feel”: Another Woman (1988)     118
7. Tradition: New York Stories, “Oedipus Wrecks” (1989)     133
8. “If Necessary, I Will Always Choose God Over Truth!”: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)     139
9. Love’s Labor’s Lost: Husbands and Wives (1992)     164
10. “Don’t Speak!”: Bullets Over Broadway (1994)     188
11. “When You’re Smiling”: Mighty Aphrodite (1995)     198
12. Distorted Lives: Deconstructing Harry (1997)     204
13. Conclusion: The Dialectic of Hope and Despair     212

Appendix     221
Bibliography     225
Index     229

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is the most insightful, thorough and engaging analysis of Allen’s films that we have. It’s a model for thoughtful criticism.”—Maurice Yacowar, author of Loser Take All: The Comic Art of Woody Allen; “A profound and sensitive analysis of the existential themes in Allen’s films. Sander Lee’s work demonstrates how philosophic thought about human life can inform and elevate popular entertainment. Lee’s study delights Woody Allen fans at the same time that it serves a model of serious scholarly treatment of film.”—Mary P. Nichols, author of Reconstructing Woody: Art, Love, and Life in Woody Allen’s Films.