Play it Again, Sam
US. 1972. Herbert Ross
This is a very funny Woody Allen, I was laughing throughout at his endless Woodyisms and neurotic behaviours. In one scene, at his apartment covered in Humphrey Bogart movie posters, I laughed so loud and hard, I felt more awkward than Allen does himself in this film. And, there are some very awkward, almost squeamish, moments; most of which amount to Allen’s failing attempts at finding, or even approaching, a new girlfriend.
This may sound cliché and corny, but the script (based on Allen’s stage play) is tight, active and ends charmingly; Casablanca’s ending is recycled wonderfully; the film has a remarkably fresh pace.
The chemistry between Allen and Diane Keaton foreshadows their great relationship that would span the decade (working and personal). Allen’s acting, still with its goofy moments, does take a step back from his slapstick frenzy at the time (Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Sleeper) and adds some sentiment and melodramatic weight; it is really the first time that we see Allen play out his actual self. Keaton is a charmer who matches Allen’s offbeat approach; she is also a trendsetter with her fashion in this movie and those to come.
*All reflections are from my film journal.