Now that I’ve had a DVR for a while, I can safely say I do use it. The ease, relative to a VCR, is certainly incentive to use it. There are some shows I tape every time they air – John Stewart, Boston Legal, Nova and 60 Minutes¹. Other times I’ll see something that catches my eye and quickly hit the button to schedule a recording.
That’s how I got the Woody Allen documentary “A Life in Film” on Turner Classic Movies that I recorded this weekend and watched last night. The interview was conducted by Richard Schickel, film critic and historian.
The documentary is very simple with Allen sitting throughout. No other voices, no off camera questions, are heard. Clips from his films were used throughout to illustrate Woody’s points.
I have been a big Allen fan for… can this possibly be… over thirty years. I knew his work, but he was under my radar in the sixties. The same goes for What’s Up Tiger Lily and Casino Royale. I knew they were there but didn’t see them until much later.
It was Bananas that first attracted me and Sleeper which cinched the deal. From then on, I couldn’t get enough.
I remember going to see Love and Death in 1975. I went on opening night in Center City Philadelphia with my friend Harvey Holiday. Neither of us liked the movie, but we went back the next night to make sure. It was better the second night. The problem wasn’t Allen as much as it was me!
In last night’s documentary, Allen gave credit to Bob Hope for much of his physical persona in the earlier movies. The clips bore that out. But, though Woody Allen said he paled in comparison to Bob Hope, I’m not so sure.
What most interested me was the ability to hear Allen talk about his work… his art… in terms of an occupation. It was fascinating, because I think he analyzes and tears about everything he does, before, during and after.
Obviously, there has been controversy in Allen’s recent adult life. He is married to the adopted daughter of his former wife (see note below). It’s tough not to see characters like Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan and wonder if life imitates art.
There is just not enough of this type of show on television. I was glad I taped it and didn’t have to stay up through the middle of the night to see it air ‘live.’
¹ – Recording 60 Minutes is a royal pain. Because the show follows football its start time is fluid, to say the least. I wish my DVR would be able to follow schedule changes and adjust accordingly. As long as they’re at it, I’d like to program it over the Internet as well.