Woody Allen goes for Drama with Interiors (1978)

March 17, 2017 | By

When you’ve made SERIOUS DRAMA, big actor heads are not necessary for primary poster art.

Part if this week’s catch-up includes another Woody Allen gem that not unlike Stardust Memories (1980), divided critics, and perhaps left a few loyal fans puzzled by his attempt to drift from his comfort zone – or rather their comfort zone.

Interiors (1978) feels like a filmed Bergman play as filtered and revised with Allen’s own sensibilities, and it’s maybe 50% successful in achieving a balance. When there’s a fumble, one’s likely to grumble along the lines of ‘Oh please,’ but even in those weaker moments the performances are strong. Most of the attention – awards, nominations, and praise – went to the film’s older actresses, Geraldine Page and Maureen Stapleton – but Diane Keaton was rightfully singled out by a few for a natural yet intense performance.

It’s also great to see versatile Mary Beth Hurt (Chilly Scenes of Winter) in her feature film debut playing the middle, plain, perpetually marginalized sister, which makes for a striking contrast to her later role as the cannibalistic mother in Bob Balaban’s dark nutbar comedy Parents (1989).

Diane Keaton and Richard Jordan being VERY SERIOUS.

It’s also a treat to see Richard Jordan (Kamouraska, Logan’s Run, Raise the Titanic, The Hunt for Red October) in a small supporting role, giving Allen’s clichéd angry, drunk writer palpable emotional depth by underplaying yet adding somber resonance when Allen’s words aren’t up to par.

Maybe Interiors deserves a few more viewings – it’s billing as Allen’s ‘first drama’ comes with a lot of expectations that can’t be met in one sophomore sitting – but Twilight Time’s Blu-ray brings out another of the auteur’s films which, for whatever bizarre reason, major studios have either allowed to tumble into out of print status, or not bothered to release on Blu. It’s a funny conundrum for the prolific Allen, because most of Alfred Hitchcock’s films return to DVD and Blu in some form, but Allen’s work, once treated to deluxe boxed sets by MGM/UA and Miramax, is available in a kind of scattering of titles from each decade of work, which bodes well for indie labels more than keen to give M.I.A. titles the kid glove treatment.

Coming next: utterly ridiculous smut.

 

 

Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com

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Category: EDITOR'S BLOG

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