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Laramie Movie Scope:
Manhattan Murder Mystery

Woody Allen reverts to form

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 28, 1993 -- ``Manhattan Murder Mystery'' is a film that all Woody Allen fans have been waiting for for a long time. It is a throwback to the good old days when Woody made funny, not-so-serious films like ``Sleeper'' and ``Annie Hall.''

``Manhattan Murder Mystery'' also brings back Woody's co-star from ``Annie Hall,'' Diane Keaton. It has that light and bouncy feel of Woody's old films, the sharp wit and keen insight into the foibles of artistic types living in Manhattan.

Woody is his old neurotic, fidgety self. The film also stars Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston. Alda plays a writer who is a friend to the old married couple of Woody and Diane. He still carries a torch for Diane. When she becomes suspicious about the death of a neighbor lady Alda encourages her suspicions and helps her solve the mystery. There's a nice touch of poignancy to his performance.

Huston plays another writer who is attracted to Woody. Woody ``fixes her up'' with Alda and she proceeds to solve the mystery.

The surprising thing about the film is the amount of suspense in the film. I can't remember seeing another Woody Allen film with any real suspense in it. The mystery aspect of the film is also well handled. Woody keeps us guessing until the very end and then he throws in a nice parody of a classic Hollywood film ending to spice things up. Unlike Woody's last film, ``Husbands and Wives,'' which had all sorts of parallels to his private life, this film is not serious and there is no hint of all the troubles between Woody and Mia Farrow.

Aside from the hand-held ``shaky camera'' technique, the film is fairly well made with adequate production values. It is not one of Woody's best films, but it is certainly enjoyable and is better by far than most mainstream Hollywood productions.

This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)