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.
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