Woody Allen

Woody Allen, 1935–, American actor, writer, and director, one of contemporary America's leading filmmakers, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., as Allen Stewart Konigsberg. Allen began his career writing for television comedians and performing in nightclubs. His early film comedies, which often depict neurotic urban characters preoccupied with sex, death, and psychiatry, include Sleeper (1973) and Annie Hall (1977; Academy Award, best picture). Much of Allen's later work in comedy and drama explores these themes as well as a sophisticated New Yorker's various other preoccupations.

Among his later films are the stylish Manhattan (1979); Broadway Danny Rose (1984), a New York comedy; the probing family drama Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Academy Award, best screenplay); the 1930s comedy Radio Days (1987); the searing Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989); Husbands and Wives (1992), a bittersweet domestic drama; the romantic and partly musical Everyone Says I Love You (1996); and the fictional jazz biography Sweet and Lowdown (1999). Several subsequent films failed to achieve the critical and popular plaudits earned by many of his earlier films, but Match Point (2005), a tale of wealth, lust, crime, and luck set in London, did much to revive his flagging reputation. Allen turned to Catalonia, Spain, for his sensual, melancholy-tinged comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and to Paris for his atmospheric Midnight in Paris (2011; Academy Award, best original screenplay). Blue Jasmine (2013), the story of a rich matron fallen on hard times, echoes Tennessee Williams's Streetcar Named Desire. Allen also has written humorous prose pieces, many published in the New Yorker, and plays. In 1992, in a bitter public dispute, Allen left Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter then sued the actress for custody of their children and lost (1993).

See his The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose (2007); biographies by E. Lax (1991), J. Baxter (1999), and M. Meade (2000); E. Lax, Conversations with Woody Allen (2007); studies by D. Jacobs (1982), F. Hirsch (rev. ed. 1990), S. B. Girgus (1993), and D. Brode (1997); Woody Allen on Woody Allen (1995); documentary film Wild Man Blues (1998), dir. by B. Kopple.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Films of Woody Allen
Sam B. Girgus.
Cambridge University Press, 2002 (2nd edition)
Class, Language, and American Film Comedy
Christopher Beach.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Is There a Class in This Text? Woody Allen and Postmodern Comedy"
Philosophy of the Film: Epistemology, Ontology, Aesthetics
Ian Jarvie.
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Woody Allen and the Search for Moral Integrity"
Parody as Film Genre: Never Give a Saga An Even Break
Wes D. Gehring.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Pre-Brooks King of Parody: Bob Hope...And Disciple Woody Allen"
Learning and Laughing about Gender and Sexuality through Humor: The Woody Allen Case
Philaretou, Andreas G.
The Journal of Men's Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, Spring 2006
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique
Marilyn Fabe.
University of California Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Film and Postmodernism: Woody Allen's Annie Hall"
Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures
Vincent Lobrutto.
Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Transformation of the American Comedy: Annie Hall"
Woody's Melindas and Todd's Stories: Complex Film Narratives in the Light of Literary Modernism
Metz, Walter.
Film Criticism, Vol. 31, No. 1-2, Fall-Winter 2006
The Schlemiel as Metaphor: Studies in Yiddish and American Jewish Fiction
Sanford Pinsker.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1991 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Woody Allen's Lovably Anxious Schlemiels"
The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America
Lawrence J. Epstein.
Public Affairs, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "'I Need the Eggs': Jewish Comic Filmmakers"
Semites and Stereotypes: Characteristics of Jewish Humor
Avner Ziv; Anat Zajdman.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Philip Roth and Woody Allen: Freud and the Humor of the Repressed"
Autumn Interiors, or the Ladies Eve: Woody Allen's Ingmar Bergman-Complex
Cardullo, Bert.
Journal of European Studies, Vol. 30, No. 4, December 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
City That Never Sleeps: New York and the Filmic Imagination
Murray Pomerance.
Rutgers University Press, 2007
Librarian’s tip: "Woody Allen's New York" begins on p. 65
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