Love and Death
Directed by Woody Allen. US. 1975. PG. 1 hour 25 minutes. MGM. 35mm.
Sun., October 15, 2017
Considered by many to be one of the best film of Woody Allen’s early “purely funny” period, Love and Death is a delight. Besides being a hilarious spoof of classic, portentous Russian novels such as those by Dostoyevsky, it also includes references to famed directors Sergei Eisenstein and Ingmar Bergman, and even to the films of Bob Hope. One early critic referred to it as “Tolstoy meets the Marx Brothers.” The plot, such as it is, involves a nineteenth-century Woody (as Boris, a devout coward) and Diane Keaton (as his cousin, Sonya) scheming to assassinate Napoleon in 1812. In addition to his constant stream of visual and verbal gags, Allen also shows his increasing talent as a director, filming in and around Paris, and in such beautiful locations as the former castle of Emperor Franz Joseph in Hungary. In other words, Love and Death is a treat to the eye, the ear, and the funny-bone.