Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Woody Allen
MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (1993). Director: Woody Allen. Screenplay by Allen and Marshall Brickman.

Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton) is convinced that an older neighbor, Paul House (Jerry Adler), murdered his wife, who supposedly died of a heart attack. Carol's husband, Larry (Woody Allen), thinks she's nuts, but their divorced friend, Ted (Alan Alda of Same Time, Next Year), thinks she may be on to something. When Carol and Ted team up to track down House's possible girlfriend, Larry is afraid something may be developing between the two. A book editor, Larry convinces one of his authors, Marcia Fox (Anjelica Huston), to go on a date with Ted, but then Carol gets jealous when Marcia gets involved in solving the mystery ... Manhattan Murder Mystery is obviously a homage to those comedy-mystery films of the forties with the plucky heroine determined to get to the bottom of a case, and it's an entertaining, well-acted picture, even if Allen and Keaton aren't exactly William Powell and Myrna Loy. Leisurely-paced, and longer than some of his dramas, the movie keeps introducing enough perplexing elements to keep the viewer in suspense. I do wish the picture didn't ape the final sequence of the far superior The Lady from Shanghai, which is playing in a theater where the climax takes place. Carol and Larry make a likable couple with a basically warm relationship. Melanie Norris, Lynn Cohen, Marge Redmond, Joy Behar, and Ron Rifkin have smaller roles and are fine. The credit music is Cole Porter's marvelous "I Happen to Like New York," sung by Bobby Short.

Verdict: I liked this a lot more than the more "serious" Manhattan. ***.


angelman66 said...

I enjoyed this film a lot too, Bill, in fact I always prefer Woody's lighter touch. Fun that he reteams with old love/muse Diane Keaton, who replaced Mia Farrow when she found out about his affair with Soon-Yi and dropped out of this fim and Allen's life.
Enjoyable and you've made me want to watch again--as reading your blog so often does.

William said...

Thank you! Yes, this pic is a charmer.

That whole Woody- Mia business was a real mess, wasn't it?