In this retrospective, Tom Shone reviews Woody Allen’s entire career, providing incisive commentary on his films and shedding light on this uniquely self-deprecating filmmaker, with the help of comments contributed by Allen himself. Superbly illustrated with more than 250 key images, this is a fitting tribute to one of the masters of modern cinema, published to mark Woody Allen’s eightieth birthday.
Woody Allen is a uniquely innovative performer, writer and director with nearly fifty movies to his credit, from cult slapstick films and romantic comedies to introspective character studies and crime thrillers. Classics such as Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose and Hannah and Her Sisters still resonate, and more recently Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine have been notable successes.
Born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on 1 December 1935 and raised in New York City, he was destined for a show-business career when he began writing scripts for TV shows while still a teenager. He then achieved recognition as a stand-up comedian with the release of three albums of his nightclub performances. Allen first tried writing a screenplay in the mid-1960s for What’s New Pussycat?. Not satisfied with the final film, he decided that he would direct as well as write his next picture, What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, in 1966.
Woody Allen’s output has always been prodigious; he has made a film a year, more or less, since the early 1970s. Famously indifferent to award ceremonies, and having never accepted an Oscar in person, Allen has won numerous accolades for his directing and writing, including four Oscars, nine BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and, in 2014, the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award for his contribution to cinema.